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 Nicole Lade about the ins and outs of living in Changi.
Name: Nicole Lade
Occupation: Project manager in a publishing company
Which street do you live on?
Exact words you tell a taxi driver to get home?
“Loyang (‘Loy-ang’) Avenue, Loyang Valley condominium. Yes, the big red brick place.” I haven’t come across a taxi driver yet who doesn’t know it.
What’s the name of your neighbourhood?
Closest MRT station?
Toss-up between Pasir Ris and Tampines.
How long have you lived here?
My husband works at the airport and is impatient with public transport!
When you walk out of your place, the first thing you see is:
Cyclists, including lots of MAMILs!* My MAMIL-husband tells me Loyang Avenue is good for practising hill climbs. Other cyclists are on the bike path – one way goes to Pasir Ris Park, the other to Changi Village. (*Middle Aged Men In Lycra)
The closest store to your front door is:
Our condo shop (they sell everything you could possibly need and run a tab system).
Your street would make the perfect backdrop for a remake of:
Cliché, I know – any World War II movie with jungle scenes.
Your neighbours are great, but you wouldn’t mind a little less:
Cat-fighting. One of our cats seems to have an issue with the seven cats next door.
The unofficial uniform of your street is:
National Service uniforms – we’re surrounded by army camps.
If a celebrity moves in next door, it will most likely be:
Lance Armstrong – close to cycling routes, but far from prying eyes.
When you’re in need of a dose of culture, you:
Visit Changi Village late on a Saturday night.
If you’re missing home, you:
Go cycling on Pulau Ubin for a bit of countryside.
A mandatory stop for out-of-town guests is:
A walk along Changi Boardwalk followed by drinks and a meal at the Changi Sailing Club. There’s nothing like it in Singapore – fresh air, sea views and decent food to top it off.
You’d swap houses in a second with:
The people who live at Changi Sailing Club. The sea is at its doorstep, literally.
A common myth about your neighbourhood is:
That it’s miles away from anywhere. Actually, we’re less than ten minutes from the airport.
If you’re ever woken up at night, it’s almost always due to:
If not a cat-fight, the crowing of the wild jungle fowl roaming around the condo grounds.
A massive late-night rager on your street is likely to be:
Ghostly activities at the abandoned Changi Village Hospital.
Your favourite neighbourhood joints are:
Changi Sailing Club – great location and decent food. The dim sum stall at Airfield Restaurant – good choice of dim sum at a great price. Coastal Settlement – a taste of Dempsey in Changi Village. Lots Gourmet – good Western-style café food.
The strangest thing you’ve ever seen on your street is:
Go to Changi Village late on a Saturday night and you’ll see.
We love a good bargain. The best deals in your neighbourhood are:
The giant Giant, IKEA and Courts stores close by in Tampines. There are also outlet shops at Changi City Point, especially good for sports gear.
The guiltiest pleasure in your area is:
Chocolate cake from Chocolate Origin in the main street of Changi Village.
One thing you’d never change is:
The rustic nature of the area. It’s been a shame to see Sentosa and Dempsey, for example, become modernised over the years. We like our area exactly the way it is now (and as it has been for years).
But one thing you wouldn’t mind seeing go is:
The new bus depot they’re building on Loyang Avenue. It doesn’t fit with the area at all.
The city gives you $5 million to soup up your street. You use it to:
Pay off any authorities or developers who want to build up the area. I’ve always said that if Pulau Ubin ever gets developed, I’m out of here.
Why should your neighborhood be featured in a guidebook?
It’s a breath of fresh air from the rest of busy Singapore. The pace of life is slower. Changi Village has rustic charm and undeveloped Pulau Ubin is a great escape from hectic city life.