Sunday, March 10, 2019


This sampling of images and text is a preview of a developing series in conjunction with the Raffles Bicentennial celebrations that are currently in progress and continuing through the end of 2019. All photos and text  ©Rick Burnett Baker.


A touchstone to the past is most often a house, school, building, or a place where we used to hang out with family or friends. Years later, when we return to any of those elements of our past, we are sometimes flooded with myriad emotions and memories.  One element of touchstones that we sometimes forget is that those memories were most often created, not simply by a physical structure or place, but by the people who shared those places with us. 
In Singapore, so many of the places that Singaporeans, expats, and visitors remember fondly have disappeared to the ever changing landscape of development and redevelopment.  This project will explore some of my personal touchstones, but also those that older Singaporeans remember, and younger generations never knew. 

This will be a photo narrative, in the spirit of the Raffles Bicentennial, spiced with commentary, quotes, and poetry!  This will also be a challenge to the younger generations of Singaporeans to create their own, new touchstones, keeping in mind that people will be the most cherished part of those new creations. 

"When we pull back the curtain of our inner child
we unleash the art of creating our future." 


"I had designs on you. 
Paths were carved from every decade 
of emotion, a blueprint unfathomed.

I'm long past the dedication, ribbon-cutting, cornerstones; 
You are a time capsule, empty."
Adapted from my 2014 poem, 'metropolis'. 


"We stand where heritage has drawn us. 
self is the gathered vision of history against uncertainty."
Adapted from my 2013 poem, 'crossings'. 


Sometimes we create temporary touchstones..... 
(Love Locks @ Clarke Quay, Singapore
Text on image is an excerpt from my 2013 poem titled "milieu".)

Click on image to enlarge:


"We are view, we are days, we're the 
looking glass windows to unnamed futures." 
Adapted from my 2012 poem, 'paths'


Image Notes: 

Image 1: Base photo taken at Singapore Art Museum (SAM) Waterloo S. 
Overlay image of “Superkid” is the side of a building at Heritage Chalet, Pasir Ris Park. 

Image 2: Base photo taken at Dakota Crescent Estate. Overlay image take at Chinatown Complex.

Image 3: Base photo is a stylized rendering of an applied mural in the pedestrian underpass near Boat Quay in 2013. The overlay is Raffles Statue, Empress Place. 

Image 4: Love Locks @ Clarke Quay. 

Image 5: Photo of Raffles Statue overlaid on an image taken at Marina Bay Sands.  

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