Sights Around Singapore I : Emerald Hill

Little India

June to 28th November 2010. Written by Xin Li.
It its 11 pm and I am two days away from my last exam paper for this year. Two years away from mugging and examinations, I am really not used to it. In fact, I am quite sick of it, having to lie and put on a pretense on the paper by responding to a couple of monotonous questions that bore the hell out of me and does little justice to the depth of a module that covers from Paris to Kyoto.

Orchard Road

Nonetheless, reading the history of architecture and a few deviations into the explorations of Madrid by Loraine, Malaysian and China discoveries by Harris or the European adventures in Food Sirens make me feel envious but at the same time wonder if Singapore has anything nice to see.

Orchard Road

So I dig through some of my photos and decided to share a few sights that interest me, dating back to May this year. I felt that in the end it is not monuments or how great the place was (and promoted to me) that really interest me the most but rather memories and sentimental value the place holds.

Pulau Tekong - Permatang

So the first place was predictably, this Ferry Terminal where I passed for more than 12 months in my life. Even till today, the smell of the exhaust fumes and rattling noise of the boat engines just reminds me of the island: Pulau Tekong.

Ferry Terminal

I just love greens, it makes me feel comfortable. I dread an environment where there are no trees or flowers. Luckily, despite its crazy urbanization, Singapore has enough greenery.

The Gateway

I thought the Gateway, designed by I.M Pei may look simple without any ornamental features but I find it aesthetically pleasing with its clean symmetrical forms and shapes.


While I am not a fan of the Fusionopolis, the gardens are pleasant but rather slip shot. I wonder is this what green architecture is all about in Singapore? Placing and dumping a “rooftop” garden and getting “green awards”. We could advance from the Stone Age by picking up a thing or two from Shigeru Ban.

Woodlands - Near Checkpoint

Some places are familiar to others, some or unfamiliar to me. I haven’t crossed this border for more than six to eight years. The closest I got to Johor Bahru on the road is probably this sign that I encountered.

Bukit Batok West Mall

Shopping Malls aren’t my cup of tea. Crowded, boisterous, noisy, angry, bustling is my impression of shopping malls. From Far East Plaza to Orchard ION, it seems contemporary architecture is just a facelift of these structures. Little has changed except for the fact that the shapes and forms changed, some rather interesting.

Orchard ION - Atrium

A few weeks ago I was at Orchard. I ended up there with a studio mate as we drifted from Mount Sophia to Dhoby Ghaut, then to Orchard Road. It was expectedly packed and I always think that it is not a place meant for people like me who loves something quieter, which is why I thought TAB is surprisingly quiet despite its location (not a promo). The whole place was geared up Christmas by November. The commercial calendar always starts earlier by at least a month.

Orchard Central

Orchard Central - Storefronts

There is Orchard Central. A relatively new addition to the place together with 313 and ION, I have only been there twice. My impression then was “nice lifts but what a waste of space!” and that silly advertisement of two Caucasians chasing each other in a mall.

Emerald Hill

Then as we walked, we thought lets try out this new route and we ended up at Emerald Hill. It was a totally different world from the bustling, cosmopolitan Orchard just few metres away. Emerald Hill seemed to be from a different era with shop houses and a laidback atmosphere. It is also pleasantly serene compared to Orchard Road.

Emerald Hill - One Price Store

Emerald Hill used to be the home for the wealthy Peranakans in the past. People who follow Singaporean literature should know that this used to be the home of the late local author, Mr Goh Sin Tub. I remember reading his stories when I was in secondary school.

Emerald Hill

Emerald Hill

Against the backdrop of the shopping frenzy in contemporary Orchard, you will find colonial architecture and some earlier 20th century styles in Emerald Hill, some intermingled with contemporary styles. There is Chinese Baroque and Art Deco architecture to be found there along. Most of them belong to the late period of shop house architecture.

Emerald Hill

Ornamental facades, five-foot ways are just part of the sights you can find there. A condominium is slated to be completed just next to Somerset Cairnhill. Then I found this sight, what a contrast!

Hullet Rise

Cairnhill Road

From Hullet Rise, we walked down to the Heeren and found T.G.I.F before reaching the busy junction connecting Orchard Road to Grange Road and Cairnhill Road.

The Heeren - T.G.I.F

Orchard Road

The Mandarin Gallery façade reminds me of a forest with lantern lights.

Madarin Gallery

The Heeren façade complements it like some cliff with overflowing greens at night. In short, it is an urban jungle at night (a very noisy one though).

The Heeren

After which, we headed to Somerset 313 for dinner at the food court before taking the MRT home.

Somerset 313

Somerset 313

Before I end this post, I would like to share this video I found on youtube. It is a timelapse video by Yeo Wee Hao and the music is by Chris Harvey. Beautiful piece.



the moose & snowman

the soft toy. the soft toy.

makan corner

Follow Us on Facebook

Google+ Followers

Total Pageviews

Follow by Email