Kehinde Fadipe, a British Nigerian, is a lady of many talents. Not only is she a writer, actress and teacher she is also the author of her debut novel In Such Tremendous Heat . She moved into her Jalan Jurong Kechil condo three months ago and reckons it’s the perfect location for her family. Her children’s school is nearby, and so are her family’s favourite eating places, the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve and they are well connected to the rest of the island by the Beauty World MRT line and excellent bus routes.
What’s the name of your street? Jalan Jurong Kechil.
If it’s in another language, what does it mean? In Malay, jalan means “street”, jurong means “shark” and kechil means “little”, so perhaps “Little Shark Street”?
Closest MRT station? Beauty World MRT (blue Downtown Line).
How long have you lived here? Three months. I’m preparing to relocate back to the UK and needed to downsize somewhere close to my children’s school, Dulwich College. This Jalan Jurong Kechil condo is in the perfect location, a 15-minute bus ride away.
Bukit Timah Nature Reserve – a short history
Singapore’s oldest nature reserve spans more than 1,000 acres in the central west of Singapore and is home to a wide range of animals and plant species. An early recorded visit to the top of Bukit Timah Hill dates to 1827, by Councillor John Prince, who hiked for five hours through swamp and vegetation to get there. The summit was later cleared and a small shelter built. By the mid 1840s, there was a road up to the top, with a picnic area and panoramic views.
Due to deforestation, by the 1880s Singapore had less than ten percent of its original forest cover remaining; yet Bukit Timah was still considered “a patch of very good virgin forest”. In 1908, the reserve came under protection of a new Forest Ordinance; these protections were enhanced in the 1950s, and more formerly in recent times.
Bukit Timah Nature Reserve today covers approximately 400 acres – that’s double the size that it was from the 1950s to the 1990s.
When you walk out of your Jalan Jurong Kechil condo, what’s the first thing you see? Depending on which exit I take, a row of shops and a bus stop or some trees and houses.
What’s the closest store to your front door? There’s a newly opened Korean supermarket downstairs.
If your street was chosen for a remake of a film, which would it be? Rear Window because the street is so quiet and the apartments in my condo face into each other and across a courtyard.
We’re sure your neighbours are great, but is there anything you wouldn’t mind a little less of? There’s a kid who stands below our window and yells my children’s names when he wants to play. I’d quite like him to just ring our doorbell. I’ve told him our unit number many times!
What’s the unofficial uniform of your street? An umbrella. It’s a long street and you don’t want to get caught in the rain.
What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever seen on your street? Someone has a giant, purple horse on their condo balcony at the top of the road. Apart from that, a family of monkeys walking along the walls – but we’re probably stranger to them than vice versa
What are your three favourite places to eat or drink in the neighbourhood? I’m still discovering places to eat here but, so far, I love Ya Hua Bak Kut Teh (100 Jalan Jurong Kechil) for its delicious pork ribs and excellent customer service. My kids love John’s Pizzeria & Bakery on Lorong Kilat, a slip road hidden behind Jalan Jurong Kechil, which I thought was a figment of other people’s imagination because it was so hard to find! There are lots of great cafés; my favourite so far is the Baker & Cook in Eng Kong Park for the hazelnut latte and the quiet neighbourhood that surrounds it.
What are the best places to shop at in the neighbourhood? I like Beauty World Centre for its stationery store, home supplies store and bakery. It’s very convenient as it’s next to the Beauty World MRT (Exit A).
What are some fun or interesting things to do in the neighbourhood? I love running in the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve where there are roosters roaming about and a stunning quarry.
What’s one thing you’d never change? The excellent bus routes that take you everywhere.
How about one thing you would change? A library in the neighbourhood would be great.
If the city gave you a million dollars to soup up your street, how would you use it? I’d give it to the Bukit Timah Community Club and let them decide!
Beyond the ‘Hood
What are your favourite Singapore spots for taking out-oftown guests? Newton Food Centre (which has just reopened after renovations), PS.Cafe at Palais Renaissance, the food court at the top of 311 Somerset and The Butcher’s Wife in Tiong Bahru (if the guest can’t eat gluten).
When you’re in need of a dose of culture, where do you go? The Esplanade Theatre or The Projector cinema.
If you’re missing home, what do you do? I’d take my kids to the Marks and Spencer in Wheelock Place to buy Percy Pigs (for me) and eat carrot cake in the café (for them)!
Do you love your neighbourhood?
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This article first appeared in the April 2023 edition of Expat Living. You can purchase the latest issue or subscribe, so you never miss a copy!
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