It seems everyone has an opinion about Yishun. But what is it really like? There’s no better way to find out than by hearing straight from a resident, which is what we did for our latest neighbourhood guide. Reamy Garcia, a stay-at-home mum from The Philippines, tells all about the ins and outs of living in Yishun, including addressing the common myth that it is cursed!
What’s the name of the street where you live? Yishun Street.
If it’s in another language, what does it mean? Yishun is the Mandarin pronunciation of Lim Nee Soon (the early Singapore merchant and so-called “pineapple king”); Nee Soon is the Teochew version.
Exact words you tell a taxi driver to get home? “Yishun Street 61.”
What’s the name of your neighbourhood? Nee Soon Central.
Closest MRT station? Yishun and Khatib MRT stations (North-South Line).
How long have you lived here? Four years.
Why here? My husband has been living here since 2008 and because he brought so much stuff with him when he came (enough for a moving company to reach its profit target for the month!) we decided to just remain here.
When you walk out of your place, the first thing you see is: Cute toddlers wearing their uniforms; our neighborhood is surrounded by preschools and childcare centres.
The closest store to your front door is: A minimart and a 7-Eleven.
Your street would make the perfect backdrop for a remake of: 101 Dalmatians – dogs and pups are a common sight here.
Your neighbours are great, but you wouldn’t mind a little less: We’d love to have fewer pigeons! They seem like harmless creatures but they can be such nuisances in the ’hood.
The unofficial uniform of your street is: White, from the Khoo Teck Puat Hospital nurses and Chung Cheng High School students. Imagine how scared I was the first time I saw people in white coming at me from every different direction when I went jogging early in the morning – I almost jumped out of my skin!
When you’re in need of a dose of culture, you: Walk or jog around the area. Yishun has many things to offer, from various temples, mosques and churches to food stalls offering various cuisines. Every March and November, there are cultural presentations by Arts for All, an initiative of the National Arts Council.
If you’re missing home, you: I head down to Yishun Safra KTV and sing my heart out, or go to Iskina Cebu at Timbre+ to get a taste of lechon, a popular Filipino chargrilled pork dish.
A mandatory stop for out-of-town guests is: Lower Seletar Reservoir; it’s very tranquil and has stunning views. It’s also a nice place for avid kayakers and is a beautiful backdrop for your OOTD photo.
A common myth about your neighbourhood is: Yishun is cursed. (No, it’s not!)
A massive late-night rager on your street is likely to be: One particular couple fighting and shouting at the top of their lungs.
Your hands-down favourite neighbourhood joints are: Eatzi Gourmet at SAFRA Yishun and Peach Garden at the Orchid Country Club.
You won’t find better local food than at: The Chong Pang Market & Food Centre.
The strangest thing you’ve ever seen on your street is: A man heading towards Yishun Park asking for money from random people while playing Pokémon Go on his phone.
We love a good bargain. The best deals in your neighbourhood are: The seafood buffet at Aroy Jing Jing at ORTO (from $29.90!), one-for-one on the Halal International Buffet at Royal Palm at the Orchid Country Club, and the Unilever Warehouse Sales at North Spring Bizhub.
The guiltiest pleasure in your area is: Northpoint City! It has now been transformed into a food and shopping haven.
One thing you’d never change is: The good rapport among the neighbours.
But one thing you wouldn’t mind seeing go is: The bad rumours about Yishun.
The city gives you $5 million to soup up your street. You use it to: Build more age friendly pathways.
Like this? See more in our Neighbourhood Guides section:
What it’s like living in Ulu Pandan
Guide to living in Leedon Heights
‘It’s not just families with kids here’
This article first appeared in the March 2018 edition of Expat Living. You can purchase a copy or subscribe so you never miss an issue!