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Capturing Childhood Memories & Celebrating Singapore's Dragon Playground This Chinese New Year

Posted: January 17, 2024
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In a world that’s constantly changing, there’s something magical about the way our childhood memories stay with us, etched in our minds like vivid dreams. They evoke a sense of nostalgia that transports us back to a time when life was simpler, and the world seemed filled with endless possibilities. One such cherished memory for many Singaporeans is the iconic Dragon Playground in Toa Payoh.

At Fairmont Singapore, we recognize the significance of shared cultural memories, especially when it comes to celebrating traditions. Our decision to feature the iconic Dragon Playground on our 2024 Lunar New Year red packets is a nod to Singapore’s rich heritage. These red packets aren’t just envelopes for gifting; they are a tribute to the shared memories of Singapore’s past and an homage to the sense of community that this beloved playground represents.

Rediscovering the Dragon Playground

As we unveil our 2024 red packets, we invite you to rediscover the Dragon Playground along with us. Each red packet features a stunning illustration of this iconic structure, capturing its vibrant colors and whimsical design.

The QR code in the red packet is your gateway to the past. Scan it, and it will lead you to the story of the Dragon Playground. You’ll learn about its history, the inspiration behind its design, and the role it has played in the lives of generations of Singaporeans. It’s a journey through time, a trip down memory lane that will leave you feeling even more connected to this special place.

The Toa Payoh Dragon Playground: A Walk Down Memory Lane

In the 1960s, playgrounds in HDB estates primarily had functional designs, featuring elements like slides, swings, and see-saws. However, in an effort to promote more engaging and imaginative play experiences, a new series of HDB-designed and constructed playgrounds was introduced during the 1970s. The initial series of playgrounds featured animal themes, while the subsequent series drew inspiration from local symbols that were familiar to Singaporeans. One such symbol was the dragon, a mythical creature deeply ingrained in Asian legends and folktales.

Constructed in 1979, the Toa Payoh Dragon Playground was the brainchild of HDB architect Mr. Khor Ean Ghee and was part of the second series of these playgrounds. This playground was based on an earlier dragon design that had been installed at Toa Payoh Town Garden (now known as Toa Payoh Town Park). The Town Garden’s dragon playground, which has since been removed, featured a metal head, a longer spine, and a circular monkey bar, but was difficult to fabricate.

The dragon playground designed by Mr. Khor Ean Ghee in the 1970s was far from the typical playground of its time. Unlike the modern playgrounds equipped with plastic and rubberized elements, it was a genuine work of art, meticulously handcrafted and adorned with vibrant mosaic tiles. Its intricate details and distinctive design set it apart as a significant cultural and historical landmark.

The success and popularity of this concept led to the redesign of the dragon playground at Lorong 6. This revamped version boasted a larger head embellished with terrazzo tiles, slides, and a colorful ringed body that children could climb through. Such was the admiration for this design that it prompted the creation of similar versions in HDB playgrounds throughout Singapore, each varying in size and configuration. Among these reproductions, you can find smaller variations at Lorong 1 and another one located in front of Block 570 in Ang Mo Kio Avenue 3.

If you’ve had the privilege of growing up in Singapore, chances are you’ve encountered the Dragon Playground at some point in your life. This playground is not just a structure made of concrete and mosaic tiles; it’s a symbol of the bygone era when playgrounds were more than just slides and swings.

Celebrating Community and Tradition

At Fairmont Singapore, we believe that traditions and memories are worth celebrating. The Dragon Playground represents not just a place to play but a symbol of the close-knit communities that thrived in Singapore’s public housing estates. It’s a testament to the resilience, creativity, and spirit of the people who call this city home.

As you receive and give out our 2024 red packets, we hope you’ll share stories of your own experiences at the Dragon Playground. Let it be a conversation starter during gatherings with family, friends, and clients. Let it remind you of the importance of preserving our heritage and passing down our stories to the next generation.

This blog post was published on 17 January 2024. 



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