During the last ten years I have moved a lot. In 2001 I moved from Cologne/Germany to Singapore only to leave it for Shanghai less than two years later. In 2007 my family and I spent half a year in Germany and moved back to Singapore in March 2008. Now, three years later, we are packing again, preparing for a new life in Copenhagen/Denmark.
Before leaving, I wanted to do something about Singapore that would go beyond the usual snaps of well known places. My time in Shanghai from 2003 to 2007 had taught me already that it takes a while to get familiar enough with a place to be able to understand it and to be able to express the way I am relating to it. Back in 2007, it had taken three years for me to be able to define the way I saw the city and to be able to translate that into meaningful photography. In Singapore it has been more or less the same. Fr the first two years I was stuck in stereotypes, trying to find my own individual way of expressing my personal view on Singapore and what it meant to me. It is a bit sad that this only starts taking off just before leaving; however, since we are most likely coming back, I hope I will be able to elaborate on this first project.

When I first moved to Singapore in 2001, the city seemed to resemble a lot of what 21st century Asia is all about. Asia is a continent that looks to the future, the eyes fixed on everything new, pushing the wheels of development, growth, and modernity further and further.
Singapore is no exception. With its brand new skyscrapers build on claimed land and expanding the skyline into what once used to be the ocean, with its growing population and a constant influx of people, making it the second densely populated city in the world. There is little space for anything old. The remains of the past are either torn down to make space for something new, bigger, and more modern; or it is polished and becomes part of the nations heritage. Often these heritage places are so ‘over’ – renovated that they have lost most of its former charm. In modern Singapore there seems to be very little time and space for the past. Unless the past becomes part of the modern image of Singapore, or part of the cultural folklore, there is very little attention towards it. Therefore I started looking around for places and spaces that are not yet touched by modernity. Places that would show obvious signs of decay and desertedness, resembling times that are already gone but still visible in small corners of everyday life. In a city that tries to utilize every square inch of space for the demands of an ever-growing population and economy, this was not easy. However, during my years in Singapore I discovered more and more corners, buildings, places that not only showed the wear of time, but also gave me a feeling of history, of a past that is still connected to the present. These places might be hidden behind a fence, in the middle of a traffic island, inside a military zone, in a not-so-desirable neighbourhood, or in areas that are already part of the new city blue print. But they are still there waiting to be explored.

The historical “Capitol Theatre” inside Capitol Building along North Bridge Road has been closed for many years. Despite the government’s investments in arts and culture during recent years, the building is going to be transformed into another Hotel + Shopping Mall.

I always knew that along Lornie Road there were a few old Chinese grave sides. I used to see them sitting in the bus on the way to work. Nowadays everyone in Singapore gets cremated so I knew they were old. But when I came to the site and fought my way through the trees and bushes along the busy road, I discovered a full scale large Chinese cemetery with graves that were sometimes more than a hundred years old. Some were still being taken care of, some were completely overgrown by the jungle.

The Malaysian railway is one the last real remaining things from the time before Singaporean independence in 1965. The train station in Tanjong Pagar and the linking railtracks crossing to Malaysia are actually owned by the Malaysian government. Sadly, due to the ongoing rivalry between these two sister nations, not much has been done in order to improve the railway link between the two countries and all the great opportunities to build a more ecological and highly efficient high speed link beteween Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand have been wasted so far.
Along Bukit Timah Road there is a small path going up a slope, leading to the Bukit Timah railway station. I must have passed by a million times without knowing until the day I saw a small signboard leading up the trail. I do not think that any trains are still stopping here. However, the building is still manned with one or two people and there is a proper plattform, even though it looks a bit overgrown.

These are just a few examples of a growing collection. By the time this project will be finished, some will be gone, some places will be transformed into something new, and some will still be the same, withstanding the pressure of modernisation.