The former colonial port cities of Southeast Asia are complex in both their landscapes andtheir collective memories. Centuries of European imperial domination have left a mark ontheir townscapes and, more so in some cases than in others, on their contemporary politicaland social cultures. During the colonial period, the integration of these port cities intoglobal trade networks also fostered inter- and intra-regional migration and, thus, thedevelopment of complex cultural mixes in their demographic composition. In recentdecades, and following the attainment of political independence, this region has experiencedspectacular economic growth and the development of a range of nationalisms, bothof which have had a considerable impact on the recent transformation of their (capital)cityscapes. Singapore and Jakarta are presented here as case studies of the ways in whicheconomic, political and cultural forces have interacted to produce cityscapes in whichelements of the past are variously eliminated, hidden, privileged, integrated and/orreinvented.