The place that I have been assigned to is Kallang. However if you are a true blue Singaporean, you would know that Kallang alone is a large scope to look at. The area with sports arenas at the Stadium near Kallang Indoor Stadium? Or the older aspect of Kallang near the Old Airport Road?
I decided to set my perimeters just in the area of Dakota Crescent in Kallang.
When I researched about Dakota Crescent, I felt pretty ignorant because never have I known that this place encompasses a rich history, even before Singapore’s independence and is now on the verge of disappearance due to Singapore’s future renewal plans for Mountbatten announced in 2014. Dakota Crescent is characterized by low rised buildings situated not far away from the city area. The estate, together with Tiong Bahru, was designed by Singapore Improvement Trust, before it was handed to HDB.
There are many interesting elements to the 17 blocks collectively. I saw for myself the “ancient” lift, not typical of Singapore’s flats to have which only travels to the first, third and sixth level. The lift is dimly-litted with its long fluorescent white light and a small screen with the numbers “1, 3, 6” on it which lights up whenever it reaches the levels respectively.
As you walk further in to Block 10, you would see the very iconic “Dove” playground which I would call it one of the “legedandary” playgrounds in Singapore aside from the “Dragon” and “Sampan” playgrounds. Very different from the typical playgrounds in Singapore, characterised with rubbery mats and plastic structures, the playground is made of stone, concrete and finished with tiles of maroon and gentle strobe of blue. The railings, I would say, is the mini accent to the playground with its vibrant colours of green, red and yellow. But of course, the highlight of the playground would be the figure of the dove which suggests the name of this playground as well.
When I was walking around this playground, to be honest, the only people who walked by me seemed to come from the Old Airport Road, probably from the food court opposite. Other than that, the only living beings were stray cats and there were many of them in this neighbourhood.
Other characteristics which I adore about this neighbourhood are the lamps and the window grills. The lamps stuck on the walls do not look like they’re from the concrete jungle but very vintage looking and I guess they seem to have some sort of British influence to it. As for the window grills, they have some sort of floral patterns to them and not typical black squares or lines of window grills which I find pretty dainty and interesting, especially because they are finished in pastel colours.
Admittedly, I found it creepy to venture around this estate which was near full abandonment. But it is saddening that this place is on the verge of disappearance with signs of flats and playground being abandoned since the government announced that the residents ought to leave the estate by the end of 2016. I feel that citizens ought to make a trip down to witness this estate before it is being wiped out since it is the last of the past to make it till this date. Conservation efforts have also been imposed. On Facebook, there is a group called “Save Dakota Crescent”, a group which focuses on ideas and thoughts about the renewal of this estate.
When researching, I came across news that involve the commotion of whether this estate, so rich in history, ought to be renewed.
This news is from the straits times. If you all want to read about it, the link is here: http://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/parliament-lim-biow-chuan-asks-govt-to-reconsider-plans-to-redevelop-dakota-crescent
And last but not least, the very reason why the renewal of this state is so heart-wrenching – the residents who had their hearts in this neighbourhood for the longest time.
Credits: The Straits Times (http://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/people-behind-the-old-charm-at-dakota-crescent)