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xv Foreword Landscapes can be deeply personal. They furnish the visually rich and ever changing milieu that accompany us as we journey through life. In trying to excavate these visual remembrances from the recesses of my mind, I realise that most of the landscapes which hold significance for me are comprehended through the idiom of loss: the Gurkha police settlement with its broad grassy spaces where I spent a greater part of childhood years catching grasshoppers is now an out-of-bounds gated community; the primary school where our favourite teacher rewarded us with rambutans from his own garden if we managed full marks for the weekly spelling test has disappeared from the face of the earth; the multilingual HDB environment in Queenstown— where I effortlessly expanded my language repertoire beyond my parents’ Penang Hokkien by listening to the next-door neighbour’s Rediffusion Cantonese offerings and buying ais batu from the Malay neighbour one floor below—has become linguistically much more sterile; and my beloved secondary school will soon move from its “prime location” to make way for swanky condominiums as it is priced out by the exorbitant land rent. But “loss” is not the only idiom through which to read Singapore’s landscapes—“change” is another. This book invites us to contemplate Singapore’s landscapes through the dynamics of change, and to grasp the meaning of landscape change by laying bare the complex scaffolding of social relations, among different groups of inhabitants of this island, between the people and the state, and in the construction of linkages between Singapore and the world. In this task, the book offers different angles to view and apprehend the landscape—going on to the next chapter is like turning the kaleidoscope to reveal a different landscape pattern focused on themes ranging from the making of landscapes of heritage, tourism and the arts to the emergence of marginalised landscapes populated by social groups as diverse as migrant workers and the elderly. 00 C-Landscapes Prelims.indd 15 7/31/13 11:32:15 AM Foreword xvi The responsibility of bringing this volume to fruition rests on three of my younger colleagues in the Department of Geography, National University of Singapore—Elaine Ho, Chih Yuan Woon and Kamalini Ramdas—who must be commended for rallying together so many members of the Department (most of whom had taught the module “Changing Landscapes of Singapore” over the years) to offer a contribution from the vantage point of their own field of expertise. Compared to an earlier version of the book [also entitled Changing Landscapes of Singapore (McGraw-Hill, 2003) authored by Peggy Teo, Brenda S.A Yeoh, Ooi Giok Ling and Karen Lai] specially put together as an undergraduate text for the module, this new volume continues many of the earlier themes but also widens the scope of the book to include new concerns such as diaspora landscapes and the geopolitical landscapes of “terror” and security. Of interest too are the photo essays composed by students who have read the module—these provide insight into the ways in which young people are encountering and remembering the landscapes that matter to the current generation. I am delighted that this collective work that showcases so well the geographer’s craft in reading landscapes has come to fruition. It signals the growing maturity of Singapore Studies at the National University of Singapore, and will serve to acquaint at least the next few generations of students with the richly textured, ever-changing landscapes of Singapore. Brenda S.A. Yeoh Professor, Department of Geography, and Dean, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences National University of Singapore May 2013 00 C-Landscapes Prelims.indd 16 7/31/13 11:32:16 AM ...


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