Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Relentless March Of Progress

I took this picture while strolling down a promenade. This is Singapore's latest mega project, the Marina Bay Sands Integrated Resort. The design consists of three large shells containing conference halls, shopping areas, restaurants (including three celebrity chef eateries), and a casino. There will also be three large 55 storey hotel towers linked on their top floors by a sweeping sky garden, and a centerpiece museum which juts out onto the bay. It will also be one of the largest and most expensive casinos in the world. Current costs stands at US$5.5 billion. The project has already been hit by construction woes and spiraling costs. The deadline for completion has been pushed back to April next year and workers are now working round the clock. And guess what? There are two of these projects being constructed at the same time.

This wasn't built when I was here this time last year. Such is the pace of progress that in the space of 1 year, two huge mega contruction projects have sprung up from thin air. This place that I know is changing so fast that I sometimes feel like a stranger in my own home. Places that I used to hang out when I was a kid have now been demolished to make way for new train stations and shopping malls.

Another shopping mall. This wasn't here last year...

Perhaps I shouldn't keep harping back to the good ol' times. Isn't this how we should make progress? At the cost of losing our past. On a brighter note, I took the opportunity to walk along Orchard Road (Singapore's prime shopping belt) and was pleasantly surprised to see all the nice Christmas lights. It would have been better if it was snowing like in Europe, just to create the chrismasy atmosphere, but then we would have all froze to death.

Pretty lights

Even more pretty lights you know how much carbon we're producing?

Anyway, how do we make progress without loosing our past? Sustainable progress? Maybe we should just close our eyes and become another faceless shiny bright utopian city? I don't know. I think there is no easy answer. What I do know is that I'm going ignore everything else and concentrate on the simpler pleasures of life, as so aptly demonstrated by my fellow citizen.


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