Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Last Sunset of Rocher Centre

As I was organizing the photos taken in a 2 hours walk around Rocher Centre, I can't help stop feeling a sense of sadness even thought I don't reside around the area. The landmark "Rocher Centre" will be gone by the end of 2016 and along with it the iconic quad-color public housing flats which can be seen even from a distance away. In short, she was in the way of an upcoming North-South Expressway which was supposed to ease traffic and help reduce travelling time during peak hour to about 5-10 minutes as quote in the Official Motoring Website if you are coming to the City from Yishun.

As I arrived at the one of a kind basement carpark, one question came to mind, "Is that really worth tearing down a historical structure for???". I will be first to admit that the car-park is simply too old and that the only reason I always parked at this area is the reasonable flat rates in a region of overpriced parking. Now that I stood at this old nostalgic car-park, it was a whole new kind of emotion altogether.
For people who drives, you cannot don't notice the old greasy pipes and the stained pillars or how about the walk up staircase 9? Too bad the residence cat wasn't there that day, maybe the residence cat was relocated like the residents of Rocher Centre. Who knows maybe the cat was taking a walk around the old neighborhood for one last time before searching for a new home, or maybe she left as she could not bear to watch it being tear down bits by bits the place she call home for so many years.
The walk up staircase 9 left me with more questions. We could all be next wherever we are because as the Country chases after number 1s, more and more people gets left behind just like the old folks who born and grew up in Rocher Centre. They have watched the transition of Rocher Centre from the old days from 1977 to now the final days of their home. Many came and many left but she was always there for them, to provide them with a shelter over their heads and an oasis of calm in the heart of a hectic city.
I stopped at the main entrance into Rocher Centre, watching people come and go. This dark and badly lit walkway is like a time machine bringing you back to the old days where it was still so easy to seek for happiness and warm hearts around you. You will still see many old folks strolling around the Centre and some sitting by the coffee shop chatting with their neighbors and friends. In the city that never sleeps, would we be able to actually find time like them to slow down our pace and really appreciate the things that are precious around us.
The bridge connecting Fu Lu Shou and Rocher Centre always provided the people with a shelter across the road during the rainy days but this too would be teared down. It makes me wonder what would happen to the buildings around Rocher Centre, would they end up like Rocher Centre too?
As I was waiting for the lift up to the connected links at the 4th floor, I was greeted with smiles from an elder resident who was showing some mixed emotion as we chatted a bit and she was not surprised nor offended about seeing strangers appearing up at their neighborhood with cameras and gears. At the connected links of the ground floor of the residential section of Rocher Centre, I still see lots of bamboo for clothes drying out the windows but the void-deck was already emptied least a flock of pigeons which was still roaming around.
Rocher Centre
The weather was very cooperative that day as it was sunny and at the same time somewhat gloomy which created the perfect atmosphere I wanted for the shot. Standing in the middle of 2 blocks, I just wondered what kind of events had happened in the past for the residents of Rocher Centre. Sweet memories I am sure.
I can still see residents bringing their dog for a walk and parents with their kids at the playground. It is pretty ironic because the playground was still quite new and the BBQ pits too. Bad town planning or simply a result of bad working relationship between related authorities?

At the start of the walk-about, I had one idea in mind for the end of the shoot which was to capture the Sun as it set to symbolize the end of the iconic landmark. I think I have achieved that. Thank you for the sweet memories. Rocher Centre.

RIP Rocher Centre
1977 to 2016.

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