A dove that’s dying

13 08 2013

One of possibly two of a kind left in Singapore, the dove, is one in danger of extinction. Wearing the look of having been used, probably abused, and possibly neglected, it lies forgotten, unwanted by a Singapore obsessed with  the need to renew, even where renewal is not required or appreciated.  The dove I speak of, is a playground design – one of several with a distinctly Singapore flavour designed by the Housing and Development Board’s Mr Khor Ean Ghee in the late 1970s, put up in public housing estates from 1979. Probably not as well known as its iconic cousin, the orange Dragon of Lorong 6, the dove does have some of the very distinctive features of Mr Khor’s designs – the dominant terrazzo and mosaic structures that give the playgrounds a unique flavour.

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What’s missing in this particular dove, is the sand pit which was another feature of the play areas, play areas which did seem rather sedate compared to the ones I never could get enough of in my childhood.  Those to me were the real playgrounds, ones in which having the wonderful scent of rust, and a few splinters in my shorts, was all part of the fun.

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What I miss most of the playgrounds of my early years is probably the slide, with its slideway of steel, polished smooth by the numerous times the slides did get used – the polished steel surface making for a much smoother and quicker (and very often steeper) ride down the slide as compared with the  ones on slides of terrazzo.

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It is probably that those in their thirties who would have grown up with these playgrounds – which were found throughout the island, that there has been a that wave of remembering playgrounds such as these we most of Singapore wants to forget, now that only a few are left.

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It will probably be a matter of time before the dove and several other of such playgrounds which are left are replaced as they probably are terribly out of fashion in the brave new world we now embrace, There is hope that the dragon is saved, and hopefully with it a few more, if not for anything else, at least to remember an important era in our public housing story, having coincided with a time when the monster estates such Clementi, Bedok and Ang Mo Kio were at the peak of their development.

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5 responses

13 08 2013
jofurniss

Great pictures, as always. Where can I find this dove playground? I’d like to go visit with my children…

15 08 2013
Jerome Lim, The Wondering Wanderer

Thanks Jofurniss! 🙂

There are two of these around. The one in this post can be found at Bukit Batok East Avenue 3 (between Blocks 219 and 230). There is another one which is perhaps in better condition at Block 10 / Block 16 Dakota Crescent. The latter does have the original sand pit.

A map which should help you to locate them:

https://maps.google.com.sg/maps/ms?msid=209947359235975056413.0004e3cc28785bc62a511&msa=0&ll=1.344329,103.844147&spn=0.179852,0.338173

15 08 2013
jofurniss

Super, thanks! I’m planning to visit every stop on the MRT for my blog, so now I’ve a good reason to go to Bukit Batok 🙂

15 08 2013
Jerome Lim, The Wondering Wanderer

You’re welcome!

Do take note of a comment left on a parallel entry I made on the omy.sg site:

“I do recognize this playground. It is situated at Bt Batok St21, flanged by Blk 219, 220, and 230. It is now an old, run-down, and infested with mosquitoes playgound. I got bitten by quite a number of mozzies when i went down to take pictures of the playground. It is rather sad to see it in such neglected state. It does bring me wonderful memories of my childhood. Technology wasn’t advanced then, we do not have much handheld games nor could my parents can afford Western Bar, Monkey Kong etc. We can only spend our time either running along corridors or at playgrounds.”

16 08 2013
Jerome Lim, The Wondering Wanderer

Jofurniss, I just heard today that hoardings have come up around this playground. I am not sure why though.

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