Monday, November 12, 2007

Craning up

craning up, originally uploaded by Wahj.

It seems we're always building. Progess is construction, progress is under construction, progress is never getting there but always trying. We're a nation that wants to arrive but doesn't feel it has yet, and in some ways is deeply insecure. We see that tension in the way we have begun to worry about the tearing down of old historic buildings - even when they aren't that old or historic. I loved the old National Library as much as any other person who spent his youth buried in the Reference section, but I'll be the first to admit that it was never a particularly imposing building. In many ways its successor is a much better edifice - but that's not the point, as we're beginning to discover. It's not the bricks and mortar, the loss of mere concrete or stone that we're bemoaning, but the fear that we're moving too fast and leaving nothing permanent to remember the past by. Where are our monuments to our own past? Books and narratives aside, history needs sites, monuments, buildings. How are we to build a history when we keep building over things?

In this case, "all" we're losing an empty field at the Orchard/Scotts intersection - but then again I've always been a big fan of empty fields. We don't quite have enough of them.

On the photograph: I was particularly taken by the upward reach of the cranes in the centre. By the way, this is one of the few photographs I've digitally altered: I normally restrict myself to adjusting exposure and sharpness, but in this case there were some branches that got into the way of a clean image, so I cloned them out.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Gandhi memorial

gandhi memorial, originally uploaded by Wahj.

Spotted in a recent jaunt through Little India: a memorial to Mahatma Gandhi. As far as I know, this memorial isn't mentioned in any history, tourist brochure, or any text about our City.

As many things aren't. There are unknown nooks and crannies where all sorts of things lie waiting with their histories and mysteries and stories. It's not often that I find something like this, but it's a joy when it happens - a little thrill of the unfamiliar that makes you feel like an explorer in your own hometown, and let's you see it with fresh eyes for a little while,