Photo essay images of the Singapore River during the early eighties featuring cityscapes, river-craft and the quays
In 1981, the Singapore River was alive with all sorts of craft ferrying cargo and people between the quays, piers and ships moored offshore.
North Boat Quay ran along the left bank of the Singapore River down as far as Empress Place and cargo was unloaded from Twakows/Barges to Lorries using mobile cranes. A footpath now replaces the road between the Elgin Bridge and Cavanaugh Bride, which runs alongside the new parliament house and the old parliament house, which is now, known as the Arts House to Empress Place. On the south side of the river, cargo was unloaded all the way along Boat Quay, just a stone's throw from the city and the banks. Boat Quay road is now a pedestrian walkway and the shop houses have been refurbished and converted to bars and restaurants.
It 1983, one of the many campaigns, was to clean up the Singapore River. My 1984 images show the change from an engaged river to sterile waterway. The image of the Coleman Bridge is the iron version demolished in 1985 and replaced with a concrete version. The Anderson Bridge image also shows the General Post Office building that was converted to the Fullerton Hotel between 1997 and 2000.
Singapore River Boats
Bumboats: Before container ships and the new port, bumboats transported goods between ships in the outer harbour and the quays along the shallow Singapore River. Twakows is the Chinese word for Bumboat, which are broad-beamed goods Lighters.
Twakows: The bow of a bumboat operated by Hokkien Chinese were painted bright red, green and white while the bow of a Teochew bumboat was just painted red in colour.
Sampan: (Chinese 'san-pan' means three-board) is small wooden boat either rowed using oars or fitted with a small engine. The small size sampans are about eight feet long with larger versions being up to thirty-foot long and used to ferry people and or goods.
Photo essay images of cityscapes and river culture, during the early eighties
Images are digitally scanned colour negatives, captured between 1981 and 1984 and processed using Adobe Camera Raw and Photoshop. Refer to Image Processing for a list of film stock used in this period.