BUILDING MY OASIS

abdul aziz bin ahmad

BOON LAY DRIVE

A spacious five-room flat in Boon Lay Drive built by Jurong Town Corporation in the early seventies. Mr Abdul Aziz bin Ahmad, 68, who worked in the area, lived there with his wife and children for 15 years before moving to Hougang to be closer to their relatives.

WORK AND HOME

My first home was in a five-room flat in Boon Lay Drive built by Jurong Town Corporation (JTC). It was the first home I bought with my wife in 1976 and it only cost about $35,000 at that time. Everything was done at Jurong Town Hall Road, where the JTC main office was. You registered, collected your keys and did everything there. JTC covered Boon Lay, Tehban and Pandan Gardens and Taman Jurong I think.

I was working in Jurong with Mobil Oil Refinery, now called ExxonMobil. In those days, there was no MRT, bus services or highways, so we chose to live in the area. I could get to my work place in less than 30 minutes and had the privilege of coming home to have lunch with my wife. All the while, parking was free. Those days were different!

Aziz with his wife and daughter at home.
Aziz's home was always decorated in bright colours.

"Once you reach home, it's like, 'Ahhhh, it's so good to be home!'"

TWO-DOOR FLAT

JTC was good at building factories, but not flats. The workmanship could have been better, but we liked the place because you cannot get flats of that size anymore. Each flat was big with two doors, so if you wanted to avoid anyone, you could run from the back. Or if you came home from the market with fresh food, you could enter the house from the kitchen. Lifts stopped on every floor and there were two staircases.

I lived there for about a decade until 1987. Our neighbours were like family, so when we moved, it was quite sad. Even now, when we receive invitations to Malay weddings from friends that we knew from then, we try to visit them and it can get emotional.

ULU JURONG

Jurong was an ulu (remote) place to work and live in. At that time, there were no places of entertainment. There was only Jurong Lake and we had to take pirate taxis to the market. West Coast Park was the nearest beach with no food court and no shaded area, so if it rained, we had to run. On weekends, we had to go all the way down to Orchard Road, which was the closest place with shopping malls then.

So good to be home

Once you are married, home is always on your mind. You are always in a hurry to finish work and rush back home.

Home is an oasis, where you relax and forget about your stress and work. And when tomorrow comes, you start all over again. Sometimes, I would invite my colleagues home for lunch. My family enjoys relaxing at home with home-cooked food and forgeting everything happening outside. The feeling when I reach home... it's just good to be home!

Nowadays, things are so convenient and everything is right at your doorsteps. What more can you ask for? But as usual, the cost of living is high.