By : Cap’n Yong Shu Fui
20 February 2014
Did you know that the area where Sengkang now stands used to be occupied by a fishing village named Kangkar, or ‘foot of the port’? The town’s Chinese name (盛港) literally means “prosperous harbour”. Not surprisingly then, Sengkang’s roots as a fishing port are reflected in the design of the town and even in the names of its streets – Compassvale, Rivervale, and Anchorvale.
I’ve lived in Sengkang for more than a decade. Though I will always treasure my memories of Ang Mo Kio, I’ve also embraced Sengkang as home. Although Sengkang has been likened by some ill-advised individuals as the less snazzy cousin to its neighbour, Punggol (especially with the award winning Punggol Waterway), I find that Sengkang has its own unique charm!
Walking around Sengkang often feels like a treasure hunt in the sea… with booty hidden around the town, waiting to be discovered. If you’re an aspiring seafarer who would like to set sail on a voyage around Sengkang, here’s a map and proposed route for you
Stop 1: Follow the Compass (Compass Point)
Compass Point is located in Sengkang Town Centre. It’s the most convenient meeting point here, as it is integrated with the Sengkang MRT Station, LRT Station and Bus Interchange, all of which are housed under the same complex. Starting from here, take the Sengkang LRT Line’s East Loop, and alight at the next stop – Compassvale LRT Station.
Stop 2: Beware the Great White Shark (Compassvale Street)
After exiting the station, turn left and walk towards Block 253, Compassvale Street.
The void decks of several HDB blocks at this part of Compassvale Street (Block 244 – 256) are decorated with mosaic wall murals of various sea creatures. These have been here even before I moved to Sengkang, and they still look pretty smashing!
Doesn’t this remind you of the Great White Shark in Jaws? *cue Jaws soundtrack*
A lonely dolphin at Block 250D
One of my favourite murals
Other than dolphins and sharks, there are murals of octopus and swordfish too!
Even the playgrounds in Sengkang have a nautical theme
Stop 3: A Whale-ing Good Time in the Park (Sengkang Sculpture Park)
Who says that art pieces can only be viewed in galleries or museums?
The Sengkang Sculpture Park is not your typical neighbourhood park. Though it also has playgrounds and fitness facilities, what sets this 24,000-square metre park apart from other parks are the marine-related sculptures in it. The most iconic sculpture is the Whale, displayed in the centre of the park.
The largest sculpture in the park – walking in the Whale gives a feeling of being swallowed alive!
Not forgetting the mosaic bubbles underneath the Whale!
Cross the road from Block 256 and walk along Compassvale Street, towards Compassvale Primary School. The park is located just behind the school.
These sculptures remind me of the anemometers used to measure wind speed.
“Bubbles” in different colours and designs.
Even the handrails are designed to resemble waves.
And that marks the end of your seafaring adventure around Sengkang! Till then, me matey, until we sail again!
Nowhere are a town’s roots more obvious than in Sengkang but it’s not the only new town that has been consciously designed to preserve its heritage. HDB’s architects and planners are always careful to imbue each town with its own unique identity – and its past is always an inspiration for its future!
So, do you know the history behind your town? What are the interesting things to explore in your neighbourhood? Let us know on www.facebook.com/mynicehome!