Parting Glances: Singapore’s Evolving Spaces by Craig McTurk


Sunday is our family’s day of solitude. We tend to find ourselves a quiet corner of the country and while the afternoon away. Yesterday, we walked along the Kallang River, from Nicholl Highway MRT station to the Singapore Flyer. Despite our proximity to the city center, we saw very few people—a family of cycling enthusiasts and team of Dragon boaters. We took in the sounds of our stroll: the lap-lap of the Kallang River, the whiz-whiz of cars on the East Coast Parkway overhead, the clang-clang of tools of workers dismantling F1 infrastructure.

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Parting Glances: Singapore’s Evolving Spaces is an exquisite book by American filmmaker and educator, Craig McTurk. Parting Glances turns a camera lens on six communities in Singapore that are at the precipice of change: Kampong Lorong Buangkok, Seletar Camp, Pulau Ubin, People’s Park, MacPherson, and Queenstown.

These diverse neighborhoods are revealed through archival images, reflections of residents and merchants, and striking and eclectic contemporary photographs by McTurk.

Singapore has evolved so dramatically before my eyes. And, of course, much has been gained and lost in this push for development. Historians, politicians, environmentalists, urban planners—they all have their opinions.

The fascinating, and fast-disappering, neighborhoods so lovingly and painstakingly documented in Parting Glances may not be here if/when we return to the United States. Until then, they will be our settings for future “solitude Sundays.”

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BTW, McTurk is signing copies of Parting Glances at Select Books (51 Armenian Street) on Saturday, October 19 at 3PM, at Kinokuniya (391 Orchard Road) on Saturday, November 16 at 2PM and at BooksActually (9 Yong Siak Street) on Friday, November 22 at 7:30PM.

(Many thanks to Melanie Lee for sending this book my way.)