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A Traveller's Tropical Treat

Nineteenth-century writer Emily Innes once wrote in The Chersonese with the Gilding Off, “In the tropics, the fruits have no taste, the flowers have no scent, and the birds no song.” If Innes were to visit Singapore a century later, she would have been pleasantly surprised to discover a completely different tropical Singapore. The collection of photographs from 1980-1990s deposited by the Singapore Tourist Promotion Board shows a Singapore that could not be more different from the colourless region that Innes described.

The typical tourist arriving at an efficiently-managed Changi Airport embarks on fun-filled, exciting and exuberant days in Singapore. He can see the Merlion at the Esplanade, play golf on Sentosa, catch annual sporting events like dragon boat races and learn more about multi-racial Singapore from visits to Chinatown, Little India and Kampong Glam. When hunger pangs hit, there is good food everywhere, at all hours of the day, and in all price ranges.

To experience the sights that greeted a tourist in late 20th century Singapore see visual treats below. There are over 5,000 pictures of Singapore in the 1980s and 1990s, illustrating the tropical and colourful experience of a typical tourist’s stay.