By : Jane Chang
19 November 2013
Situated near Mount Faber is the relatively unknown but vibrant community of Bukit Purmei Ville. You can get anything and everything here without having to venture out afar.
I know that for sure because this was once home for me before I got married and flew the coop. Many sights and sounds at Bukit Purmei familiar to me from years ago are still around today.
In fact, did you know that Bukit Purmei actually forms part of the Radin Mas area, also the name of one of Singapore’s oldest kampongs? The kampong houses are long gone, but this corner of Singapore remains brimming with a rich collection of historical monuments and heritage sites. Nearby are black-and-white colonial bungalows, while there are newer amenities like the Henderson Waves, the striking pedestrian bridge that stretches 274m connecting Mount Faber Park to Telok Blangah Hill Park.
How did Radin Mas get its name? According to legend, Radin Mas Ayu was a beautiful 16th century princess who had sacrificed herself as an evil ruler was trying to stab her father. She died in her father’s arms, and was then buried at the foot of Mount Faber. A small shrine still stands today in her memory, and a few other buildings in the area, including the community club, are named after Radin Mas.
Meanwhile, Bukit Purmei also features a reputed royal graveyard among the cluster of HDB blocks here, but exactly who has been buried here remains a mystery, at least to me!
I’m more familiar with the modern-day Bukit Purmei, which is a pretty self-sufficient estate of about 2,300 dwelling units. So do join me for a quick tour.
Other than the usual health facilities, there is a veterinary clinic, which is easily identifiable by the two adoring bird mascots greeting you at the door.
Speaking of birds, if you are a bird lover, you can join like-minded people at the bird singing arena, next to the coffee shop at Block 112 – see the many ‘merbok jambul’ and ‘mata putih’ singing their ‘blues’ away every weekend!
And if you’re feeling hungry, fresh seafood, vegetables, yong tau foo, fruit – you name it, Bukit Purmei’s got it. Yes, even the king of fruit is available, and when in season ‘Mao Shan Wang’ (a particularly sought-after type of durian) will make its special appearance. There are many smaller provision shops and mini-marts, as well as a hardware shop, bakery, florist, hair salon and even a “$2 store” around.
What about other culinary delights? From laksa to ‘zi char’ dishes, a wide range of familiar Singaporean eats at reasonable prices is offered at the coffee shops which have become a popular haunt for cabbies and residents alike. There is a famous ‘lor mee’ stall located at the foot of Block 110. “Endless queue but it’s worth the wait,” say some loyal patrons. Another must-try is the vegetarian fare at the coffee shop of Block 112. And there is also the well-known ‘Jalan Kayu’ prata with different fillings, along with Indian ‘rojak’ which comes with fried fritters, bean curds, hard boiled eggs and more, dipped in a spicy-sweet sauce.
If you love vintage clothes, bags, shoes and accessories – there is a rare heartland vintage shop at Block 112 and it is THE place to go! You can really come across some good finds – hmmm… a haven for vintage seekers!
Bukit Purmei is a small and settled community where many neighbours as well as shop owners know one another and are always ready to offer a helping hand – in true kampong spirit of yesteryears – which is not easy to come by these days.
There are schools nearby too – CHIJ St Theresa’s Convent, CHIJ Kellock Convent and Radin Mas Primary School – a plus for families with school-going children.
Despite its location away from town, the transportation network here is pretty good, with direct buses to VivoCity and Orchard Road – my favourite shopping destinations! Buses are also available that will take you to Bukit Merah Interchange and Tiong Bahru MRT station for your onward journey to other parts of sunny Singapore!
But if you have the time, why not swing by Bukit Purmei to check out the many goodies here? You may just find something
Come across any other interesting finds at an HDB estate? Share it with us by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org.