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Tuesday, January 10, 2006 

Life's A Beach

Singapore, Sep 2005
Fuji TX-2 + Hasselblad 90mm f/4 XPAN on Kodak 100TMX

My first encounter with Cik Nik and Jemilah was when they were camped out semi-permanently on Changi Beach. They had lost their HDB home about 2 years before and were forced to pitch their small tent on the beach where they led simple lives with forty other squatters who called the beach their home.

Singapore, Sep 2005

They didn't have much but were willing to share a lot. Putting the kettle on the boil to brew cups of sweet tea as they play gracious hosts to me.

Singapore, Sep 2005

I was invited to share in their evening meal even though they did not have much to offer. I know of folks more well off who wouldn't even give a fraction of what these two kind souls have shared with me. (Glad my reflection showed in the ladle, I'll remember my time there)

Their story and that of the others came to public light after a series of articles in the newspapers and that prompted the powers that be to do something about them. The beach dwellers were constantly harassed by the park rangers, their belongings confiscated and some were forced to sleep out in the open. It didn't help that the owner of Browntown belittled their plight with a jibe at their situation.

The continued pressure eventually forced the Ministry of Community Development to extend a helping hand in terms of finding alternative accomodation in the form of a low income rental flat. I would've thought the entire process could have been expedited but it took more than a month from the time their tent was confiscated before all the paperwork was put through. The couple finally moved into their single room flat in Kallang Bahru mid Dec '05 and have since found menial employment to tide them through the initial stages of setting up home.

Continued here

You think they should have been allowed to continue living there?

Post not finished yet lah, conclusion to the story and my thoughts to come.

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  • From Singapore, Singapore
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