25 Aug 2014

Dakota Crescent Pilgrimage

With Singapore stepping up its pace in rapid urbanisation, as the years go by, many of the old HDB estates and even old condominiums and housing estates have to be demolished. Though urbanisation is a necessary evil, its still saddening to see all these places slowly disappear with the younger generation not knowing about all these hidden gems and the history behind the city planning back in those days.

The estate was built in the late 1950s with the signature architectural styles of olden HDB designs with terrazzo flooring and mosaic ventilations situated at random corners of the corridors. My favourite bit of this housing estate is all the colourful balcony doors that look really old school like as if I've been whizzed into a 70's movie.

Okay I'm sparing you guys from any more awkward introductions to the place as I'm really bad at advertising.... Hehehehehehe. I find that places like Dakota Crescent is extremely precious to us young Singaporeans, with our primary/secondary school hideouts/hangout spots/haunts all slowly disappearing, there seems to be nothing left for our future generation (like our kids) to look back at. I mean like seriously, King Albert Park was a hugeass part of my secondary school life, with my friends and I going there to eat macs and grow fat/study while eating macs and growing fat/doing stuff that involves growing fat on macs/smelling like macs after leaving the place/trying to be badass and buy alcohol from Cold Storage in our uniform (okay we didnt do that)...... All in all that place was there to watch us grow up from loserish sec 1 kids who knew nothing about life to sec 4 teenagers who thought we knew everything about life. 

I want to live in a Singapore where my old haunts, not all, at least some would still remain, for me to tell my kids in the future "This is where your mum hung out during her secondary school days", or "This is where mum met dad". Imagine if you met your future husband at King Albert Park, how sad would that be.... because that place doesn't exist anymore. It is like as if, urbanisation is depriving all of us of our memories, and it's close to asking us to let go of the past as though it was something not of much significance to us and give it all in for new and swanky, futuristic looking buildings.... Well maybe they would be icons for the future generation to find their future spouses but..... what about us?

We actually visited Dakota Crescent as part of our OG's hipster outing organized by yours truly for the sole purposes of fun and laughter. But I realised it was not all fun and laughter over there as the residents there were truly sad that they will have to soon leave their lives at Dakota Crescent behind and move on to something new. We met this Malay uncle who saw us taking photos of his interesting bedsheets hung over the railings of a two storey shophouse. For a moment I thought he was annoyed at us intruding on his personal life, but he actually urged us to take more photos to prevent his home from being recalled by the government....... This made me think, progression is good but.... have we left many others behind on the way?

Tian Kee & Co used to be an old provision shop owned by an elderly couple which was pretty famed in the Dakota Crescent estate. It has since been recently converted into a cafe which still adopted the name of the former provision shop. The cafe is pretty old-school and sells beverages and snacks that are inspired from our local tastes. Do try the Pink Lady (rose syrup and steamed milk) and Ice Snag (an interesting fuse with espresso, steamed milk and rose syrup), they are really jugs of surprises. Their lychee cheesecake was average, the yuan yang cake was sold out when we went there.... so I guess this calls for trip number 2!

To be very honest, I do not want to tell you that Dakota Crescent is THE place to be seen, as it is still.... a residential estate, not some nightclub, and it is one of Singapore's most best-kept secret edens around the island, especially so if you have a knack for time travelling back to the 60s/70s, do check out this place, and take as many photos as you can to spread the word before its gone for good! :/

Stay hipsterrrific,
Ming Rui.

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