SINGAPORE - Demolition at the iconic Rochor Centre public housing estate started on Tuesday morning (June 26). The estate is giving way to the upcoming North-South Corridor expressway, which will connect the island's north region to the city centre when completed in 2026.
There was a thunderous noise at the 13,749 sq m site as work began, although it was not from demolition works but a thunderstorm.
In a corner of the four-block site at Block 1, an excavator arm peeked out from behind the hoardings and tore at the green building relentlessly.
These rumblings are the start of a long process, with the demolition by contractor Aik Sun Demolition and Engineering expected to finish next April, said the Land Transport Authority last Thursday.
The blocks will be demolished floor by floor, with works starting at the top floors, said the authority.
Among the curious onlookers was an 85-year-old man seated at the steps of the Fu Lu Shou Complex entrance across the road from Rochor Centre.
Identifying himself only as Mr Tan, he said in Mandarin that he lived at Block 2 of the estate for decades with his elder brother, and they have since moved to Sengkang.
Most residents at Rochor Centre moved to Kallang Trivista, a Housing Board development in Upper Boon Keng Road.
"What's there to feel - I don't feel sad," Mr Tan said. "It just felt like we were chased away."
Braving the elements too was China-born Yuan Yi, 26, who has been in Singapore since secondary school and graduated with a global studies degree from the National University of Singapore.
Fiddling with a 360-degree camera with a slingbag and umbrella in tow, the heritage buff said she hopes to document the demolition process as part of her hobby.
She remembers a music shop there, Eason Music, which she visited while part of the Chinese orchestra in junior college.
The rain was not going to deter her from capturing memories.
"In fact, it adds to the atmosphere, doesn't it?" said Ms Yuan, who is a producer at media tech company Hiverlab. "This building will be gone forever."