Boat Quay at noon, 1965
MG Kumar, ‘Boat Quay at noon, 1965’, 2020, Oil on Canvas, 30 x 36 in
‘Who are those you reach to hold? Do you quiver with their sighs? From land, you trace slivers of living in broad rivers and streams.’ – Singapore River, 1962 by Heng Siok Tan
As the sun rises towards its highest point in the sky, we see Boat Quay dressed to the nines in the finest jewels of the land. In the noonday light, she shines brighter than the other developments on the northern bank, her the title of “Tua Poh” which means “Greater Town” in Hokkien. It is no wonder they call her the ‘belly of the carp’, a name acquired not only because fortune lives here, but also because of her voluptuous curves where her river arches. To her light, many influential Chinese businessmen have been drawn to set up their trading offices here, including philanthropist Tan Tock Seng. Like many others, he too will soon receive her finest gifts.