Goodbye Blocks 74 to 80 Commonwealth Drive (2015)

Saying Goodbye

Bidding adieu to beloved landmarks and icons has become part and parcel of life in land-scarce Singapore. As a last hurrah, My Community organises events for Singaporeans to say goodbye to places they hold dear to their hearts before they are permanently erased from the landscape.

Time had been kind to the quaint, self-contained Commonwealth Drive estate. In fact, blocks 74 to 80 – with roots dating back to 1964 – wore their age with an understated grace. However, like many old structures in Singapore, the row of residential blocks, a symbol of independent Singapore’s modernisation, was not spared from the wrecking ball.

Before they came tumbling down in 2016, My Community, cognizant of what it meant to former residents, organised a fitting final hurrah for it.

The community group threw a block party for the neighbourhood and its residents. It celebrated the site’s glory days in the form of a photography exhibition by photographers Nicky Loh and Erwin Tan. The exhibition also showcased popular heartland businesses Chin Hin Eating House kopitiam and Sin Palace Hairdressing Saloon. It also highlighted its unique surroundings such as the remnant tracks of the former KTM railway line.

In addition, free ice-cream was distributed to residents at the reunion event. Attendees were also treated to a public screening of the film 7 Letters. Three of the seven films in the moving local anthology had been shot in the neighbourhood. Musicians such as The Sam Willows, ShiGGA Shay and Tay Kexin entertained residents and visitors from far and wide with renditions of old-time classics as well as their latest hits.