By : Jane Chang
22 October 2013
Meet and eat (or takeaway too)
Bukit Merah’s also a good food haunt. The Food Centre at the town centre draws hungry diners from across the island. The many fast food joints you can find there also remind me of the times I held project meetings with friends after school, just hanged out, or occasionally celebrated family birthdays.
There’s so much to love in Bukit Merah, I feel, and shops for every need –
Many of us would have been living in HDB flats all our lives. So it’s no surprise that when we’re asked about our childhood, our memories are often intertwined with the places we grew up in.
Mine is no different.
Presenting you my favourite estate – Bukit Merah! Walking through the area recently, images from my past sprang up, and I began to recall the many reasons why I’d grown to love this corner of Singapore.
Bukit Merah, which means “red hill” in Malay, is one of this country’s older public housing estates. It got its name from the large hill it once was, and from the orange-red lateritic soil found in the area. Come join me for a quick tour round my Bukit Merah.
Here we are at the hub of commuting activity, with hordes of thronging people and large buses with their roaring engines. I remember coming here almost every day en route to school and back. I think it’s at least 30 years old by now and but well refurbished, and I can recall how the Bukit Merah bus interchange was frequently abuzz in the early mornings with students looking sleepy-eyed, leaning against the railings with their huge backpacks. A long queue always meant a good thing – that you hadn’t missed the bus!
There once was a small bakery that had a nice ring to its name… probably one of the first bakeries that opened in the town centre. My trips to Bukit Merah were never complete without buying something there. Thinking about it now… I can almost taste their flaky curry puffs, Hawaiian pizza buns, and the delicious assortment of cakes. Remember the large photo albums at neighbourhood bakeries, filled with photos of the old school cakes on offer with… well… old school decorations? I loved to flip through those yummy albums when I was younger.
The bakery has since been replaced, though. But the memories of yesterday’s cakes have been captured in our own family photos.
Another place that I enjoy going to is the Bukit Merah Public Library, which still stands proudly at the same location after all these years. Having a library so conveniently located within our estate meant that we could borrow lots of books anytime! Yup, my siblings and I used to borrow the maximum number of items possible during each visit. I still make trips to the library, although not as often as I used to.
The food choices are aplenty, from hawker fare to specialty restaurants. We used to head to the town centre for meals regularly as there were no major shopping malls in the vicinity then.
Walking around the town centre, you can also find beautiful mosaic tiles, which add colour and a touch of a ‘vintage feel’ to the area…
Although Bukit Merah town centre has gone through some refurbishments over the years, I’m glad that much of the look and feel, like the mosaic tiles, has been retained, and a large part of my childhood can still be found there, holding fond memories for those of us who used to live there.
So what’s your favourite town?
Every HDB town has its own interesting features, with many residents’ personal experiences attached to it. If you have great memories of living in HDB towns too, why not share them with us at firstname.lastname@example.org or drop us a note on Facebook.