Urbanist Hanoi

Back Heritage » Asia » [Photos] Travel Through Time to Singapore in the 1960s

[Photos] Travel Through Time to Singapore in the 1960s

There used to be a time when the sights and people of Saigon and Singapore didn’t look too dissimilar.

This compilation of photos taken in Singapore in the 1960s was compiled by Redsvn, showing a national island that was as orderly and glamorous as it is today. Still, in the shots exist corners that are less polished and cluttered, but remain charming because of that urban chaos.

Of the images, the most famous are perhaps those by David Ayres, who did two rounds in the Royal Navy and was stationed in the UK's naval base in 1963–1964 and 1966–1967. The regal cleanliness of Raffles Place was perfectly preserved in the shot above. Just like in 1960s Saigon, rickshaws, vintage cars and casual cyclists filled local streets, while residents took strolls in crisp white shirts and pants. Rows of shophouses in Chinatown adorned with colorful block letters could pass for scenes in Saigon’s own Cho Lon neighborhoods.

Somewhere along the line, the two street cultures of the two cities diverged. Singapore continued growing vertically at a rapid rate, peppering main thoroughfares with international-style high-rises. Quaint streets and canals were replaced by wide expressways while sleek infrastructure significantly improved quality of life. Vestiges of these 60s scenes are now only found in a few streets in Chinatown, such as Joo Chiat or Emerald Hill.

Saigon is also being invaded by skyscrapers, especially in the last decade, but it’s also content with the messier, grittier side of street life. In between glass towers, clusters of vendors and hawkers provide a common ground for people from all walks of life to grab some grub.

Visit a retro side of Singapore through the photos below:

Photo by David Ayres.

Photo by David Ayres.

Photo by David Ayres.

Photo by David Ayres.

Photo by David Ayres.

Photo by David Ayres.

Photo by David Ayres.

Photo by David Ayres.

Photo by David Ayres.

Photo by David Ayres.

Photo by David Ayres.

Photo by PROFleecyman.

Photo by Larpoon.

Photo by Larpoon.

[Photos via Redsvn]


Related Articles:

[Photos] A Black-and-White Glimpse of 1977 Thailand

- [Photos] 1885 Hanoi Revealed Through Sepia Prints, Sketches, Postcards and Maps

- New Proposals Suggest Repairing or Replacing Nam Dinh Cathedral With Replica


Related Articles

in Asia

[Photos] 21 Rare Old Photos Showcase Kuala Lumpur's Unique Architecture

If you’ve enjoyed our collections of old Saigon photos so far, this set of rare images of Kuala Lumpur taken throughout the 20th century might pique your interest.

in Asia

[Photos] A Glimpse Into 1950s Cambodia and Laos

Over the past year, we’ve come to love the stunning 1950s photography of Frenchman Raymond Cauchetier.

in Asia

[Photos] A Guide to Traveling 1910 French Indochina

In the days before every backpacker wandered the streets of Saigon with a guidebook in hand, one turn-of-the-century French travel firm advertised Indochina as an adventure destination for European tr...

in Asia

[Photos] A Sepia-Toned Glimpse Into China's Last Dynasty

In this rare, 19th-century black-and-white photo collection, China appears surprisingly spartan and somber.

in Asia

[Photos] Check out Indochina's Colorful 19th-Century Bank Notes

If you ever get bored of looking at the same set of images on Vietnam’s current bank notes, this set of old Indochinese bills will provide a glimpse into what the region's denizens used to spend when ...

in Asia

[Photos] China's Massive Film Studios Are a Full-Fledged Alternate Universe

“Across the country, entire towns have been constructed around making movies. Moreover, movie sets in China are not mere plywood facades, but monumental fortresses, maze-like palaces, and complete urb...