Laid back yet bustling: Charm and character of Serangoon Gardens captured in book by residents

2 weeks ago 49

SINGAPORE – It was during the Covid-19 pandemic when retired principal Mabel Wee spent more time in her neighbourhood in Serangoon Gardens, and fell in love with it again.

“I went around walking, street by street, and rediscovered the beauty of this estate and the uniqueness of every home here,” said the 74-year-old former principal of Geylang Methodist School (Primary), who has lived in her single-storey semi-detached home with her family for 70 years.

In 2020, she decided to put together a book on Serangoon Gardens in celebration of its 70th anniversary in 2024.

“This is probably the last thing I could do for my community,” said Ms Wee, who invested $40,000 of her savings in the book project.

She had no problem getting help from her neighbours to fulfil her colossal dream. Eight volunteers who share her passion for their neighbourhood stepped forward.

Ms Ngiam May Ling, a 51-year-old compliance professional, said: “The pandemic rekindled our love for our estate. We realised we did not need to go out of Serangoon Gardens for all that we need.”

She added: “It has the laid-back feel of an English village, and the French and Australian communities here make it more cosmopolitan.”

Mr Chan Kwong Lok, a 69-year-old retired university administrator, said: “It’s quiet and peaceful, and yet it only takes five to 10 minutes to find the bustle, like the Chomp Chomp Food Centre, market and other amenities.”

It took them three years to do research, conduct interviews and complete the writing.

On Feb 17, the book – Vim, Vigour & Vitality: Spirited Voices of Serangoon Garden Estate – will be launched at Serangoon Gardens Country Club. The 160-page book in English documents the voices of existing and former residents and shop owners, as well as the developments t...

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