Althea Parker, from the Bronx in New York, made the decision to move her family out of their condo after a massive rent increase to a spacious landed property in Singapore on Medway Drive. She shares with us why the cosy residential feel of the Serangoon Gardens estate and property has won her over.
What’s the name of your street? Medway Drive; it’s in Serangoon Garden Estate.
What’s a common myth or misconception about your neighbourhood? That Serangoon Gardens is far away and takes forever to get to. That’s only partially true, when you’re stuck in traffic on the CTE (and you have to use the bathroom!).
Exact words you tell a taxi driver to get home to your landed property in Singapore? “Serangoon Garden, please.”
Closest MRT station? Serangoon MRT (purple North East line and yellow Circle line).
How long have you lived in the Serangoon Gardens Estate? Just over one year. An astronomical rent increase forced us out of our condo and we wanted to move back into a landed property in Singapore since condos that are large enough to house a family of six plus a dog are rare.
When you walk out of your Serangoon Gardens property, what’s the first thing you see? A jackfruit tree.
What’s the closest store (of any type) to the front door of your landed property in Singapore? It’s a toss-up between Baker & Cook and Anytime Fitness.
If Medway Drive was chosen for a remake of a film, which would it be? There are so many pets (and each with their own distinct personalities) along my street I would say The Secret Lives of Pets.
We’re sure your neighbours are great, but is there anything you wouldn’t mind a little less of? Honestly, we have no complaints about our neighbours. They are great. There is an auntie who lives across the street of my Serangoon Gardens property and takes such admirable pride in her neighbourhood. She sweeps every single morning unless there is rain. She not only sweeps up her yard, but pretty much everyone’s yard in a one-to-two-house radius, plus the leaves in the middle of the street.
What’s the unofficial uniform of your street? There is an abundance of (dog) walkers and runners in the area so I would have to say walking and running attire.
What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever seen on your street? I never knew that Singapore had such a robust bat population until I moved here. The swooping bats are something to get used to!
What are your three favourite places to eat or drink in the Serangoon Gardens estate? Pow Sing Kitchen; the chicken rice is fantastic – the chicken is always tender and the rice very flavourful. Hajime, located in myVillage, is definitely another favourite, especially for my youngest son who is a huge ramen fan. Koi is our favourite bubble tea spot. We love that you can modify the sugar content and choose from a solid selection of flavours.
What are the best places to shop at in the neighbourhood? It’s a toss-up between the town centre and Nex shopping mall. The shops in the centre have the cosy and quaint small-town feel. There is a plethora of shops to choose from such as hardware stores, coffee shops, pharmacies, massage/reflexology, pet grooming services, cafés, you name it. Nex has the larger chain brands like H&M, Uniqlo, Daiso, Popular and a movie theatre. So, you kind of get the best of both worlds living in the Garden Estate area.
What are some fun or interesting things to do in the neighbourhood? If you’re into fitness, there are more fitness activities to choose from than you would think given how residential the area feels. Personally, I love taking walks because the rolling hills in my part of the Serangoon Gardens estate neighbourhood are fabulous and not something you come across often in Singapore.
What’s one thing you’d never change? The cosy residential feel.
How about one thing you would change? The width of some of the side streets but especially for Medway Drive in particular. With streetside parking permitted, the two-way street essentially becomes a one-way street. While most people have road etiquette, it is frustrating trying to drive down the street during high peak times of the day.
If the city gave you a million dollars to soup up your street, how would you use it? Widen the roads!
Beyond the ‘Hood
What are your favourite Singapore spots for taking out-of-town guests? Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, Sabai Fine Thai on the Bay at Customs House, the Singapore Night Safari and any place where you can get good reflexology.
When you’re in need of a dose of culture, where do you go? Given that Singapore is such an eclectic community made up of various cultures, I honestly go to a local friend’s house for a simple meal or go out with them somewhere that I wouldn’t normally go to on my own.
If you’re missing home, what do you do? Being originally of Caribbean descent, I would have to say either cook some Caribbean food or put on some Soca or calypso music.
Fact File: About the Jackfruit
While it’s now found in many tropical regions around the world, the jackfruit tree may originally have come from India. Also known as the Nangka tree in Southeast Asia, it’s a tall tree with oval leaves, and its fruit can be huge, measuring from 30cm to – wait for it – one metre long (and weighing up to 40kg)! The skin of the fruit is a cream to golden yellow colour, and covered with small sharp conical warts (yum…); inside are multiple egg-shaped petals of flesh that can be eaten fresh, pickled or sun-dried as chips. More recently, it has been used as a meat substitute in many vegetarian and vegan dishes, thanks to its firm texture and versatile taste.
Do you love your neighbourhood?
Share it with others – just email us at email@example.com with “Street Talk” in the subject line. Include your name and street, and we’ll be in touch
This article first appeared in the August 2023 edition of Expat Living. You can purchase the latest issue or subscribe, so you never miss a copy!
To make the most of living in Singapore, read our latest City Guide here for free!