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Saturday, May 26, 2007

Moving Out

Moving Out

I took this photograph last year at Change Alley, obviously as the sign board stated, in the event Eye The City 2006. This is the picture that got selected for the upcoming publication and photography exhbition to be held at The National Library, some time in early August. Date to be confirmed.

In case any of you do not know about Eye The City, it's a project event that encourages the documentation of social changes, recorded through photographs on the last day of the year to form the collective memories of Singapore from the eye of ordinary individuals. It was my second year participation.

Let me tell you a little about Change Alley.

Change Alley is located in the downtown core of Singapore's Central Business District. The original narrow spot stretched from Raffles Place to Collyer Quay. Unlike its namesake in London where stockbrokers congregated, Change Alley was world famous for its money-changers and inexpensive shopping.

For its history, you can log on here.

Change Alley was officially closed down on 31st December 2006, Sunday. I was fortunate enough to take many photographs on that day and I chose this shot for submission. Preivously I was strolling along the corridor of the shops area and I saw a few shops were still packing up. I talked to one of the shop owners, who has had operated business there for more than three decades. It was really hard on them to depart the place they loved so much. Most of the shops were shifted to nearby shopping arcades to resume their businesses, while others were closed for good. The owner kept pestering me to buy his last stocks at super-low cheap prices. Well I ought to as I mentioned to him about Eye The City and he was kinda freaked out, at the thoughts of documenting the last 24 hours of 2006.

So eventually he refused to be photographed. We shook hands and I went off. As I came down to the end of the overhead bridge, to the ground level, I bummed into an Indian businessman who, like the others, came back to retrieve his own stuff. He smiled and approached to me. "Are you taking photos of this place?" he asked. "Yes I am." I replied. "Take as many photos as you can. This place is closed for good. Today is the last day." he said. Before I could ask for his permission to take a few photographs of him, he turned and walked off. To each his own.

Shortly after, a man with a trolley full of stuff, appeared at the entrance/exit of the bridge. Upon seeing this photographic opportunity, I raised my camera and took the shot. Of cuz, the first was never a good one. Fortunately the man made a couple of trips and finally I got what I wanted.