A couple of years back I did a film swap project with my girlfriend to see how we could merge and document what we felt were two very different neighbourhoods of our very own Hougang and Jurong West. I first shot my Hougang neighbourhood before winding the film up and passing it on to her, and what we ended up with were well, mainly overexposed results or pictures that had one portrait and one landscape shot.
Yet we did manage to take a few photos that captured interesting aspects of daily life between both neighbourhoods in an almost seamless transition, so much so that you couldn’t really tell one from another.
Maybe it is because our estates are not as distinctive as say the SIT flats of Tiong Bahru, or the culturally rich area of Queenstown. Yet I would also like to think that in many ways, most of us (particularly HDB flat dwellers) are able to adapt and identify with the many common makeups of a neighbourhood, be it the void decks, basketball courts, pathways and of course the rich mix of people that make up a neighbourhood. I wouldn’t count it as a longshot, and it is not like it has never been mentioned before, but perhaps the small but significant similarities of our neighbourhoods do provide part of the answer to ‘ What does it mean to be Singaporean?’
Images done in partnership with Tay Shuyun