A Grand Spectacle

Pomp! Hoorah! Games and recreation galore!

The newly enlarged grass field was backed by Fort Canning Hill, and a row of impressive houses. A staging ground to project scenes of an idealised colonial lifestyle from the European perspective. The mythos had been set in motion.

Pieces of Neo-Classical government architecture would surround the Padang (the last piece was added in 1939) in the era of Modern architecture. The mise-en-scene of colonial magnificence and discipline was completed just in time for it to end.

In 1966, the newly independent nation hosted her first National Day Parade here. The government offices gradually moved away as buildings reopened as cultural institutions that cannot help but celebrate its colonial birth. New meanings, sometimes cautiously contested, were inscribed.