Singapore has been evolving at a blistering pace. Old Singapore is in danger of being left behind. As a result, active citizenry is taking off like never before with Singaporeans campaigning to save heritage sites such as Bukit Brown, Joo Chiat’s HDB flats and Toa Payoh’s Dragon Playground, with areas like Jalan Besar, Balestier and Tiong Bahru championed for their history. Nostalgia is spreading through the country. Old Singapore has never been more hip as Singaporeans cling to the last vestiges of what actually makes them Singaporean. The race is on to save an even sexier island. So as the nation celebrates its 50th anniversary, Neil Humphreys heads off on a tour of Old Singapore to find the sights and sounds that are at risk of being overlooked, forgotten or bulldozed. He walks, rides, swims and snorkels across land and sea, taking in distant islands and bluish lagoons. He paddles with otters, ventures into haunted hospitals and suffers an unfortunate slip with a tanned teenager in a sarong.
Written with Humphreys’ usual acerbic wit and quirky humour, Saving a Sexier Island is one man’s journey to find 50 significant places worthy of preservation. It’s a funny, insightful and unashamedly sentimental search for what’s left of Singapore’s soul.
© 2015 by Neil Humphreys. Published in paper format in Singapore by Marshall Cavendish International Asia, recorded by Storyside 2019.