For a long while, I have been meaning to take a photo of the one-storey house along Thomson Ridge where I grew up in. I had lived there with my maternal grandparents from the time I was brought home from the hospital till I started primary school at 7 years old which was when my mother became a SAHM and took me home with her.
I will never forget the house and the garden emcompassing it. I can still remember how it looked, the layout and the furniture as clearly as if I am still living in it. The garden was where my grandfather cultivated his plants – orchids, sunflowers, bougainvillea – and reared his goldfishes in huge fish-tanks. It was a place which witnessed the weddings of my aunt and uncle, the births of my cousins, my growing up years, birthday parties, BBQs, etc.
I went back some weeks ago with my Nikon, my mom and TBH. But I was too late. The owners had torn down the old house and is in the midst of constructing a 2-storey house, taking up most of the garden.
I felt sad at not being to preserve a memory of the old house on paper. I took a walk down Thomson Ridge, the road right in front of the old house. A road which I had walked on everyday for many years as a child. With my parents. With my grandparents. With my aunt and uncle. My mother wondered whether the old neighbours that she had known were still living along that road. Whether they were still alive. The immediate neighbour of our old house, a place where I used to hang out with their kids, is still living there. We chatted with them for a while before they had to go off for an appointment. My mother promised to keep in touch.
I saw the new MV of the song ‘Home’ playing in the cinema when I went to watch The King’s Speech. How is it possible to think of a place as home when the physical things that remind you of home are slowly being eradicated? I don’t know. With urban development, the old will make way for the new. Change is inevitable.
Maybe I should start a small collection of photos capturing places, landmarks, street scenes that have a place in my heart and my life before they all become nonentities.
At 35, I am sounding like an old fudge.