By: Michael Bernabe
Looking to move to a new neighbourhood? Nothing would be better than to hear from the residents themselves. We speak to Hanna Ruchs, about the ins and outs of living in Pasir Panjang.
Name: Hanna Ruchs
Occupation: Full-time toddler-tamer
Click through the gallery above for all the snaps from around Pasir Panjang – plus see more neighbourhood guides here…
What street do you live on?
Pasir Panjang Hill.
What does that mean?
According to Wikipedia, the Malay words pasir panjang literally mean “long sand”, a reference to the long, sandy beach that stretched along the coast. Pasir Panjang is known as hong heng sua in Hokkien, meaning “Hong Heng’s plantation”.
Exact words you tell a taxi driver to get home?
“Pasir Panjang Hill, please. Turn right at the Esso, then go all the way to the very top.”
What’s the name of your neighbourhood?
Technically, I think we fall into the Queenstown neighbourhood.
Closest MRT station?
We are right between Pasir Panjang and Haw Par Villa; it’s a 15-minute walk either way.
How long have you lived here?
Close to three years.
It’s an easy commute to and from work for my husband. Our children were young when we moved here, so school wasn’t a determining factor. They now go to a great local preschool at the bottom of the hill.
When you walk out of your place, the first thing you see is:
The playground next door. We often wait to see children playing there in the evening, and then sneak on in.
The closest store to your front door is:
Esso, at the bottom of the hill. Perfect for milk and bread runs.
Your neighbours are great, but you wouldn’t mind a little less:
Of nothing! We’re pretty lucky. Our neighbours are great! I think they would be saying a little less noise from us would be great!
The unofficial uniform of your street is:
In the morning, suits; in the evening, workout clothes. You often see people running to the top of the hill, checking their watches, then running back down.
If a celebrity moved in next door, it would most likely be:
Clark Kent. He would fit right in in his work suit in the morning, and could happily fly up the hill at the end of the day.
When you’re in need of a dose of culture, you:
Go shopping at Sheng Siong, have lunch at West Coast Hawker Centre and then play in an HDB playground.
If you’re missing home, you:
Head to Hort Park. There is a nice little spot that has some gum trees, and enough space to kick a footy and for the kids to run around. If you’re lucky, there’s sometimes a sprinkler ticking away in the background. And it’s right next to a cold-water bubbler!
A mandatory stop for out-of-town guests is:
If they are into walking, I love doing the Southern Ridges Walk with them. It runs between Mount Faber and Kent Ridge and is mostly pram-friendly. If they have little ones, it’s a tough decision between Palawan beach on Sentosa and the Marina Barrage. So long as it involves a bit of water-play, everyone is happy!
You’d swap houses in a second with:
Number 85! It’s a huge, free-standing house with a yard that could happily accommodate a dog. I would lock the gates and let the kids run wild.
A peculiarity of your neighbourhood is:
That it’s referred to as part of the West Coast. I still think of us as being more south.
If you’re ever woken up at night, it’s almost always due to:
My own children. We do get the odd early bird that likes to wake us, or sometimes a ship sounding its horn. It’s pretty quiet here.
Your hands-down favourite neighbourhood joints are:
Hoopla at Infinite Studios on Media Circle – it’s top of the list at the moment. My husband loves the coffee, and they have T2 tea, so I’m happy too. Jimmy Monkeys at One North is always good for a late afternoon coffee. It has a good space outside that the kids can scoot around, and the chocolate lava cake is to die for. The Pasir Panjang Hawker Centre is good for an easy, fast dinner, and I don’t need to sweep the spilt rice off the floor. Lastly, the kids’ favourite weekend breakfast is at McDonald’s at West Coast Park, although it’s as much for the great playground as it is for the food.
You won’t find better local food than at:
99 Kitchen at 22 South Buona Vista – always an easy option. It has a huge Chinese menu and the kids love the iced Milo.
The strangest thing you’ve ever seen on your street is:
A monkey eating a pineapple on our neighbour’s balcony! Later in the week we had to help chase the little fella out of their apartment. We haven’t seen one in a while now.
We love a good bargain. The best deals in your neighbourhood are:
The Thai Hawker (Tom Yum Goong, number 42) at Pasir Panjang Hawker Centre. Can’t go past the pandan chicken, green curry and tom yum soup.
The guiltiest pleasure in your area is:
A trip over to Sentosa for a mid-week lamb kebab from Flame with an icy margarita at the Sand Bar, Siloso Beach, while the kids play in the sand.
One thing you’d never change is:
Looking out of the lounge window at a nice shady tree. It helps me feel a little less like I live in a concrete jungle.
But one thing you wouldn’t mind seeing go is:
Not so much “go” – more like, “hurry up”. One of the reasons we moved here was of the Pasir Panjang village at the bottom of the Hill. It shut down for renovations a week after we moved in, and we are waiting patiently for them to finish.
The city gives you $5 million to soup up your street. You use it to:
Put in a decent footpath that doesn’t require swapping from one side of the road to the other, and a chairlift, so on the days I don’t want to use the footpath I can admire it from above. And how about a sneaky shortcut to Haw Par Villa MRT station?
Why should your neighbourhood be featured in a guidebook?
Because it’s a friendly place to live. I do love walking up the hill and being able to stop and pat the dogs and say hello to everyone who walks past. It has a nice feeling of community.
A tip for anyone who lives nearby?
Get a Faber Licence at $120 for an annual family pass with unlimited access to Sentosa via cable cars, monorail and car. Great value.