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Life in Serangoon: Guide to living, eating and shopping in Dunsfold Drive, Singapore

Name: Bronwyn Darnoc
From: Citizen of the World; I’m lucky to have lived on three continents
Occupation:  Senior designer for Realys, a commercial design and build firm, and creator of Simply for Flying, a flight logbook for kids


What street do you live on?
Dunsfold Drive.

What does it mean?
In Celtic, dun means “hill” (i.e., down) and fold means “enclosure”.

Exact words you tell a taxi driver to get home?
CTE Exit 10 to Braddell Road, turn right and then first left – a very quick first left!

What’s the name of your neighbourhood?
Braddell Heights.

Closest MRT station?
Lorong Chuan.

How long have you lived here?
18 months.

Why here?
It’s a hop, step and jump to school, and that was the priority. We elected not to have a car, and to make the day shorter for the kids, less travel was important.

When you walk out of your place, the first thing you see is: 

Depending which exit you choose, either of two views; the Australian International School (AIS) or a large freestanding house with an interesting Miami-style pink colour palette.

The closest store to your front door is:
The minimart at a nearby condo; Serangoon’s NEX shopping mall is one MRT stop away.

Your neighbours are great, but you wouldn’t mind a little less: 
Anti-social dog behaviour at unfortunate times.

The unofficial uniform of your street is:
Undoubtedly the AIS uniform, followed by casual sportswear.

If a celebrity moves in next door, it will most likely be: 
An AFL (Australian Rules Football) player; he would discover so many fans living nearby!

When you’re in need of a dose of culture, you: 
Pop over to AIS for some Aussie culture, or down to NEX for some local culture.

If you’re missing home, you: 
Get active and involved with the plethora of country associations, or international school community activities.

A mandatory stop for out-of-town guests is:
A stroll through Bishan Park on a Saturday morning to see groups doing tai chi, inline skating, fish-feeding and taking dog etiquette classes.

You’d swap houses in a second with:
My immediate neighbours, and I’d have all five of their cars (Bentley, Lamborghini, Range Rover, BMW, Jaguar), and their driver too.

A common myth about your neighbourhood is:
Buying a freestanding house is good value for money.

If you’re ever woken up at night, it’s almost always due to:
One of three things: the buzz of all-night traffic in a densely populated city, the hum of the unrelenting air-conditioner, or the silent but deadly mosquito that snuck in during the day. 

A massive late-night rager on your street is likely to be: 
An extended Saturday afternoon barbecue.


Your hands-down favourite neighbourhood joints are:
Plonk, because my husband and I try to have at least one “date night” each fortnight and we don’t want to wander too far after putting the kids to bed; our favourite dish is the mixed mushroom bruschetta and lemon crème fraiche. Grub in Bishan Park does great burgers with no MSG; we love heading there – the kids scooter or cycle the 5km while we run there, so our tummies are ready for some yummy food. The pizzas at La Pizzaiola have a super-thin crust; it’s a favourite spot for families early on Sunday evenings. La Petite Boutique has great baguettes and croissants, and they deliver; I also love their hams and cheeses – I recently bought an interesting caramel gouda from them. The clean and pleasant Z-Spa at Serangoon Gardens is good for relaxation and therapeutic massages.

The strangest thing you’ve ever seen in your neighbourhood is:
A wild otter swimming and eating fish in the local storm-water drain; it was something unexpected but environmentally pleasing to see during an early morning run!

We love a good bargain. The best deals in your neighbourhood are:
To be found under the HDB block on Serangoon Avenue 3.

One thing you’d never change is:
Having a pool!

But one thing you wouldn’t mind seeing go is: 
Driveway gates that open outwards on to the street. I’ve had a few close hit-and-misses while out on a run, or out and about with the kids.

The city gives you $5 million to soup up your street. You use it to:
Discreetly place communal recycling facilities in our street. I’d also update the local exercise grounds to provide a playground for young kids with an adjoining “eat, drink and shop” store!


This story first appeared in Expat Living’s July 2015 issue.