Following the destructive Bukit Ho Swee fire of 1961, the Housing Development Board worked to resettle victims into modern public housing blocks. This initiative has been branded in textbooks as a sterling example of effective policy making. However, sentiment and interpretations differ on the ground. For instance, residents reported feeling a distinct sense of loss and disorientation after moving into the new high-rises.
This is an example of a historical form of contestation within a local community.
Contestations continue to take place in everyday settings today. Take for instance a market or hawker centre in a mature estate. Some residents might view it as ordinary and uninspiring while other segments of the community might regard them as sacred communal spaces, having had invested time, meaning and memories in the place.
Deep dive into this topic with Dr Hamzah Muzaini who will delve into these examples and share more about the contested memoryscapes in Singapore’s HDB communities.
About the speaker
Dr Hamzah Muzaini is a cultural geographer at the Department of Southeast Asian Studies, NUS. His work explores the politics of remembering and forgetting particularly as this intersects with issues of heritage, landscape and postcoloniality. He is co-author of Contested Memoryscapes: the Politics of Second World War Commemoration in Singapore (2016, Routledge, with Brenda Yeoh) and co-editor of After Heritage: Critical Issues of Heritage from Below (2018, Edward Elgar, with Claudio Minca).
About Let’s Talk About Queenstown
“Let’s Talk About Queenstown” is a seminar series organised by My Community where residents and participants can get to know about the different aspects of Queenstown through professionals and experts. The series take place on every 3rd Sunday of the month.