This month, we bring you stories behind familiar community spaces in the heartland. These spaces are unique to each estate yet embody the quintessential heartland living experience.
We had a chat with Bukit Panjang resident, Syahirah, of what home means to her beyond the four walls of her flat.
Hello Syahirah, share with us more about your estate!
I have lived in Bukit Panjang all my life and it has a quiet charm that I really love. The estate has everything I need, from yummy food at the kopitiam near Fajar Shopping Centre, to chill spaces where I can hang out with friends.
Once, my Silat Club friends and I had just bought food from a pasar malam stall, when it suddenly started pouring! Desperate for shelter, we dashed to the nearest void deck, and turned it into our little picnic spot. Drenched as we were from the rain, we enjoyed our feast thoroughly and till today, the experience remains one of my fondest memories.
Wow, what an experience. Tell us more about why you love living here.
Most of my extended family lives in the West, so Bukit Panjang feels like the natural place to call home. Being long-time residents here, we have grown so familiar with our neighbours. The void deck is where all the action takes place. It’s where we often bump into our neighbours – the friendly ‘uncles’ and ‘aunties’ in our block, including the uncle who lives on the third floor. He has green fingers and would always offer us curry leaves that he’s grown!
When my eldest cousin had her wedding at our void deck, all our neighours were invited to her wedding – including the neighbour who offers us curry leaves! It felt like a big, hearty gathering that brought everyone I’d known together.
Any other memories to share?
Growing up, I spent many hours playing catching, soccer, and badminton with my neighbours in my estate. These days, when I see kids gathering and playing at the void deck, it brings back many happy memories of my childhood. It’s amazing how despite the age gap and that we’re strangers, the shared experience brings us a little closer together.
When I was in primary school, I’d visit the provision store under my block, on the way home. The elderly shop owners were friendly but I was shy and would run away as soon as I’d bought my favourite candy!
A modern minimart has since taken over the space. While I do occasionally miss the old store , the minimart has a bigger shopfront and offers a wider variety of items, including a frozen food section! Now, my mum doesn’t worry about missing ingredients whenever she cooks—she just has to pop down to the minimart at the void deck. The minimart also accepts PayWave as a payment mode which adds to the convenience.