I’m of an age where I actually remember certain changes that have happened to Singapore that have really made a difference in our way of life.
One such change that has particularly affected my daily life (and it’s not that long ago that it happened) is the installation of the barriers at the platforms of all elevated MRT stations.
The event that instigated this change was when a teenager fell onto the tracks, was run over by a train and lost both her legs. The ensuing media storm captured the attention of the public as the case was brought to court. Of course it was always going to be difficult to argue that the design of the platforms was to blame — over the entire lifetime of the MRT tracks there have been remarkably few accidents — but the threat of litigation was probably too much for SMRT that they made the decision to install 1.5m high barriers along all of the platforms at great cost.
I’m writing this now not to assign blame nor to make any more of an issue of this long forgotten matter but rather to reminisce about the old days when it was possible to stand on an MRT track and enjoy a completely unhindered view of the surrounds and the breeze that accompanied it.
The best view I remember was from Kranji Station where you would have a majestic view of the horse racing track.
Someone once told me that the only constant in life is change. How right he was!
The Singapore that I remember as a kid is no longer the same singapore that I live in today. Nor will it be the same when I’m an old man in 40 years time. No other country moves at such a relentless pace reinventing itself every 10-15 years or so. Because of Singapore’s unique situation I understand why this is so.
But reality is a funny thing. My kids will grow up never knowing what it was like to have an MRT platform without barriers and that’s ok. They can know about it but it doesn’t affect them in the slightest. Same with many other small changes that have come about for some reason or other. The only reason why there is opposition is because people don’t like change. Many have started to document their memories of the Singapore that they grew up in and I think that’s great. I wish I had made more of the places and things that I experienced as a kid as most of my experiences are relegated to memories only.
All I can do now is memorialize those old memories and keep them alive by talking about them and writing them down.