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A "recycled teenager" learning to blog.

Sep 6, 2012

Dot the Future from the Past

What matters to Steve Jobs in 1993?
Everyday when I watch people in the streets, in the MRT , buses, everywhere in public in Singapore, the young and not so young nowadays are travelling with iPhone, iPad and other brands of smartphones, I wonder how many people know these devices grew from the dreams of one person, Steve Jobs and his team of handy online devices from Apple started this latest trend in the world.

What matters to Steve Jobs in 1993?

This quotation from Steve, "Again, you can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something - your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life" inspires me to post this personal blog to express "Dot the Future from the Past".

Since the National Day Rally 2012 by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, the buzzword in most Singaporeans about the future of Singapore.

What then are my personal thoughts which I spoke my own mind only for myself on "Thimbuktu on Facebook"?

On the same occasion at the NDR last year at the same venue at the University Cultural Centre, I was an invited guest to watch PM Lee Hsien Loong in his NDR 2011 speech on the stage about my memories of the Bukit Ho Swee fire fifty years ago. Quoting from my blog made me emotional, rewinding my mental video to the thoughts of the fateful day when I became a homeless fire victim as a young boy.

Tonight (26 August, 2012), I watched the NDR 2012 attentively in front of the TV and made myself at home in comfort.

The new format for the NDR topics is very well scripted and presented by the PM and the Ministers, focused and the messages very clearly, to speak to the people with their hearts.

I am inspired by the real life stories of young and old quoted by PM. It was a heart-to-heart rally speech with sincerity, insight and naturally.

He also juxtaposed the "then and now" photos from his personal collection to share his memories to wrap up the NDR, thanks for mentioning the Singapore Memory Project.

Whilst only a few heartfelt and inspirational stories of Singaporeans were quoted by PM at the NDR, we would like to invite everyone to share these collective memories and contribute to Singapore Memory Portal for "HOPE, HEART and HOME".

A quotation on the Internet to share here:

"When we raise our children, we relive our childhood. Forgotten memories, painful and pleasurable, rise to the surface.... So each of us thinks, almost daily, of how our own childhood compares with our children's, and of what our children's future will hold.
- Richard Louv

The definition on "Future" from the online dictionary:

That is to be or come hereafter; that will exist at any time after the present; as, the next moment is future, to the present.

Time to come; time subsequent to the present (as, the future shall be as the present); collectively, events that are to happen in time to come.

The possibilities of the future; -- used especially of prospective success or advancement; as, he had great future before him.

Albert Einstein said: "I never think of the future - it comes soon enough".

Selected collection of quotations, words of wisdom from people speak from experience on the topic:

"My future just passed".
~  George Marion, Jr.

The future which we hold in trust for our own children will be shaped by our fairness to other people's children.
~ Marian Wright Edelman

But time growing old teaches all things.
~ Aeschylus

For disappearing acts, it's hard to beat what happens to the eight hours supposedly left after eight of sleep and eight of work.
~ Doug Larson

Time changes everything except something within us which is always surprised by change.
~ Thomas Hardy

Time moves in one direction, memory in another.
~ William Gibson

Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew was at the annual Kent Ridge Ministerial Forum at the National University of Singapore on 19 Oct 2009 :

Lee Kuan Yew - Do or die! 

In 2009, Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew spoke about the public housing conditions in Chinatown in Singapore in the 1950s.

Lets connect in a self-explanatory photojournal,  over a period of five decades of Singapore, so called "the little red dot on the world map" from the past, to the present and what to be expected of Singapore in the future.  Are we crystal-ball gazing attempting to predict the future of how Singapore would look like in 2112?

We will need the connection of one generation to another generation, from great grand parents to grandparents, from grandparents to their parents and then their parents to the children at present.  It is like the "connect the dots from point to pont by numbers in the correct order on a drawing game" to see the complete picture of the result. 

I am pleased to blog on this topic with the "memory aids" of relevant archived photos from the National Archives of Singapore (NAS) with thanks and acknowledgement to share our collective memories of
the transformation of housing in Singapore over 50 years.

Posted here are "SINGAPORE 10: The housing problem in Singapore photographs commissioned by the Singapore Improvement Trust.  The picture below shows front cover of complimentary copy of book presented to the Right Honorable The Earl Of Listowel P C.(Source: The National Archives, United Kingdom).

Map of Singapore showing densely populated areas in 1949

Housing in Chinatown in early Singapore 

Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew on a home visit to the residents at Tanjong Pagar in 1950
Mahjong time for the family for recreation in the 1950s

Grandma brings her grandson on her back strung with sarong to market in 1950

The clogged open drain in Chinatown near People's Park in 1950s before the drainage projects in town.

Communal kitchens in Chinatown in 1950s 

Communal bedroom in Chinatown in 1950s

Please find out more the street scenes and five-foot ways in Chinatown to see how different then and now
from the blogs.



Blogger Unk Dicko said...

Great post James! I like the old pics of Chinatown in B & W. In one of the photos, there's a man with glasses reading the Chinese paper. Well..for all I know, he could well be my late father Mr Yip Kok How. He looked just like that at one time and Chinatown was his favourite haunt. My aunties and uncles lived there with their families. I've been inside their very cramped's so unimaginable today, all dark, musty and filled with soot. To get to their upper floors you need to walk gingerly on the cracky wooden steps that lead up. And the communal toilet...whaaadh! Yet,our Chinatown residents were quietly contented with their lot all struggling to make a life and living in the years of hardtimes 1950's- 1970's.

September 8, 2012 at 12:48 PM  

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