Jayne Street from the UK, a lawyer and the owner and trainer at F45 in Bukit Timah tells us why she loves being at home in her Mount Sinai Avenue house. And this conveniently located property is near to the Dover MRT station and the Ulu Pandan connector which suits the active Street family very well!
Fact File: Mount Sinai
It’s not entirely clear why an area of Ulu Pandan ended up being named after the famous biblical mountain, though it’s definitely a comparatively hilly part of Singapore, so it makes a bit of sense. The streets in this neighbourhood were once named after different types of cloth and clothing worn by Malay women; these were all changed in 1968 and replaced with the many different variations of Mount Sinai (Road, Drive, Avenue, Rise, Crescent, Lane and Walk), with the exception of Jalan Kebaya, which has maintained its original name.
What’s the name of your street? Mount Sinai Avenue.
What’s a common myth or misconception about your neighbourhood? That it’s not very convenient (at least, I thought it was going to be when we first moved here!). The Dover Mrt station and the cycle paths through the green corridor and the Ulu Pandan connector makes getting around very easy!
Exact words you tell a taxi driver to get home? “Mount Sigh-nai Avenue”; “no, not Road”; “no, not Rise”; “no, not Lane”; “no, not Crescent”; “Avenue!” There are a lot of Mount Sinai “somethings”! People usually get the wrong one when coming to our house for the first time.
Closest MRT station? Dover MRT station (green East West Line).
How long have you lived at your Mount Sinai house? Three years, and we just extended our lease for another three years. It was a totally random decision. We used to live near Cluny Court, but our landlord was going to move into our place at some point in the next year. I wanted to stay in the area we were in but then I was having a look online (a little pre-emptively) and saw this Mount Sinai house we live in and fell in love with it before we even saw it! It has a lot of outside space which was a big draw.
I had never heard of Mount Sinai Avenue though, so I was worried it was going to be super inconvenient. Turns out it is really convenient for everything in our lives! Our kids are at UWC Dover, so we cycle them to and from school or they sometimes get the public bus, which gives them a bit of independence. My main concern was being a 12-minute walk to Dover MRT station, but we moved in January 2020 and then COVID-19 hit, so my husband was working from home for most of it. He now cycles to work on the days he is in the office. It’s also only a five-minute drive (or 15-minute cycle down the green corridor) to our F45 gym at King Albert Park (F45 Bukit Timah) so it’s super easy for everything we need.
When you walk out of your Mount Sinai Avenue house, what’s the first thing you see? Butterflies! Mount Sinai and Holland Grove is known as the “Butterfly Estate”; there are butterflies painted on the pavements and on the road signs. This also drew me to the house as a yellow butterfly is symbolic to our family. I sadly lost a baby six months into pregnancy; when a butterfly came flying around while we viewed the house, I knew it was meant to be as she was already there.
What’s the closest store to your front door? My daughter’s wonderful preschool is the closest thing to our front door – it’s super convenient! If your street was chosen for a remake of a film, which would it be? Anything set in the suburbs – it’s definitely proper suburban living!
We’re sure your neighbours are great, but is there anything you wouldn’t mind a little less of? Our landlady lives next door to us! But she actually leaves us very much to ourselves. The only time we get bothered by anyone from their house is when we get cake and goodies deliveries from them for our kids so it’s really not a problem!
What’s the unofficial uniform of your street? Workout gear. People are always walking to and from the Ulu Pandan park connector which is not far from our house – especially in the mornings, going to walk their dogs or for a run.
What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever seen on your street? Not actually on my street but on the Ulu Pandan connector we constantly have to stop our bikes to allow for huge monitor lizards crossing the path! It makes me laugh that my kids who were born here do not bat an eyelid when they see them, but I’m still amazed by them every time!
What are your three favourite places to eat or drink in the neighbourhood? Our verandah! This is our number one – we actually just love being in this Mount Sinai Avenue house. We have a lovely covered outside space that we use to barbecue and entertain or just dine as a family. The pandemic has obviously contributed to us getting out of the habit of going out but I think having a home we love so much has also meant that we go out way less than we used to. Deliveroo also benefits from this!
Although not actually in our ’hood, Jimmy Monkey is a perfect 3km walk or ride away, and we love going there at the weekend for some of the best coffee in Singapore! The Daily Scoop at Sunset Way is a sure-fire way to blackmail our kids to do a longer bike ride at weekends if there is a promise of ice cream on the way home!
What are the best places to shop at in the neighbourhood? Jelita is a stone’s throw away with the best stocked Cold Storage! Ghim Moh market is great for fruit and veggies, and Holland Village is very nearby too.
What are some fun, interesting things to do in the neighbourhood? We are an active family, so we love the easy access to the green corridor (about 1km) and also the ease of the Ulu Pandan park connector for cycling, walking and running. What’s one thing you’d never change? Living as close as we do to the kids’ school!
How about one thing you would change? The 3pm rain – it plays havoc with a school run done on a bike!
If the city gave you a million dollars to soup up your street, how would you use it? I’d actually probably just throw a massive street party – the whole neighbourhood is lovely and super friendly. Oh, and I’d probably use it to finish off any construction going on nearby!
Beyond the Hood
What are your favourite Singapore spots for taking out-of-town guests? Raffles Hotel – it’s always a classic! – plus the Botanic Gardens, and then probably The Fullerton Bay Hotel to take in the Marina Bay view.
When you’re in need of a dose of culture, where do you go? Our “culture” usually revolves around food so we’d probably head to a Din Tai Fung! If you’re missing home, what do you do? I’d probably try to remind myself of how lucky I am to be in Singapore, which would mean going on our favourite city bike ride. We rack our bikes and drive to Marina Barrage and from there take the cycle paths all the way to the Jimmy Monkey at Paya Lebar Quarter. There we’ll have some yummy food and a Little Creatures beer while the kids play in the playground, then cycle home as the sun sets. The magnificent view looking across the Flyer and City from the East Coast side of the Barrage makes me feel all the Singapore feels and reminds me how lucky I am to live here.
Do you love your neighbourhood?
Share it with others – just email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with “Street Talk” in the subject line. Include your name and street, and we’ll be in touch.
This article first appeared in the January 2023 edition of Expat Living. You can purchase the latest issue or subscribe, so you never miss a copy!
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