I first visited Singapore in 1974 on a business trip. I took a little Olympus Pen half frame camera which was loaded with Kodachrome. I have had a search but cannot find the slides which is a pity. I know that they are somewhere. So many photos, so little system.They would show a very different city to the one I visited two weeks ago. I was a timid photographer back then so the slides don't show the cargo being unloaded from junks and lighters on a quay right in the heart of the city or the coolies pulling carts overloaded with goods and the shophouses-shop downstairs,house upstairs-the streets full of bicycles, British cars and the ancient Leyland buses putting out clouds of diesel fumes. Nor did I photograph the expats -predominantly British- who were still very visible running the trading houses, banks and other institutions back then. They all went back "home" long ago.
Today Singapore is a model, modern city/state - just don't mention democracy, free speech or the death penalty.
Some enclaves of old Singapore remain preserved -saved from the wrecking ball-often at the last minute. Land reclamation around the mouth of the river has changed the shape of the city. The Merlion statue, the national symbol, still stands on the quay but all around it has changed and whilst I was a solitary tourist photographing it on a Sunday morning in 1974 on my recent visit there were crowds of tourists from all around the world taking photographs.