Category: Cities

Malaysia-Singapore causeway: after 100 years, ‘it’s mutual lah’

The opening ceremony of the Johor-Singapore Causeway on June 28, 1924. Photo: Handout/Courtesy of National Archives of Malaysia
Like many Singapore businessmen, Pui Syn Kong drives to work. But instead of the skyscrapers of Shenton Way in the city state’s central business district, he heads for neighbouring Malaysia.

For the past two decades, the 73-year-old has made the 30km commute from his home in western Singapore to his marine engineering consultancy office in Johor Bahru two to three times a week. He established a presence in the city across the border so he could secure local contracts as a Malaysian company after expanding beyond the island republic.

“I can go over any time straightaway,” said Pui, who usually sets off for work at 6am and returns home in time for dinner. “About 30 minutes and we are there already. Actually, faster than going to Shenton Way!”

➜ Read the full story in the South China Morning Post

Built to last, not on human skulls: Malaysia-Singapore causeway’s 100-year history

The Johor-Singapore causeway as seen from the Woodlands end in the 1940s. A popular legend involving its construction claims human skulls were incorporated into the foundations to appease evil spirits. Photo: Handout

When construction began on the Johor-Singapore Causeway in August 1919, it was the largest engineering project in Malaya, costing an estimated 17 million Straits dollars – roughly the equivalent of US$1.6 billion in modern money.

The design by Messrs Coode, Matthews, Fitzmaurice & Wilson stretched 1.06km from bank to bank and its width of 18.2 metres allowed for two metre-gauge railway tracks, a 7.9-metre roadway and space for the laying of a water pipeline.

➜ Read the full story in the South China Morning Post

Drawing Out Architecture

They define the shape of a city. They contain its people and their multitudes of lives too. Buildings are the ubiquitous fabric of our urban condition, yet they somehow remain in the background of the minds of many city dwellers.

Perhaps it is their towering silhouettes that overshadow questions of how they came about. Or their immutable forms that make them seem like a natural phenomenon. But no building is simply a heap of materials, be it stone, concrete, steel or glass. They are assemblies of intentions, resources and beliefs—expressed in a language known as “architecture”.

Architecture may not be able to speak for itself, but the people who created it can. This is how I learned about the buildings by W Architects. As the editor of this exhibition catalogue and the studio’s first-ever monograph published in 2020, I have been privileged to spend hours listening to managing director Mok Wei Wei as he patiently walked me through four decades of the studio’s projects. These recollections at W Architects were frequently interrupted by an excuse to retrieve a drawing, a document, a magazine or newspaper cut-out and even a book from his office to vividly bring home a point.

➜ Read the full essay in To Draw an Idea: Retracing the Designs of William Lim Associates – W Architects