Safe, expensive and efficient are words often used to describe Singapore. Its residents are also known as the Swiss of the Southeast. They move like clockwork, to the point that travel writer, Pico Iyer, recalls the capital as being some kind of “McCity.”
Photographer Nguan is trying to change this mindset by capturing the beautiful, pastel stillness of his home. “Much of the city does function with ‘fast food’ efficiency. Until recently, there was a rule at our airport that the first bag out of every arriving plane must be on the baggage claim belt within 12 minutes. There is indeed much of Singapore that is contrived, but I hope to show a different face of the country. I want to create a portrayal that is honest yet mythical, and dreamlike but true.”
Several elements in his work re-occur: fragile, evaporating spiral staircases (often seen in the rear of old shop houses), invincible pink bougainvillea flowers pouring from street corners, multi-functional plastic chairs piled high and assembled at weddings and funerals, and the high-rise public housing complexes of the heartland.