SINGAPORE: An online user who has been sharing old photographs taken by a relative back in the day, has been winning the hearts of Singaporeans one nostalgic scene at a time. The netizen recently took to an online forum to share a photo of a slum area in Geylang back in 1975. Many online users took to the comments section to join the conversation.
A Reddit user who goes by the handle @Flikounet has been sharing nostalgic photos of Singapore on the online forum. Each of the photos, taken by the netizen’s grandfather, has captivated Singaporeans more times than once on Reddit. On Tuesday (July 18), the Reddit user shared yet another photo, this time one that captured a slum area in Geylang.
“Here’s a photograph taken by my grandfather Dr. Ivan Polunin in 1975,” the netizen shared in the comments section of the post. “This is a photo of a slum area of Geylang, I was quite shocked when I saw this image initially and never thought this could have been Singapore! Geylang used to be quite industrial and some areas that were less looked after, such as the one depicted here. I have other pictures of Geylang from that time that don’t look as extreme, this one just happens to be very striking.”
The netizen also invited online users to follow the Instagram page @ivanpoluninarchives, where netizens can see more photos Dr Polunin took. “We are publishing a book soon of Singapore through the 50s to 80s, with over 1,000 never before seen images, follow our socials to keep up to date!” the comment included.
The netizen was also kind enough to copy the photo’s caption to give Reddit users a bit more of a backstory to the shot.
“Geylang, an area located on the eastern side of Singapore, has a more controversial history compared to other neighbourhoods,” the caption read. “It was originally home to a rural community of rubber and coconut farmers in the 40s, after which urbanisation caused a shift in demographics, with Malays settling down their kampongs on the eastern side of what is now known as Geylang Serai, and Chinese on the western side towards the Kallang River. Certain parts remained underdeveloped while others were used as manufacturing plants for producing materials such as wood, iron, rubber, and later plastics.
Today, Geylang is a bustling neighbourhood of commercial and residential activity, and home to Singapore’s only red-light district. Although this photo shows a bleak side of Geylang, life in the neighbourhood was not always regarded as such. It is now widely regarded as a popular destination for food enthusiasts due to its ethnically diverse demographic. It also houses the popular Geylang Serai market, and overflows with life during the month of Ramadan for the Ramadan Bazaar.”
Netizens took to the post’s comments section to share the photo’s impression on them.
“Wow, this is crazy,” said one. “I grew up on the outskirts of Geylang in the 80s and I remember it to be vastly different.”
“Such an impactful photo,” said another. “Kudos to your grandfather.”