The letter about her new house arrived early last week, we were informed about it through the family Whatsapp group chat which was created recently to keep everyone updated about grandma’s health status after she was diagnosed with pancreas cancer late last November.
I remember when I first stepped into the Dakota Crescent estate after my gramps was asked to move from her previous house also built by the SIT, behind Kong Hwa Primary. To me at that time and age, it seemed like she had been relocated to a much modern estate, with provision shop [天记] and a TCM clinic next to her block.
The estate was really peaceful and unlike modern HDB estates, instead of the morning crowd rushing to work, residents at the area move towards the direction of the hustling market. Instead of awkward lift encounters with neighbours, the pioneers would usually have the same polite conversation of “Buay si mi? [What did you buy]”, or the casual greeting of “Jiat ba buay? [Have you eaten]”.
dakota crescentTime is not fast at Dakota Crescent old estate. It’s a good thing. Like meditating, a stroll along the estate would always make me reflect- Why so gan chiong, why so competitive, why so serious and ultimately, what am I rushing for in life?
Throughout my primary and secondary education, I would be at my gramp’s place almost every day unless there’s CCA, which I’ll go home straight. Hence I was quite elated with her relocation as she stays at the first unit of Block 4, so access to the provision shop was just a stone throw away. This was a privilege that I did not get from my house back then.
From mingling, playing block games and soccer with cousins and neighbourhood kids, to eventually becoming the academic driven [no more games sadly] student, Dakota Crescent has witnessed so much change and held so many memories for me over the past decade, I can’t imagine the meaning it holds for residents who have been staying there their entire lives. Even if the look and feel of the estate could be replicated in the future [as what we like to do here to showcase the history of Singapore to the next generation in an air-conditioned environment], future generations will never truly be able to experience Dakota Crescent, one of the few remaining living histories in Singapore, and experience the little time travel back to where we were yet an independent nation, eager for growth.
It is sad to know that soon, there will be no more Dakota Crescent for me and my cousins to revisit our memories. I believe the conservation values has been expressed in many articles and I too agree with those who feel that this estate that sits on an expensive plot of land should be preserved.
Nonetheless, sure, I also understand that we have to consider about development and so many other things………………
How much we’ll remember of Dakota will depend on the strength of our memory. I am really glad that Dakota Crescent was part of my growing up days and I am fortunate enough to see and experience this unique side of our developed nation.
If you have yet to explore the estate and would like to do so, try the old school block lift, for it really feels like time travel.
[Update] Dearest Gramps has passed on in May. Senica Photos would like to dedicate this post to her. Thank you for teaching the family the meaning of perseverance. Dear Nai Nai, your big heart will always be missed, not just by the family but also those you showed your hospitality to. Thank you for the many life lessons you’ve shared. We will keep them close to our hearts.
On the last night of Gramp’s wake. The sky was so threatening, anchors meant to secure the canvas flew out. Families and friends said prayers to her as we proceeded with the burning . Miraculously, the impending storm became a passing drizzle. 🙂