Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Then, Then and Now – Singapore River

My friend Char Lee aka, Icemoon is well-known for his ‘second shots’. He takes an old photograph of certain place and then meticulously takes another present-day photo of the same place from exactly the same angle for comparison. In fact he was invited by the National Library Board to share his experience at the recent When Nations Remember conference.

Well actually I too have been doing this for some time. I usually title my posts, Then and Now. Here is an example which I did of the old Singapore Polytechnic building at Prince Edward Road.

But today, I am going to go one up and do a ‘Third Shot’ of the Singapore River.

· Photo no. 1 was taken around 1951 by Antione Lahitte.
· Photo no. 2 was taken around 1966 by Geoffrey Pain’s father.
· Photo no. 3 was taken by me yesterday.

I believe all three photos were taken from the same spot; namely the Elgin Bridge joining North and South Bridge roads.


1) Can you spot any note-worth similarities or differences? I for one thought it was quite interesting that the Bank of China has literally grown much taller. This is the tallest building in photo 2 and the white building (second from left) in photo 3.

2) And how about those 2 pointed buildings with flags in photo no. 2, which were already there in 1951? Anyone know what they were?

3) What is that structure/building behind the trees on the left side of Photo no. 3?


Thimbuktu said...

Thanks Chun See.

Getting the old photos of Singapore from UK friends you received and post them on GMY as "Spot the Difference" and other forms of "Memory Games" is a fun activity for everyone young and old.

The "Then and Now" concept with the help of Icemoon as the "Second Shot" to capture the exact same spot "then and now" adds on the second denomination of the memory game blogs. Its fun for history and heritage all of us to learn.

Like the popularity of 3D TV, movies and other media channels, the 3D is the Third Dimension to add as People, Places and Journey. Cheers!

yang^2 said...

3) That building is the Empress Place Building or the present Asian Civillisation Museum. Further behind is the skypark of Marina Bay Sands.

Icemoon said...

I think the left arrow pointing to the minaret is the HSBC building or the one beside it, forgot the name.

peter said...

Take your pick of buildings.....a) HK Bank Chambers, b) Maritime Bdlg (or earlier called Union Bdlg)and c) Finnalyson House.

All I know birds like to build their nests there because at around 6pm I see the birds all coming home.

Brian and Tess said...

a boring comment on why that white building appears to have grown - different focal length of the photos - the longer focal length (bit more telephoto) of the later photo makes the building appear taller. Honestly it hasn't really grown!

Lam Chun See said...

Brian is obviously not familiar with the way things are done in modern Spore. Here they use the slightest excuse to tear down old buildings.

In my photo, except for the Fullerton Building practically every building you see on the right side of the river has been torn down and rebuilt. The new Bank of China is at twice the height of the previous one.

Brian and Tess said...

ah you got me - I thought you were drawing attention to it because it really was the same building!

Lam Chun See said...

Comparing the old photos with the one I took, the difference is obvious as far as what is visible is concerned; i.e. the skyscrapers and the bumboats. But what is not obvious is 'what lies beneath'. Foreigners reading this blog may not know this. A Mass Rapid Transit (subway) tunnel runs below the river transporting thousands of commuters each day between the City Hall and the Raffles Place MRT stations.

Lam Chun See said...

Yang^2 is right. That structure behind the trees is the famous Marina Bay Sands integrated resort.

Tom said...

Looking at the second Photo, the arrow on the left pointing to the building with the tower,that tower looks similar to the one on the Victoria Memorial Hall.?

Lam Chun See said...

Tom. That cannot be Vitonria Memorial Hall becos VMH is on the left side of the river. From the photos it is not obvious that all these buildings are on the right side of the river becos it sort of bends to the left further downstream.

C. Y Oh said...

The old Bank of China building in picture 2 is still standing, hidden from this view by the new building.

2) My guess is left arrow points to Maritime Building, the right arrow to Ocean Building.

Anonymous said...


hope tis helps!

Lam Chun See said...

Thanks for the recommendation. There are many wonderful old photos there.