Sporting Life

Farrer Park redevelopment: The death of a field of dreams dims a city's sporting spirit

Farrer Park fields - a hallowed ground for sports from the 1930s through to the 1980s - will be transformed into a residential area.ST PHOTO: JONATHAN CHOO

On Ang Peng Siong's 55-year-old usually impassive face you can now see the soft creases of distress. The pool he stands next to in Farrer Park is his habitat, his haven, where he learnt as a boy and became a champion as a man. Now the world's fastest 50m freestyle swimmer from 1982 has heard the pool must eventually close by 2020 and it feels like something ending. An era perhaps, and a love affair.

On the pillars in the verandah overlooking his pool is a pictorial history of Farrer Park and one black-and-white picture from the 1960s reveals a scene of a pool crowded with people. They would pay for a few hours of respite and then make way for the lines of citizens outside waiting their turn.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 31, 2018, with the headline 'The death of a field of dreams dims a city's sporting spirit'. Subscribe