Yio Chu Kang Road
Toho garden, a condominium along Yio Chu Kang Road, was built in the 1980s and set the scene for Sophie's childhood.The development went en-bloc in 2007 and has since been demolished.
My first home was at Toho Gardens, which was demolished after it went en-bloc. I lived there from birth until I was 8 years old. I come from a family of musicians, so there was always music from somewhere in the house. My mum taught me the piano while my father played the flute.
In those days, I would always ride my tricycle up and down the length of the compound. After it rained, the kids would come down and play with the puddles. They would jump into the puddles with their boots. It was really, really fun! When the cars turned in, we would all scramble away. But the drivers were very patient and it felt a lot like family there. We looked out for one another.
A sound that always reminds me of my old home is my mum’s washing machine. Each time it finishes a wash it would sing for about a minute or so. When I was a kid, I loved to see my mum dance in the kitchen while putting the clothes in the dryer.
Because my apartment was away from the main road and the chaos of living in town, life felt very calm. My thoughts were clearer. And because there were so few units in the property, we knew who was who. That shaped the way I thought about family and that I could live life in a simple manner. When life is simple, everything becomes clearer. So these words ’family’ and ‘simple’ come to my mind whenever I think of home.
My current home is a space where I discover myself. My first home was more carefree in a way because as a child you don’t really think about what you’re going to do when you wake up – you just live life every day. But now because I’m older, I think and reflect. Life felt simpler then.