Stacey’s home is on a stretch of terrace houses in Waringin Park, a tight-knitted community in Chai Chee. She tells us more about her special affinity for the neighbourhood park.
My bedroom faces the park, so every day I wake up and see the green. I have a special affinity for the park. In some way, I almost feel like it is ours to protect.
There is a man who used to push his mum around in a wheelchair. Now he walks by himself. Whenever he sees the ambulance pull up to our house to tend to my ailing grandmother, he will come to ask how she is doing. It is common for those who live close to the park to come by and say hello.
The park has been renovated at least five or six times, I think. There was a large grassy slope where we used to roll and tumble all the way down, and of course instantly regretting it the next day when we were itching from the grass. There was the stone slide, and three swings made with wooden planks. When I was in primary school, my cousins would come with the neighbour’s kids and we would play on the swings and ride our bicycles around.
There used to be a slide which led to a sandpit. My cousins and I would draw the mouth of a shark in the sand. One cousin would become the captain of the ship and we would try our hardest not to slide down into the shark’s mouth. We were very dramatic and imaginative. When I grew older as a teenager, my friends and I would sit around the playground to joke.
In the mornings you get the dog walkers and a group of old ladies would congregate for their walks. There is also an old man who has been rehabilitating himself with a walker. In the afternoons, school kids and boys from the mosque nearby will come around and play here for a bit . In the evenings, you get couples riding motorbikes coming to sit in the park; some of them will even ride through the park up to the new gazebo area.
I cherish waking up to the view of trees in the morning. With the trees you get a lot of interesting wildlife – We’ve had lorikeets that fly in through the trees, yellow orioles and dwarf kingfishers.
Home is a sanctuary. There is a sense of security, where you can be yourself completely. The people who are at home will love you for who you are and similarly I will also be that same person for them.
I studied overseas in Melbourne for about three years. When I came home, my intention was to move out and get my own place because I had experienced the freedom of living alone. Home became a place just to sleep in.
But I’ve realised that when the world hits you, it is family who will stick by you no matter what. Caring for my grandmother has taught me that growing up doesn’t mean living on your own, but being responsible to step up as a caregiver in times of need.