Urban Gothic: Singapore

Gina Wisker

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceeding with ISSN or ISBNChapterpeer-review


Like infrared night time cameras capturing the wanderings of the endangered pangolin around university premises and gardens, the urban Gothic expressions of Singapore reveal rich layerings of lives and histories, hidden from the intense, managed traffic flow. The soaring buildings, planned spaces and fast roads hide the past, yet its imprints are revealed by the Gothic imaginations of the writers who know what was there, what is hidden, what is not revealed to the tourist or investor. These giant buildings are new builds but carry the history of their locations and those who inhabited them – they are rebuilt on the grounds of others, sometimes on burial grounds, or on the sites of wartime devastations. Partially revealed histories of imperialism, invasion, alternative medicines and lifestyles jostle alongside soaring glitzy capitalism. Everywhere there is the suppression and the explosion of life, rich, fertile, natural, whether it be the frogs and insects which invade your shoes and chocolate boxes, or reminders of what is hidden, dead, but not gone, the haunting presences and howling silences of ghosts of the bustling past whose dark secrets have been nearly erased, but exist parallel to the present, imprinted on the spaces, places, buildings and in the living histories of those who inhabit the island city.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationUrban Gothic
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages21
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 10 Sept 2019

Publication series

PublisherPalgrave Macmillan


  • Gothic
  • Singapore
  • Urban


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