Suddenly The Grass Became Greener, Kevin WY Lee

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Suddenly The Grass Became Greener is a book of photographs made in Singapore during her 50th year as a nation, and the coincidental death of her gardener.

Plant and soil experts came to Singapore in 1978 to study our soil conditions. Our harsh equatorial sun and heavy Southeast Asian rains were not favourable to growing healthy green gramineae. The rains would wash away our topsoil and leach all nutrients.

The experts recommended constant layering of heavy compost fertiliser and lime to our porous soil. The gardener at Istana tested this on his lawns. Suddenly the grass became greener.


“Lee Kuan Yew, adamant about turning Singapore into a Garden City, kickstarted tree-planting in Singapore in June 1963 with a Mempat Tree at Farrer Circus. Through the years, he’d continue to display his love for fauna, in his characteristically unparalleled way. If he loved something, it would flourish. The opposite also rang true.” Excerpt from accompanying essay Towards Arcadia, by Charmaine Poh.

“When she died, it was as if the universe had been snatched from him. He never truly recovered. That death—inevitable, unsparing death—could cripple Mr Lee showed that in the final reckoning, maybe raw human emotions do have the capacity to overwhelm hard-nosed pragmatism.” Excerpt from accompanying essay Obituary, by Sudhir Thomas Vadaketh.

Suddenly The Grass Became Greener by Kevin WY Lee is a book of photographs made in Singapore during her 50th year as a nation, and the coincidental death of her gardener.


Book Specifications

First Edition limited to 500 Copies.
Publication Date: May 2016
ISBN: 978-981-09-8455-7
Size: 225mm x 175mm, approx: 600g, 156 pages threadsewn with fabric-wrapped hardcover.
Paper: Printed on FSC® certified Divina White and Cream 150gsm stock, using 30% post consumer fibres.
Photographs: 43 Colour, 13 Monochrome


Suddenly The Grass Became Greener is also available online at and at the following stockists in Singapore: Objectifs Centre for Photography and Film, 155 Middle Road and Basheer Graphic Books, Bras Basah Complex; The Salt Yard, Hong Kong; Afterhours Books, Indonesia and soon at Shashasha 写々者, Japan.

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