The Padang (“field” in Malay), earmarked by Raffles as a recreation ground shortly after his arrival, is the very essence of colonial Singapore. Such is its symbolic significance that its borders have never been encroached upon by speculators and it remains much as it was in 1907, when G.M. Reith wrote in his Handbook to Singapore: “Cricket, tennis, hockey, football and bowls are played on the plain”. Once the last over of the day had been bowled, the Padang assumed a more social role: the image of Singapore’s European community hastening to the corner once known as Scandal Point to catch up on the latest gossip is pure Somerset Maugham.

 

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