Fishing at Singapore River

Chern Lian Shan

First placed in Singapore: 2004

by Singapore River at The Riverwalk


Patron: The Riverwalk, in collaboration with Singapore Tourism Board & National Heritage Board

More tourist realism and nostalgia along the Singapore River.  When is the last time you saw a young boy in a singlet and shorts, with a canvas school bag and an accompanying dog, in Singapore? The artist is talking about the past, the label is trying to relate the work to a recent achievement. There is a bit of a disconnect.

Text of the Label:

Fishing at Singapore River
Chern Lian Shan
Fishing was a regular activity for native Orang Laut even before the arrival of Sir Stamford Raffles. With Singapore's establishment, this livelihood was replaced by trading. The Singapore River, which functioned as the main avenue for transport, was lined with trading houses and godowns.Commerce and the city grew, spawning backyard industries and an increasing squatter population. These activities, as well as riverside residents, increasingly used the river as a dumping ground and sewer. By the 1970s, the fish had completely disappeared due to the polluted waters.

In 1977, then- Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew urged Singaporeans that is should be a way of life to keep the water clean ... keep every stream, every culvert, every rivulet free from unnecessary pollution." Subsequently, the Ministry of Environment led a multi-agency project to clean the island's watercourses, including the Singapore River. The riverside industries and population were relocated. The river was dredged, cleaned of debris, and its banks improved in appearance. In 1983, the National University of Singapore confirmed that marine life had started to return.In 1987, 10 years after the project began, fishing was once again possible. A River Carnival and fishing competition were held to celebrate this success. Fishing and anglers, such as this boy, have since been a familiar sight at the Singapore River.

A Community Project Proudly Sponsored By:
[logo of The Riverwalk]
In collaboration With
[logo of the Singapore Tourism Board] [logo to the National Heritage Board]
text also in chinese

Last updated: Dec-5-2020

Fishing at Singapore River
additional photograph of the sculpture on this page

PublicArtSG Photographs are by Peter Schoppert, unless otherwise indicated.
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