A DISAPPEARING NEIGHBOURHOOD

FAITH WONG

OLD WOODLANDS ROAD

A 4-room flat at Old Woodlands Road which is near the Causeway. In 2016 the area is expected to make way for the construction of a high-speed rail linking Singapore and Malaysia.

OLD WOODLANDS ROAD

I live just opposite the Causeway, one floor above my grandparents. I’ve always wished I could build a stairway leading directly up to my grandparents’ house because it was the place I grew up in. I’m the first grandchild and I spent most of my time with them. We had a lot of fun and my grandma would always be busy cooking for me. Their place smells different too – it’s my childhood scent, there is no other way for me to describe it.

"What I see now are empty stores and drawn-down shutters."

On togetherness

When I think of home, I think of a big family, with my grandparents, aunties and uncles gathering. I love Chinese New Year where everyone gets together to celebrate, with some two dozen people coming together for steamboat, taking turns to sit at the table. I enjoy talking to people so I'm usually the first to be seated and the last to leave.

On the old McDonald's

Over the years, many shops have closed down and those around are barely surviving. What I see now are empty stores and drawn-down shutters. There used to be a pet shop, a grooming center, a hawker centre that sold nasi lemak, carrot cake and really cheap fruit juice. Now they are all gone. I miss the old McDonald's the most. I think it was one of the largest in Singapore. It had a party room, a playroom, a huge garden and a slope with all the McDonald's characters at the top. There was even a merry-go-round as well. The McDonald's outlet is still around, but only a shadow of its former self.

A place of character

My friends have commented that my neighbourhood feels old, but I've never felt that way. True, there are many old people who have lived here for most of their lives, like my grandparents. But this place has character. Growing up here, there are many things that I feel very attached to. But today, many of them are no longer around.