Our Gurkhas is an anthology of portraits and anecdotes from the retired Singapore Gurkhas as they reminisce about life in the Lion City — from the 50s till today. This is a work in progress.
The Gurkhas, men from Nepal, serve in the Gurkha Contingent of the Singapore Police Force. Established in 1949, the legacy of the Gurkha Contingent goes beyond the independence of Singapore.
After the war, including the 50s and 60s, as Singapore arrived closer to independence, the Gurkhas came into prominence as they played a key role in neutralizing riots — especially those that involved the Chinese and Malays.
They were valued as an impartial force in light of multi-ethnic tensions.
Famed for their bravery, loyalty and impartiality, little is known about the Gurkha and his family — housed in a barricaded compound off Joo Seng street in Mount Vernon Camp.
I wanted to know more.
In Nepal, I tracked down, interacted and photographed these Gurkhas — from the states of Pokhara, Bhairahawa, Dharan and Katmandu.
Currently, there are over 2000 retired Singapore Gurkhas scattered over the country, and mainly in these four states. Some have migrated in countries like the United States, Hong Kong and Canada.
In making these portraits, I conferred importance to these silent sentinels and their place as a community in Singapore.