Seletar - A Changed Landscape

Seletar - Piccadilly Gatehouse

12th November 2011. Written by Xin Li.
My first visit to Seletar was during my NS days as a trainee in 2008. I remembering see a peaceful, quiet Seletar with colonial era buildings located along this long stretch of road as our bus made its way to the camp.

Seletar - Baker Street Bungalow

ASeletar is most well-known for its British air bases that were built around the late 1920s before the war and it has served as a civil airport for a brief period, seeing KLM, Qantas and British Imperial Airways planes landing on its runways for at least 7 years.

Seletar - Oxford Road Bungalow

Fast forward to year 2011, like how Singapore changed from a “sleeping fishing village” to a “cosmopolitan city”…Within 3 years, Seletar has become a changed landscape as plans were in full swing to turn this sleepy, quaint, beautiful part of Singapore to an Aerospace Park to complement the aerospace activities at Changi. Today the newly renovated airport only operates chartered flights to places like Batam in Indonesia.

Seletar - Piccadilly

There are lots of traffic (human and vehicle) in this rather ulu part of Singapore now due to the massive construction works going on, spoiling the tranquility that once filled this landscape.

Seletar - Piccadilly Circus

The black and white colonial bungalows along the roads branching outwards from Piccadilly Circus are private residences with a mishmash of colonial and resort style architecture with plenty of greenery and some odd looking Buddha head as a garden décor.

Seletar - Sussex Garden

This is the area around Sussex Garden, Edgware Road, Maida Vale and Lambeth Walk area occupied by colonial style private residences. It is quite a peaceful place to have a leisurely stroll in the neighborhood.

While it is debatable whether the facelift given to these houses are “authentic”, these houses are a good example of Singapore’s transformed past like what we see in Kampong Glam and Chinatown.

Seletar Aeropark Drive

As we walked towards the west of Seletar, we will come to the end of Lambeth Walk only to find the road leading to Baker Street being severed by the newly built Seletar Aerospace Drive.

Seletar - Baker Street Severed

Here you could see the newly renovated Seletar Airport in the background framed by the remnants of Seletar’s past – the Oval Estate and the abandoned houses of Old Birdcage Walk and Baker Street.

Seletar - Seletar Airport

This seemed to be Singapore’s future, just think about the KTM station, the Ayer Rajah Camp, Changi Village and more recently, the Bukit Brown Cemetery. In our land scarce Singapore, it is natural to see such landscapes gone within a flash in the name of urban development.

Seletar - Baker Street

The fate of Seletar now echoed the fates of Kampong Glam in the past, Kampong Bugis or Kampong Geylang…just to name a few. It might also be the fate of Bukit Brown in the future.

Seletar - Baker Street Bungalow

Back to Old Birdcage Walk, behind the two abandoned houses (all of which are nailed shut like a coffin and locked like a bank vault), you see their possible future: newly painted houses slated for commercial or residential uses. One of the newly renovated two-story structures is now an office for Executive Jets Asia.

Seletar - Baker Street

Located opposite the greenbelt to the west of Baker Street is probably the most intact, recent remnants of Seletar, a cluster of houses forming the Oval Estate.

Seletar - Baker Street

In here, it seemed like another world within Seletar, the intact gardens and houses and most importantly the serenity of this place only turns out to be a deception approached the houses on the western periphery of estate.

Seletar - the Oval

This rather large compound seemed like a club or some sort before it was being cleared out. The structure upstairs seemed to utilize alot of wood, the columns for example are purely wood even though they looked like thick concrete columns.

Seletar - the Oval

It even has a Gymasium.

Seletar - the Oval
Seletar - the Oval

Top: 2 Storey house with black framed sunshades and white wished walls trying to be a Black and White.

Seletar - the Oval
Seletar - the Oval
Seletar - the Oval
Seletar - the Oval
Seletar - the Oval
Seletar - the Oval
Seletar - The Oval
Seletar - The Oval
Seletar - The Oval
Seletar - The Oval
Seletar - The Oval
Seletar - The Oval
Seletar - The Oval
Seletar - The Oval

Corridors with beautiful lighting.

Seletar - The Oval
Seletar - The Oval

Wei Xiang at the Oval.

Seletar - The Oval
Seletar - Opposite Roll Royce Aero Engine Facility

The construction site next door.
Seletar - the Oval

The construction next door comes into full view providing us a dramatic setting. You could see the Roll Royce areo engine facility and construction sites through the windows of a house probably dating back to the 1950s or 1920s earliest still surrounded by lush vegetation.

Seletar - Outside Camp

Around Seletar Camp and Piccadilly Circus, it seemed like business as usual. Military personnel, some with their iconic section commander bags and dressed in No.4 continue their daily routine of booking in and booking out amidst this changing landscape.

Seletar - Road to Camp

4 comments:

  1. Didn't go for some killer wings at Sunset Grill while you were there? =D

    Too bad you couldn't enter Seletar East camp. There's a plot of land truly free from urbanization with scattered structures abandoned from the colonial era.

    Used to love the LIVE running routes in there, until my friend got bitten by strays and another chased by boars hahaha.

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  2. hmmm maybe thats a good thing for now, if its outside the camp, it would probably be torn down by now.

    woah O.o strays and boars also know how to lay ambush.

    My friend who accompanied me told me the Sunset Grill was overrated as he had them before, so we had prata at Jalan Kayu instead haha!

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  3. Why are those beautiful bungalows abandoned??????

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hi Xinli - I used to live in 10 The Oval as a child - do you have any photos? The inside of some featured above rang many bells, but it would be great to have some photos before the demise. Many happy memories of Seletar, and the night time snake hunts my dad had to go on! Such a shame it hasn't been retained - it was such a lovely peaceful tranquil area. Jalan kayu is beyond recognition from the old dirt roads covered in cows! Any info gratefully received - thanks kate

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