Singapore from above: Photographs taken with help from a drone

Singapore from above: Photographs taken with help from a drone

Bukit Batok Driving Centre, one of Singapore's oldest driving test centres, is a peculiar sight from above.

Little cars make loops and turns, manoeuvring through an obstacle course which is harder than it looks. The facility has three years left on its lease and the Urban Redevelopment Authority has said that it will have to make way for housing within the next 15 to 20 years.

The unusual view of the centre may make one smile, though for many Singaporeans it may also hold stressful memories.


With Singapore's vibrant economy paving the way for some of the most innovative architecture in the world - take the durian-shaped Esplanade theatres for instance - amazing geometries are hidden in many places.

For example, the wave pool at Jurong East Swimming Complex looks like a giant nose from above, while the Bishan Home for the Intellectually Disabled looks like a human brain.

The newly opened Ng Teng Fong Hospital looks like an anatomical model of the human circulatory and digestive system.

It is not known, however, if the layouts of these places were designed with such shapes in mind.

It is usually difficult to know what you will find until you are up in the air, but advances in technology have made that a lot simpler and safer.

A Phantom 4 drone from Shenzhen-based tech company DJI costs about $1,700, and comes with an in-built 4K camera that takes crisp images.

I picked up aerial videography in 2014, using drones to document melting sea ice at the Arctic's edge in Manitoba, Canada.

Since then, this same technology has allowed me to investigate how illegal farming in the Cameron Highlands led to increased flooding disasters in Malaysia.

This led to a documentary titled The Disappearing Hills, which will make its debut this weekend at the Freedom Film Festival, Malaysia's annual human rights film festival.

Around the world, the environment is constantly being shaped and reshaped by development. This is even more so in Singapore.

Taking aerial photos is a tedious process, requiring careful planning of shots and time taken off work to curate the images.

But this is the least I can do to show my gratitude to the land that has given me so much.

Yeo Kai Wen's aerial shots are currently on display at the Singapore Botanic Gardens till Sept 3.

This article was first published on August 18, 2016.
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