Name: Ivy Woo
Occupation: Full-time director at Food News Public Relations; lifelong food lover!
What street do you live on?
Bukit Batok East Avenue 4.
If it’s in another language, what does it mean?
In Malay, bukit means hill and batok means cough, so I guess it literally means Cough Hill!
Exact words you tell a taxi driver to get home?
Hello Uncle, Bukit Batok East Avenue 4, please!
What’s the name of your neighbourhood?
Closest MRT station?
Bukit Batok MRT.
How long have you lived here?
My parents first moved here when I was eight years old. I still love it because it brings back precious memories of time spent with family and friends.
When you walk out of your place, the first thing you see is:
Bukit Batok Nature Reserve.
The closest store to your front door is:
Your street would make the perfect backdrop for a remake of:
Young and Dangerous – it’s a movie set in Hong Kong.
Your neighbours are great, but you wouldn’t mind a little less:
Greenery. Plants are nice, of course, but my neighbours have gone overboard. There are ferns and ponds – even waterfalls! It’s like they built their own little rainforest along the HDB corridor – some days you can barely walk through.
The unofficial uniform of your street is:
Shorts, T-shirts and flip-flops – we’re in the heartlands.
If a celebrity moves in next door, it will most likely be:
A C-grade actor or actress that no one knows!
When you’re in need of a dose of culture, you:
Visit the Community Centre. There are community centres in many of the neighbourhoods across the island, and our centre offers karaoke, cultural dancing classes and other activities. They even have dance classes for the blind. It is a great way for the neighbourhood to come together.
If you’re missing home, you:
A mandatory stop for out-of-town guests is:
Dinner at my favourite claypot rice store.
You’d swap houses in a second with:
My neighbour in the next block. Before we moved to our current flat, my family lived there. I miss it.
A common myth about your neighbourhood is:
Bukit Batok is like living in Johor Bahru. In other words, it’s too far away.
If you’re ever woken up at night, it’s almost always due to:
Someone’s car alarm going bonkers.
A massive late-night rager on your street is likely to be:
At the coffee shop one block down the road. People celebrate birthdays, weddings and anniversaries there. Just before the shop closes they stock up on Tiger beer, so they can party through the night. The crowd is made up of young people as well as older couples – everyone knows everyone, and they have a great time.
Your hands-down favourite neighbourhood joints are:
I really like the West Mall – there is really no other choice as this is the only mall in the neighbourhood! The Straits Wine Shop at Rail Mall is the closest place for a good bottle of well-priced wine. The Cold Storage at King Albert Park is open 24 hours a day, and New Garo Japanese Restaurant on Chun Tin Road has very good and very reasonably priced Japanese food.
You won’t find better local food than at:
Any of the places in Bukit Batok! There are so many coffee shops within walking distance, all serving delicious local fare.
The strangest thing you’ve ever seen on your street is:
Ronald McDonald standing on the side of the road. Some kid must have moved Ronald from his normal spot.
We love a good bargain. The best deals in your neighbourhood are:
At the wet market, of course.
The guiltiest pleasure in your area is:
Food! From Chinese and Indian to Malay and Vietnamese, there are so many types of dishes right at my doorstep.
One thing you’d never change is:
The people. Some of the provision shop owners here have known my family since we moved in 28 years ago.
But one thing you wouldn’t mind seeing go is:
Really nothing. It’s just a humble HDB neighbourhood, and I love it here.
The city gives you $5 million to soup up your street. You use it to:
Help the aged in the neighbourhood. I see them walking around, collecting drink cans and cardboard boxes – they need to be better taken care of.