They Told Us To Move: Dakota-Cassia
Edited by Ng Kok Hoe, Rocky Howe, Lim Jingzhou and Sammie Ng
A compassionate and powerful retelling of stories of displacement in Singapore, and the inner workings of social service here.
Dakota Crescent was one of Singapore's oldest public housing estates and a rental flat neighbourhood for low-income households. In 2016, its residents—many of whom are elderly—were relocated to Cassia Crescent to make way for redevelopment. To help them resettle, a group of volunteers came together and formed the Cassia Resettlement Team.
They Told Us to Move tells the story of the relocation through interviews with the residents from the Dakota community and reflections by the volunteers. Accompanying these are essays by various academics on urban planning; gender and family; ageing, poverty, and social services; civil society and citizenship; and architectural heritage and place-making. Through this three-part conversation, the book explores human stories of devotion, expectation, and remembrance. It asks what we can achieve through voluntary action and how we can balance self-reliance and public services.
This book is for people who want to understand the kind of society we are, and question what kind of society we want to be.
Read if you: think it's bad enough when your favourite restaurant closes down its location nearest to you.