Visit to a shrine kicks off 10-part Living City video series by The Straits Times

A small Hindu shrine used by workers of Keretapi Tanah Melayu (KTM) is still being used even though the KTM railway operation in Singapore ceased in 2011.
Mr Adaikalam Annadhurai (second from right) serving lunch to devotees after morning prayers on a Saturday at the Sri Thandavaalam Muneeswaran Alayam Shrine, a little-known Hindu shrine in Queensway.
Mr Adaikalam Annadhurai (second from right) serving lunch to devotees after morning prayers on a Saturday at the Sri Thandavaalam Muneeswaran Alayam Shrine, a little-known Hindu shrine in Queensway.PHOTO: BASIL EDWARD TEO

For more than 40 years, Mr Adaikalam Annadhurai has been praying at a small Hindu shrine in Queensway.

Other than about 100 devotees who pray there, not many people visit or even know about the place.

The story behind this little-known shrine is the subject of the first episode of a 10-part video series by The Straits Times.

Each episode of the Living City series will take viewers to places and spaces in Singapore that are often overlooked.

The documentary-style videos feature interviews with people, like Mr Adaikalam, who know the subjects well.

 

Through three meetings and interviews, Mr Adaikalam told the story of how he came to be the shrine's caretaker.

The Sri Thandavaalam Muneeswaran Alayam Shrine, he said, was built by workers of Malaysian train operator Keretapi Tanah Melayu (KTM).

The 64-year-old civil servant and his fellow devotees continued to pray there after KTM stopped train services in Singapore in 2011 and the land was returned to Singapore.

"After the workers left, electricity and water supply were cut off," said Mr Adaikalam.

"We bought a generator for power, and water is carried to the shrine by the devotees."

Producer Basil Edward Teo said he got the idea for the series after working on a video story on the now-defunct Rochor Centre.

"Singapore is a small country but there are many places that even Singaporeans do not know about," said the 27-year-old. "The best way to tell these stories is to talk to the people there to find out what these places mean to them."

Other episodes to look out for include a visit to an open field in Kallang which becomes a volleyball court on Sundays, and a walk among tombstones at a cemetery in Commonwealth Lane.

Living City is one of 10 programmes that Singapore Press Holdings is producing under a recently announced partnership with the Info-communications Media Development Authority.

The Straits Times is helming five of the programmes, covering themes such as current affairs, sports and entertainment.

The first of these was askST, launched on Monday, a current affairs show where ST reporters answer readers' question. A new episode of the 13-part series will run every Monday.

Sports-themed Bridget's Adventures, with a new episode every Thursday, sees ST journalist Bridget Tan taking on various challenges as she picks up new sports and activities, such as slacklining, unicycling and wake-surfing.

The episode debuting online today sees her conquering new-fangled rock climbing walls at HomeTeamNS Tampines.

The other two series are music show ST Sessions, which starts tomorrow, and Heroes Among Us, which features inspirational profiles and launches on Sunday.

These videos can be found on www.straitstimes.com/videos and other SPH sites and platforms, including AsiaOne and Stomp.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 08, 2016, with the headline 'Visit to a shrine kicks off 10-part Living City series'. Print Edition | Subscribe