Looking at all those electronic eyes in Tampines…

Jun 27, 2015 03.00PM |
 

By Shawn Danker

Last week, I was given a somewhat odd assignment by my editors. I was told to go and wander around a locality to spot and document what I had called in my mind, the area’s “surveillance presence.”

There are video cameras everywhere, along the roads to catch speedsters, on the backs of buses to snap those who do not “give way” and at traffic junctions in case daredevils run a red light. Then there are those at watering holes of Boat Quay and the lorongs of Geylang to deter unsavoury elements. And you know, of course, of cameras in cars which bring about a steady stream of road bullying images onto the Net and those installed in childcare centres, kindergartens and schools in case some adult thinks it is okay to slap a kid around. There are even walking CCTVs because our police officers will soon be equipped with recording devices to aid them in their work.

My job as a photographer is sometimes made difficult because of Singaporeans’ aversion to being photographed. But that aversion seems to disappear when it came to being videoed for security purposes. Despite the presence of the all-seeing eye, no one seems to care about being constantly watched. Those who do are told this: “In Singapore, people generally feel that if you’re not a criminal or an opponent of the government, you don’t have anything to worry about.”

I decided to pick Tampines Central for the assignment because I expected suburban Singapore to be somewhat free of camera surveillance. Boy, was I wrong.

Dear Tampines residents, have you ever noticed the cameras watching you?

Photo By Shawn Danker
Watch what you eat while being watched at The East Link Food court at Tampines Interchange.
Photo By Shawn Danker
Not out of sight but out of mind.
Photo By Shawn Danker
If only there was some way to look at the bus queue BEFORE you got to the interchange.
Photo By Shawn Danker
The vendors at Tampines interchange have one electronic jaga on each stall corner.
Photo By Shawn Danker
This cosmetics store is on the lookout for Asia’s new beauty queen with practically one camera per shelf!
Photo By Shawn Danker
Find me if you can: an out-of-sight camera pointing towards the nearby CPF building.
Photo By Shawn Danker
Look up at Century Square’s Chicken Up.
Photo By Shawn Danker
Just a fly on the wall.
Photo By Shawn Danker
Just in case someone manages to steal a massage chair.
Photo By Shawn Danker
We found this one camera watching the comings and goings at the Tampines Mall taxi stand.
Photo By Shawn Danker
Smoke break, you say? By the way, there’s another hidden camera behind that mirror wall.
Photo By Shawn Danker
The bigger the better to see you with: camera at the linkway between the Income Plaza and OCBC centre.
Photo By Shawn Danker
33 cameras stationed at Tampines MRT station. And that’s not counting those monitoring the nearby bicycle parking space.
Photo By Shawn Danker
An electronic watchful eye upon the bicycle parking spaces.
Photo By Shawn Danker
We wonder if this parking enforcement camera, like the street lamp that it’s attached to, is powered by the sun.
Photo By Shawn Danker
The cameras in block 508’s lift do nothing to alleviate the the sense of claustrophobia.
Photo By Shawn Danker
A solitary watchdog on the ground floor of block 507’s multi-storey car park.
Photo By Shawn Danker
I spy with my little eye a cleverly-located camera at the Tampines Regional Library’s service entrance.
Photo By Shawn Danker
The cameras intended to deter illegal parking are of no help after all.

 

 

Featured photo by Shawn Danker.

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