Photobook: Suddenly The Grass Became Greener


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.


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. 

First Edition limited to 500 copies only.

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

Now available for Orders. Details below.

Author's Note

This is my first independently authored and published book. I am allured by the book as a vulnerable artefact of our times, and the possibility that it may pass hand to hand, near and wide, enter private spaces and into small, quiet conversations with its readers. 

Suddenly The Grass Became Greener is a portrait of Singapore. Most of the photographs were collected in 2015, a most historic year undoubtedly, but the book has been much longer in the living and making. The images are accompanied by two exclusive essays by Singapore writers I greatly admire: Sudhir Thomas Vadaketh of Floating on a Malayan Breeze: Travels in Malaysia and Singapore fame and upcoming young writer Charmaine Poh. The fabric-wrapped hardcover has a debossed illustration by Singapore artist and friend Mindflyer. The book is printed by Grenadier Press, one of Singapore's premier offset print houses.

– Kevin WY Lee / Follow updates on FACEBOOK / TWITTER / INSTAGRAM

Book Reviews

"A really well-made hardcover especially the beautiful embossing on the cover. Better still is the impressive content that has just about everything you want to read about the "art" of greening Singapore … the history, the eventful year of 2015 with Lee Kuan Yew's passing and SG50 the jubilee year of Republic of Singapore, the critical essays by Sudhir Vadaketh and Charmaine Poh on what's green, what's pseudo green and what to make of it all. And a plug on poetry to stay sane away from the fray. Plus archival photos that suggest what many of us end up remembering. One of LKY's final wishes was to have his ashes mixed with his wife's, not instructions for planting yet another tree or another garden, not even about Singapore. It's an "all over the place" book, in a very good way. Everyone should get a copy and read it every so often. Suddenly The Grass Became Greener is evergreen." – Li Li Chung, Exactly Foundation


"Suddenly The Grass Became Greener is beautiful and a unique way of narrating an important event in his country's history. I don't want to spoil it, better get a copy while it lasts." – Veejay Villafranca, Philippines


"I keep touching the cover." – Daniel Soh, Singapore


"Beautiful, honest and subtle – Kevin’s book embarks you on a nostalgic visual journey, interweaving the symbiosis between men and nature in many perspectives. He has a witty sense of conceptualizing the entire series, allowing space for ponder and reflection. Kevin’s work is a valuable documentation not just for those in the present to appreciate, but also a treasure for the future generation of Singapore." – Amrita Chandradas, Singapore


"Damn good. Very interesting way to talk about Singapore. Unexpected and whimsical, and an unexpected way of linking different elements into one narrative too. The greenery is both the character and the backdrop/stage. That's kind of new. It takes a curious person to be able to connect. We tell our stories as best as we can and that's our responsibility." – Sean Lee, Singapore


"Congrats on pulling off this book. You will never look at trees the same way again." – Edwin Koo, Singapore


Preview of Book and Photographs

Order The Book Now.


– USD$50 (SGD$70)

This is an order of a standard edition "Suddenly The Grass Became Greener" photobook. Orders with shipping are posted via standard registered airmail.

Order #1 STGBG Book Standard


– USD$75 (SGD$100)

This is an order of an artist signed "Suddenly The Grass Became Greener" photobook with a 7.5x5" size Art Print. Orders with shipping are posted via standard registered airmail.

Order #2 STGBG Book with Print

Suddenly The Grass Became Greener is also available at the following stockists in Singapore at Objectifs Centre for Photography and Film and Basheer Graphic Books; Japan at Shashasha / 写々者 Bookstore; and Hong Kong at The Salt Yard.

Enquiries, more information or bulk orders, please drop me a message.





Kevin WY Lee is photographer and creative director in Singapore. Kevin works with images as a practitioner and curator. In 2010, he founded Invisible Photographer Asia, a platform for photography & visual arts in Asia.



Sudhir Thomas Vadaketh is the author of Floating on a Malayan Breeze: Travels in Malaysia and Singapore and co-author of Hard Choices: Challenging the Singapore Consensus. He blogs at



Charmaine Poh is a Singapore writer and photographer. She graduated from Tufts University in 2013 with a B.A. in international relations, and was also a student in the Program for Narrative and Documentary Practice. Through photography, writing, and collaborative art projects, she investigates contemporary issues of identity, history, and place.

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