Photo Walk: Tanjong Pagar Plaza

I was depressed two Saturdays ago about my DJ classes ending, so I distracted myself from that by revisiting an older hobby – photography. The DJ school is near Tanjong Pagar Plaza, an old public housing building with lots of activity in its communal spaces on a Saturday afternoon, so I went on a little photography expedition there. I generally prefer blog entries with a few well-chosen photos rather than a slagheap of mediocre ones, but at the moment part of trying to get myself back into the photography habit is to be a bit less of a damn perfectionist. (Essentially, I accumulate photos, but procrastinate on processing them or printing them because I make the excuse that they’re still not quite good enough.) So here goes, a bunch of passable but not outstanding photos, which are hopefully still better than posting nothing!

This was taken hurriedly on the way to class so it doesn’t have the best composition, but I still like its odd collection of elements – outer shell of the disused Yan Kit Road swimming complex in the foreground, beautiful old shophouse in the bottom right and the towering half-constructed Pinnacle@Duxton blocks in the background.


The first two floors of Tanjong Pagar Plaza are a mix of little shops, some self-consciously modern and others which look as if they haven’t changed in twenty years.


I just totally loved that illustration on the sign.


The shops enclose a tiled quadrangle full of benches and greenery. Everyone’s down here on a Saturday afternoon, anxious crowds spilling out of the Singapore Pools betting outlet, cooks washing vegetables in huge plastic tubs, middle-aged men shooting the breeze, and one sweaty photographer trying to be as unobtrusive as she can.


In another country I might refrain from this photograph for fear of exploiting the image of a homeless person. But in Singapore, I’m pretty sure he just decided the shaded bench was cooler for napping than the inside of his flat.


Time for a quick poll! Which of the following two photos of the old men playing chess do you prefer, and why? I couldn’t decide, so asked my colleagues and got different, thoughtful answers about each photo. I’d be interested in hearing your views too.

This was a quick snap in very dim lighting so it’s not very sharp and could be better composed, but I processed and posted it to remind myself of what is possible with the Fuji F31fd’s amazing low light capability. If I were using my other camera (the Canon A650IS, also beloved but for different reasons), I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t even be usable.


I had fun taking these photos! Gotta do it more often.