Toa Payoh Dragon Playground, Singapore.
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This is a typical playground that was present in Singapore in the 80's and 90's, which is the period of my childhood. When we are children, a playground is just a place. Interestingly, almost 20 - 30 years later, these playgrounds with their distinctive mosaic designs became a focal point for memories and nostalgia. Somewhat like the toys of those times (Lego, M.A.S.K., etc.), these playgrounds enjoyed a revival of sorts since 5 years ago as their previous end-users (kids who lived in public housing estates like myself) started having children of our own.

Old Singapore Playgrounds was my first proper themed photographic series which started getting feedback from the general public. The idea for the series was to show playgrounds in a new way (at night), which reflected their purpose of playfulness - hence the usage of light painting. This series was made way before all the kickstarter projects like PixelStick were born.

In my series of light painted playgrounds, I did not ever go to the Dragon Playground in Toa Payoh- an unfortunate omission on my part. And so in this series of collage experiments, I've decided to revisit this playground which I've never managed to feature till now. Many of the mosaic designed playgrounds have been demolished over the years (like the Pelican Playground in my light painting series), and the Toa Payoh playground was one of the few saved from demolition, possibly from the ground up efforts to chronicle these uniquely Singaporean spaces which may not have been given a second thought by policy makers.

The usual suspects for historical preservation are mainly places with singular historical events - like places where a battle occurred, important agreements were made and so on. But the lesson of the Old Singapore Playgrounds, for me, is that well designed community spaces that serve a day-to-day purpose can also leave vivid memories for a population as well. Never underestimate the little places, where little people gather. Because these are the places that influence the future and that the future will remember.






Old Singapore Playgrounds