We chat to Indian expat Geeta Colaco, an Enquiry Manager / Business Development Manager at the Australian International School, to get the scoop on living in Newton-Novena, a stone’s throw from Orchard.
What street do you live on?
If it’s in another language, what does it mean?
I would love to know that myself! [We’re not entirely sure either, though it seems to be Scottish in origin, and the dun- prefix means “fortification” – Ed]
Exact words you tell a taxi driver to get home?
“Near Newton Circus”, although the utter absence of a circus makes me wonder why I say that.
What’s the name of your neighbourhood?
Closest MRT station?
Newton is right opposite.
How long have you lived here?
Two years and a bit.
It’s the most convenient spot on the planet. A stone’s throw from Orchard, and a few more stones thrown can get you to Little India. You don’t need a car, it’s within walking distance from two MRTs and has brilliant bus connections. Plus, we have preschool heaven on Newton Road.
When you walk out of your place, the first thing you see is:
The MRT. So it’s not the right location if you’re looking for, say, the ocean.
The closest store to your front door is:
Cheers at the petrol station, and a Cold Storage supermarket.
Your street would make the perfect backdrop for a remake of:
Your neighbours are great, but you wouldn’t mind a little less:
Silence. I wouldn’t recognise my next-door neighbours if they rang my front door bell, although my daughter probably haunts their dreams. That said, the rest of my condo is dotted with the loveliest children.
The unofficial uniform of your street is:
Office chic: shirts, ties, scarves, smart heels, smartphones. On weekdays everyone looks purposeful.
If a celebrity moves in next door, it will most likely be:
Brad Pitt, I hope! There are enough preschools to choose from, a good ethnic mix, and a variety of food choices to suit his hybrid family.
When you’re in need of a dose of culture, you:
Walk across to Newton Food Centre.
If you’re missing home, you:
Head off to Mustafa Centre. I also then realise why I don’t miss home that much.
A mandatory stop for out-of-town guests is:
Cheap manicures at Far East Plaza, ION Sky (the 360-degree viewing gallery on the 56th floor of ION Orchard), Newton Food Centre and Little India.
You’d swap houses in a second with:
Anyone from the swanky new condo named Trilight – then I would have the opportunity to invite Brad Pitt over.
A common myth about your neighbourhood is:
It lacks atmosphere. It doesn’t – it just needs a bit more creativity to link yourself to it.
If you’re ever woken up at night, it’s almost always due to:
Wind chimes going mad.
A massive late-night rager on your street is likely to be:
Because they got the wrong street!
Your hands-down favourite neighbourhood joints are:
You won’t find better local food than at:
Newton Food Centre. But do try Little India for the Indian food.
The strangest thing you’ve ever seen on your street is:
Not much, really – but then I come from a nation of 1.3 billion, so I’ve seen more than my share of strange.
We love a good bargain. The best deals in your neighbourhood are:
Inexpensive tailoring and alterations, manicures, bag- and shoe-fixing at Far East Plaza; the Hip Kids Club at Forum ($15 for the whole year!), ION Sky (admission is free) and a whole bunch of kids’ shows at United Square.
The guiltiest pleasure in your area is:
Häagen-Dazs salted caramel ice cream at the kiosk on Orchard Road.
One thing you’d never change is:
The convenience and connectivity; if you’re choosing to be car-less, it’s unbeatable.
But one thing you wouldn’t mind seeing go is:
Construction of the new MRT line (though it’s not too long before that’ll be finished).
The city gives you $5 million to soup up your street. You use it to:
Feed another whole nation! I can’t imagine needing it to do anything to Singapore.
Why should your neighbourhood be featured in a guidebook?
It blends the posh with the hole-in-the-wall, it’s in the backyard of Orchard Road, and it has me!
This article was first featured in the November 2015 issue of the magazine.