A history of a city-state can cover its political leaders or military past. Historian Eisen Teo is fascinated by something else: its land transport networks, and urban and traffic patterns. He dubs it the History of Movement: an intimate history driven by human nature, the age-old need to move from Point A to Point B for the everyday conduct of life. As the world urbanizes, the history of movement will only grow in relevance. Jalan Singapura sheds new light on Singapore history through 700 years of movement. From horse carriages to subway trains, dirt tracks to million-dollar expressways, ancient attap villages to glass-and-steel waterfronts, the movement of a people has shaped Singapore's present - and illuminates its future. This book gives readers a new perspective on Singapore history through topics very close to the hearts and experiences of everyone living in the country, namely land transport, urban living and traffic. It will also draw lessons from history to provide bold solutions for present-day urban and land transport problems in Singapore.
This is a political history without being political. It is an economic history without being economic. And it is a cultural history without being cultural. Eisen's personal insights add value, and his ability to analyse the unfolding plural experiences of Singaporeans and their transportation stories enriches the study. He has presented one of the most original studies of Singapore history that I have read in my 25 years here and I look forward to seeing it in print. - Professor Brian P. Farrell, Dept. of History, National University of Singapore--Brian P Farrell