Farewell - and fare thee well

ST PHOTO: NEO XIAOBIN

What started out as a photojournalism class assignment became a farewell party for the residents of Rochor Centre's Blocks 1 to 4.

Twenty-seven students from Nanyang Technological University's Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information strung together photos of the residents, shopkeepers and visitors in an exhibition over the weekend to tell a poignant story of the eye-catching coloured blocks in the Bugis area that will soon be demolished.

Among them was chef Yong Soon Fatt, 52, whose son Yu Xin, 11, was caught on camera playing football with his neighbours.

"He saw the picture earlier and told me to come see it when I got off work," he said.

Speaking in Mandarin, he said that viewing the pictures and furniture the students had salvaged to create the exhibition made him realise how much time had passed and that "we would still have to part and move out".

Ms Esna Ong, 21, one of two students leading the project, said she did not expect strangers to let her into their homes to photograph them and tell their stories. "We hope other young people will also be inspired to capture and preserve their own neighbourhoods."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 31, 2016, with the headline 'Farewell - and fare thee well'. Print Edition | Subscribe