Rekindling the kampung spirit at Dakota Crescent.
If only for one afternoon.
Last Sunday afternoon, the residents of Dakota — then and now — reunited at the estate for a celebration of the good ol’ times in an event aptly named Remember Dakota Crescent.
The estate at Dakota Crescent was once the crown jewel of the Singapore Improvement Trust (SIT). Now, perhaps only half of the units are occupied as most of the original residents have relocated.
News of the impending demolishment had ignited fresh calls to conserve these 1950s era buildings. Unsuccessful, the folks of Tian Kee & Co. and Tung Ling Community Services decided to organise one last hoorah.
How does one remember the past?
A place is given meaning not just through the infrastructure but more so through its people and their memories — and that was what the event truly was about.
The sense of community was tangible: neighbours greeted each other with enthusiasm; old friends long lost were catching up by the blue dove playground; strangers smiled at one another without hesitation.
Somehow everyone present was a little friendlier, a little more helpful, and maybe even a little happier.
But the smiles on everyone’s faces shielded the bitter truth that this place will soon be no more.
Indeed, we don’t know what we have until it’s gone. Perhaps we shouldn’t wait until it’s too late before we scramble to collect what little memories we have left. But we never truly learn, do we?
As night fell, the back-alley barbers had to close shop too. By then, their fingers were sore and their arms weak.
We boarded the old school elevator at a neighbouring block, which stopped at the sixth floor with a strong jerk. We got off and peered at the performance below.
In our minds, we had the same thought — it was a good evening.