Year of Dragon – It’s Play Time! #6

December 31, 2011 at 11:52 am | Posted in itchy mouth | Leave a comment
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Tomorrow will be the start of another new year, and in a few weeks’ time, we will say bye-bye to the Bunny and usher in the Dragon. So what’s more apt than to end our “It’s PlayTime!” series with the most numbers of surviving old mosaic playgrounds design, featuring the Dragon?

The first Dragon playground we visited was this one at Toa Payoh. When we spotted in from the car, I was so excited as it was the first time I saw it as I have never played in it before…

The big brother of all mosaic playgrounds…龙头老大

I thought the design was great!! This had the original sandpit too! The
rainbow-coloured body made the playground look so cheerful!

龙马精神…Dragon is an auspicious creature in many cultures. To design a
slide using the dragon as the theme was simply brilliant. Most of the old
playgrounds were much more interesting as they encouraged children’s
imagination. They are unique as they were all locally designed by Mr Khor
Ean Ghee
, who worked in the HDB during the 70s. Even the choice of the
“side-kick” springy animal ride (the seahorse) was well-thought of, as both
of them reside in the sea…

In his own words, Mr Khor said, “We wanted to create something that was distinctive. My boss said to me that all the buildings along Orchard Road were not designed locally. So at least, our playgrounds should be.” Coincidentally, Mr Khor happened to be my tutor at LaSalle College of the Arts and it’s a pity that I didn’t know he was the one who designed the many wonderful old mosaic playgrounds then…

The gaps in between the metal bars of the body made it challenging for
children to run
 or walk fast but they were also made narrow enough so that
no children will fall
down from there. With the many twists and turns, ups
and down, you almost won’t get tired of climbing and running through it! 

The swing was missing… 

Glad to see young children still playing with it! The Dragon playground is
such a unique landmark that should be kept, just like the Pelican

Another big Dragon playground resides at Ang Moh Kio…this one I haven’t visited yet…Tisu Boy secretly went to play alone… 😮

This Dragon is only duotone in colour, so not as colourful and attractive…
It looks like a more mature dragon…hahhaah..The sandpit had been
replaced by those synthetic rubber foam…

The body is so much duller in colour

They didn’t paint the metal steps here too… 

Mosaic tiles were plastered over the entire slide for this Dragon, unlike the
previous one which left it plain in the original stone (?) material. I prefer
the plain one cos your bum felt much cooler and it was smoother sliding
through it…hahah… 

These people with itchy fingers can vandalise on anywhere and everywhere!
And if you have to write and love two persons at the same time, at least
get your grammar correct! 

This older Dragon has two stairs on its body…ideal for playing catching
around the body where you can run up and down easily to escape…

Itchyfingers also visited two other mini Dragons….

A much simpler design probably for younger children as you don’t have
the uneven metal-barred body to negotiate…Itchyfingers tried this slide,
and it was really fun!

Sand covered the spiral stairs…I supposed spiral stairs were rarer in
those days so it must be such a thrilling experience for children then 

The old playground and the newer fitness area 

Peeping through the Dragon’s eye 

A second mini Dragon on a rubber foam mat 

Most of the old playgrounds had this kinda notice…Made it sound so scary
and dangerous to play  

Rubber foam mat are used now probably cos of safety concerns and easier
to maintain…But somehow it just lacks certain character…

Old versus new…Ok, let’s vote…which would you prefer to play with?
Would you choose a majestic Dragon slide….ok, maybe not as majestic
since it is a mini one…hahah…

Or a boring, run-of-the-mill and straight-forward new slide that doesn’t
encourage imagination?

The old mosaic playgrounds had been part of our collective memories. Many children of the 70s and 80s, even to the 90s, grew up playing at these old playgrounds. It would be a shame to let them be a thing of the past when new development calls for their demolition. Help to preserve these unique landmarks by simply visiting and playing with them if you have children, or if you are still a kid at heart. At least when people use them, then there will be more reasons for them to be kept for future generation to enjoy and appreciate.

For now, it’s Play Time! Let’s welcome the Year of the Dragon! 😀

Also see related posts:
> Row, Row, Row Your Boat – It’s Play Time! #5
Quench Thy Thirst – It’s Play Time! #4
Critically Endangered Species – The Last Pelican in Singapore
It’s Play Time! #3 
It’s Play Time! #2
It’s Play Time! #1  


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