Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Seletar Base 1: Home away from home

Seletar camp is a former British army base, built when we were still a British colony. Part of it is still used by the (our) army, but a large part of it is civilian now.

Piccadilly

The streets on the base, however, still bear the names given them by the British. You'll find Piccadilly circus, an Oxford street, and a Baker street. There's a Brompton road, a Haymarket, an Edgeware, and a Regent. Venture further, and find a Hyde Park, a Lambeth Walk and St. Martin Lane.

All this to make an army base feel a little more like home, for soldiers far away from it. Although the Piccadilly here is 10,851km from the one in London, the familiar names must have offered comfort, however faint, to the homesick.

Seletar base feels like its stuck in a time warp from the 50s - the colonial street names, the buildings still betraying their barrack-like military function even after conversion into restaurants and clubhouses. Even the lay-out of the streets themselves are slightly alien - circuses instead of street junctions, how veryBritish.

Seletar base is popular with cyclists, with its sprawling roads and laid-back feel. The Youth Flying Club operates out of the airport here, and there's plane-spotting to be had for the aeronautically inclined (preferably while enjoying a meal at Sunset Grill, blogged about last year). There's a pretty decent golf course as well. On a good sunny day, it's the perfect place to go if the pace of life feels a little too rushed in Singapore.

Parts 2, 3 and 4
An ongoing photoset can be found here.

1 comment:

Tym said...

Ah, circuses. We used to have more of them on our roads, but they've been replaced by ruthlessly efficient traffic lights. And lo, a little more charm has been lost.

Errr ... why were you up at 5:18 am??