American expats Asif and Sharmeen Chowdhury love the greenery and the peace of their quiet neighbourhood. If you are moving to Singapore or looking for a new place to live, our neighbourhood guides are a great way to get insights on living in Singapore. Here Asif, who works in corporate management, and homemaker Sharmeen, spill the beans on the ins and outs of Rasok Drive in Bukit Villa.
What’s the name of the street where you live? Rasok Drive.
What does Rasok mean? Rasok means “haunted” in Malay, so I guess we live on a haunted street! But we’ve been lucky so far and haven’t observed or experienced any paranormal activities.
Exact words you tell a taxi driver to get home? Few taxi drivers know our neighbourhood. We typically tell them that our house is close to the new Turf Club. This surprises them and they conclude that we must be mistaken. So, we literally become their GPS!
What’s the name of your neighbourhood? Bukit Villa.
Closest MRT station? Kranji MRT. While it’s the closest, it’s still about a 20-minute walk.
How long have you lived here? Three and a half years.
Why here? We lived in the suburbs of Boston where we often saw deer, turkeys and rabbits in our backyard, so this was one of the few places that gave us the sense of being in the suburbs, surrounded by greenery and in a quiet neighbourhood. It’s also close to our kids’ school, the Singapore American School.
When you walk out of your place, the first thing you see is: Lush green trees and relatively empty streets that head out onto the main street from Bukit Villa.
The closest store to your front door is: A Shell gas station that seems to be closed most of the time!
Your street would make the perfect backdrop for a remake of: ET, especially when you see all the little kids playing and biking in the neighbourhood in the late afternoon.
Your neighbours are great, but you wouldn’t mind a little less: Fewer cars parked along the street.
The unofficial uniform of your street is: Shorts and T-shirts, unless there’s a neighbourhood party!
When you’re in need of a dose of culture, you: Go to see a movie at Cathay at Causeway Point. We always buy an extra seat to give the flavour of a less-crowded movie theatre that is typical back home.
If you’re missing home, you: Turn up the air-conditioning, get under blankets and watch Netflix or movies from Amazon with hot chocolate.
A mandatory stop for out-of-town guests is: Woodlands Waterfront Park, which is less than 10 minutes away. Besides seeing wild monkeys (which the kids love), you can see right into Malaysia across the causeway. There’s also a great local seafood place at the end of the pier. Our out-of-town guests get a kick seeing Malaysia from so close! It’s also nice to see the lights of Johor Bahru city at night.
A common myth about your neighbourhood is: It’s in the middle of nowhere! The island is small, so you’re never too far from anywhere. But it’s kind of in the middle of nowhere for Singapore standards and that’s why we like the place.
A massive late-night rager on your street is likely to be: My neighbour in his GTO or Maserati.
Your hands-down favourite neighbourhood joints are: At Causeway Point Shopping Centre, there’s restaurants, great local food, plus Starbucks for our favourite cappuccino. You can catch a movie, then do your groceries before heading home.
You won’t find better local food than at: Rasa Istimewa Waterfront Restaurant for local seafood at Woodlands Waterfront Park and the hawker centre on the fourth floor of Causeway Point Shopping Centre.
The strangest thing you’ve ever seen on your street is: My neighbour’s five cars. I don’t know anyone else who owns that many cars in Singapore!
We love a good bargain.The best deals in your neighbourhood are: Going to Johor Bahru in Malaysia to eat, drink and enjoy a massage. Without traffic, it’s only a 10-minute drive.
The guiltiest pleasure in your area is: Some of the parties we have. The last one was the Christmas party but the best one had to be Halloween.
One thing you’d never change is: The quietness of the neighbourhood.
But one thing you wouldn’t mind seeing go is: The construction that has been going on for over a year.
The city gives you $5 million to soup up your street. You use it to: Create a 10km hiking and bike path.
Other cool places around your neighbourhood which you would recommend for others to visit: Kranji War Memorial is five minutes from our neighbourhood.
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