By: Michael Bernabe (photography)
Looking to move to a new neighbourhood? Nothing would be better than to hear from the residents themselves. We speak to Michelle Johnson about the ins and outs of living on Queen’s Road.
Name: Michelle Johnson
From: Oklahoma, US
Occupation: Home-schooling mother of seven kids (ages 2 to 17, plus a 23-year-old in the US)
What street do you live on?
Exact words you tell a taxi driver to get home?
The conversation goes like this: “Queen’s Road. You know?” And the Uncle inevitably asks, “Queen’s, King’s, Farrer?” – to which I reply, “Yes”. Taxi Uncle then says: “Bukit Timah, Coronation Plaza?” And I reply, “Yes”.
What’s the name of your neighbourhood?
Closest MRT station?
How long have you lived here?
We liked the neighbourhood and having a grocery store, a McDonald’s and a Starbucks nearby. But the real reason we picked this house was because it came furnished.
When you walk out of your place, the first thing you see is:
The closest store to your front door is:
Your street would make the perfect backdrop for a remake of:
Ha! I love this question but don’t have an answer.
Your neighbours are great, but you wouldn’t mind a little less:
Absolutely nothing. I would like more interaction with my neighbours. But maybe I’m too shy to make friends with them.
The unofficial uniform of your street is:
If a celebrity moves in next door, it will most likely be:
Ellen DeGeneres. I just think it would be fun to have her as a neighbour!
When you’re in need of a dose of culture, you:
Get in a cab and go anywhere.
If you’re missing home, you:
I don’t really miss home. I love living in Singapore. But I do miss Sonic (for drive-in fast food) and Taco Bell (for Tex-Mex food). And nothing can be done about not having Tater Tots (deep-fried grated potato).
A mandatory stop for out-of-town guests is:
First, we take our guests to eat at Suan Thai, our favourite restaurant. Then we drive around Orchard, and beyond, to see the beautiful city skyline past Gardens by the Bay, Marina Bay Sands and the Singapore Flyer.
You’d swap houses in a second with:
The Prince of Brunei’s on Nassim Road. We almost have enough kids to fill it.
A common myth about your neighbourhood is:
That it’s only for expats. It’s not!
If you’re ever woken up at night, it’s almost always due to:
The revving engines of Lamborghinis, Porsches or Maseratis; or the pub across the street during World Cup football.
A massive late-night rager on your street is likely to be:
The kids in the house behind us screaming and crying as loudly as possible.
Your favourite neighbourhood joints are:
Burger Shack for the best shakes in Singapore (the burgers aren’t bad either); Gastronomia for great pastries; and the Thai restaurant in front of our house on Bukit Timah Road. Beyond that, I’m embarrassed to say, we haven’t tried many of the restaurants. How could I have lived here so long and not tried more of them? Probably because there are just too many places we want to try.
You won’t find better local food than at:
The hawker centre on the corner of Dunearn and Adam Roads.
The strangest thing you’ve ever seen on your street is:
The many who rides up on a moped and parks in our driveway every afternoon. He gets out and gets into a cab. Comes back about five-ish minutes later, gets back on his moped and leaves.
We love a good bargain. The best deals in your neighbourhood are:
In all the little shops above FairPrice in Coronation Shopping Plaza. You’ll find cheap ink for printers, cloth and other material for sewing, discounted toys – you can even pick up stamps and parking vouchers. There’s also a little grocery store right in front of our house that sells everything.
The guiltiest pleasure in your area is:
One thing you’d never change is:
The amazing houses.
But one thing you wouldn’t mind seeing go is:
The noise from the street.
The city gives you $5 million to soup up your street. You use it to:
Build a nicer playground and a pool (private, just for our family, of course!).