Then & Now: We've come a long way

TANJONG PAGAR While the historic Jinrikisha Station along Tanjong Pagar road remains where it is today, the vehicular traffic which passes the 112-year-old building has changed. In the early 1960s, it was a trolley bus (right) but today, it is an air
NATIONAL STADIUM: Few areas have seen a more dramatic evolution than the National Stadium. The new Singapore Sports Hub is now a state-of-the-art facility with a retractable roof and seating capability - making it the only one in the world able to host a multitude of events such as rugby, cricket, football, athletics, concerts, family entertainment shows, and national and community activities.ST FILE PHOTO
TANJONG PAGAR While the historic Jinrikisha Station along Tanjong Pagar road remains where it is today, the vehicular traffic which passes the 112-year-old building has changed. In the early 1960s, it was a trolley bus (right) but today, it is an air
NATIONAL STADIUM: Few areas have seen a more dramatic evolution than the National Stadium. The new Singapore Sports Hub (above) is now a state-of-the-art facility with a retractable roof and seating capability - making it the only one in the world able to host a multitude of events such as rugby, cricket, football, athletics, concerts, family entertainment shows, and national and community activities.ST FILE PHOTO
TANJONG PAGAR While the historic Jinrikisha Station along Tanjong Pagar road remains where it is today, the vehicular traffic which passes the 112-year-old building has changed. In the early 1960s, it was a trolley bus (right) but today, it is an air
BOAT QUAY Sampans and bumboats were the mainstays along the Boat Quay stretch of the Singapore River in the 1950s. It was a bustling economic hub, with warehouses and godowns serving merchants and traders. Today, the area is home to restaurants and watering holes that serve both tourists and Singaporeans alike in Singapore's financial district. ST FILE PHOTO
TANJONG PAGAR While the historic Jinrikisha Station along Tanjong Pagar road remains where it is today, the vehicular traffic which passes the 112-year-old building has changed. In the early 1960s, it was a trolley bus (right) but today, it is an air
BOAT QUAY Sampans and bumboats were the mainstays along the Boat Quay stretch of the Singapore River in the 1950s. It was a bustling economic hub, with warehouses and godowns serving merchants and traders. Today, the area is home to restaurants and watering holes that serve both tourists and Singaporeans alike in Singapore's financial district. ST FILE PHOTO
TANJONG PAGAR While the historic Jinrikisha Station along Tanjong Pagar road remains where it is today, the vehicular traffic which passes the 112-year-old building has changed. In the early 1960s, it was a trolley bus (right) but today, it is an air
ROCHOR CANAL The stretch of Rochor Canal - at the junction of Selegie, Bukit Timah, Rochor and Serangoon roads - was an open waterway in 1979 (above). But the area has now been covered and construction is ongoing for the Little India Interchange station on the Downtown and North-East MRT lines. ST FILE PHOTO
TANJONG PAGAR While the historic Jinrikisha Station along Tanjong Pagar road remains where it is today, the vehicular traffic which passes the 112-year-old building has changed. In the early 1960s, it was a trolley bus (right) but today, it is an air
ROCHOR CANAL The stretch of Rochor Canal - at the junction of Selegie, Bukit Timah, Rochor and Serangoon roads - was an open waterway in 1979. But the area has now been covered (above) and construction is ongoing for the Little India Interchange station on the Downtown and North-East MRT lines. ST FILE PHOTO
TANJONG PAGAR While the historic Jinrikisha Station along Tanjong Pagar road remains where it is today, the vehicular traffic which passes the 112-year-old building has changed. In the early 1960s, it was a trolley bus (right) but today, it is an air
TANJONG PAGAR While the historic Jinrikisha Station along Tanjong Pagar road remains where it is today, the vehicular traffic which passes the 112-year-old building has changed. In the early 1960s, it was a trolley bus (above) but today, it is an air-conditioned double decker. ST FILE PHOTO
TANJONG PAGAR While the historic Jinrikisha Station along Tanjong Pagar road remains where it is today, the vehicular traffic which passes the 112-year-old building has changed. In the early 1960s, it was a trolley bus (right) but today, it is an air
TANJONG PAGAR While the historic Jinrikisha Station along Tanjong Pagar road remains where it is today, the vehicular traffic which passes the 112-year-old building has changed. In the early 1960s, it was a trolley bus but today, it is an air-conditioned double decker (above). ST FILE PHOTO

Half a century of progress has seen Singapore undergo a dramatic, improbable transformation.

While it had already become the region's thriving entrepot in 1965, it was still a diamond in the rough.

Under the guided and calibrated approach of city planners, sprawling attap houses and slums made way for blocks of flats, to provide affordable and comfortable housing for the island's growing population.

Economic activity sprung forth, starting out with the Republic becoming a manufacturing hub and progressing to become the economic powerhouse it is today.

Shophouses have given way to gleaming malls, sampans and sailboats have been replaced by giant container ships, and instead of rickety buses, Singapore has a modern transportation system.

Even what was once open sea has become the Marina Bay skyline, a gleaming testament to Singapore's globalisation.

But even as Singapore developed, there was a concerted effort to ensure that it was not overwhelmed in concrete and asphalt. The vision, as expressed by founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew in 1967, was to build a garden city.

These pictures show just how far Singapore has come since independence.

For more pictures of Singapore then and now, check out the Singapore Slider series at  http://str.sg/fwh.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on August 09, 2015, with the headline 'then&now: WE'VE COME A LONG WAY'. Print Edition | Subscribe