Exploring Jalan Kukoh!

Hey everyone!

Earlier in May 2019, an interesting online article appeared on the Internet, wherein the author recounted her life, living in a little-known public housing estate called Jalan Kukoh, in the center of Singapore. The article attracted quite a bit of online attention for its stark critique of poverty in plain sight, and naturally we were curious to find out more about this lesser known housing estate.

We were interested to see for ourselves how Jalan Kukoh was like, giving what was reported in that online article. We brought our trusty Polaroid SLR 680 SE and our Mamiya RB67 with a modified instax mini back to capture our experience.

Jalan Kukoh is located centrally, just a stone’s throw from the CBD. It does appear that it is one of the few public housing estates that near the CBD, including Pinnacle @ Duxton. However, when we arrived, it did appear that the flats did appear somewhat aged (a weblink states the estate at easily 50+ years).

The structure, architecture and design of the flats at Jalan Kukoh were also quite unlike the modern public housing flats we see today. For one, there were large common areas without much shade; in modern flats, smaller common areas and greenery would be evident. It was also common in the 1960s for many public housing flats to be built as long, stretching apartments. Modern public housing flats tend to be shaped according to the increasingly restricted land size in Singapore.

Nevertheless, we went there with one aim: to take photographs with our camera gear, and to see if there were any interesting perspectives to take! First, the SLR 680 SE, using the Polaroid Original 600 Film:

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Damian going for a shot… but we wouldn’t really do that to the camera…!
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A public car park situated at the bottom of the estate.
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On the facade of the housing flat, the windows reflected the bright sunny sky which caused us to seek shelter!
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The common playing area is on the higher floors, where the flats surround it and the residents can watch the daily events unfolding.
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We were particularly intrigued by these symmetrical frames, running along the pillars, creating a square photo frame!
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From atop the highest floor, we could easily see the CBD.

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Onto our RB67 with the modified instax mini back! We had some expired film and we wanted to test our this modified back, so don’t mind the colourful borders! You would also notice the tiny black border capture on the instax mini film, which is natural given that we are using a medium format camera/lens for a much smaller capture frame on the instax mini.

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Tent shaped roofs were spotted, which certainly brings some uniqueness to these flats.
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Composition for this square framed pillars is spot on!
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Abandoned courtside shoes on a street soccer pitch.
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Not sure what you’re trying to say…?
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We also saw many children playing around the common area, which was encouraging (they weren’t just playing on their phones outdoors)!

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All in all, we captured some interesting shots that we hope have captured how it was like when we were there in person, exploring Jalan Kukoh. While we make no observations on the actual state of the estate or residents, to us we were just glad to see people hanging out, doing their own things: no judgment and no fear.

Till next time,



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