Another brand new day, another new opportunity. The three of us went to Tanjong Pagar Railway Station, hoping to find more people with interesting perspectives and opinions.

We chanced upon an old couple in the early wee hours of morning when the area is still devoid of people. There was something melancholic in the way the old couple just sits together, in silent communion. They had looks of despair on their faces, seeming to be searching for something. Something very important.

The old lady’s eyes sparkled when she saw us. “Do you know where the railway station is?” she asked.

We invited the couple to walk with us, and she told us about their railway story along the way.

55 years ago, her husband had to travel frequently between Singapore and Malaya due to work. Their first “overseas” trip together, was a train ride to Malaya to pray for their first born child during the ninth lunar month. After this first trip, came the second, and then the third… It became a yearly pilgrimage for them. 30 years later, age had caught up and the couple became less persistent in pursuing this.

When we reached the railway station, the old lady brightened up like a little girl. She was so happy and excited to see the trains coming into the station, she refused to leave the platform without taking a photo with the trains and us, all the while taking care of her husband who appeared to be deep in thought.

A photo with the trains. That was all she wanted.

Project 79 is a final year project initiated by Chua Shi Min, Ye Xiao Xia and Zhuo Dandan, students from Ngee Ann Polytechnic, School of Humanities, Chinese Media and Communication. 79 stories, signifying the 79 years the station was in operation, were collected through interviewing of passengers at Tanjong Pagar Railway Station and Bukit Timah Railway Station over the period of one month. Copyright of photos and stories reside with Project 79. Find out more at

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