I took this route to Changi Beach after exiting Frankel Avenue in the early 1960s. Next time was 1967 it became my school holiday “resort” when I went to live with my Malay classmate in a kampong. In those days school holidays did not mean an overseas holiday trip to exotic Bali or to snowy Europe. We went to catch fish in the Sungei Bedok; now called Bedok Canal and explored the old kampungs at Padang Terbakar (now a golf course) and Ayer Gemuroh. Word spread and soon other friends joined us. It was because of his young, fair-skinned and sweet-looking sister, “Rosmawati” or “Rose” in short. Rose “Ada class tetapi atas sikit”.
The next time came in the early 1970s when I did my National Service at the “BU-LOK camp (the Hokkien expression for Bedok). My training area was Harvey Avenue, the reclaimed land and Kew Drive. Imagine carrying the white-board from Bedok Camp through Hwa San Road and doing camouflage in the Chinese cemetery area in Kew Drive. Of course there is a fourth reason but you have to admit, “It’s home coming one full cycle” again.
There was also the Long Beach Restaurant which closed in the early 1990s because the land was acquired by the government. This later became a condominium next to the Eastwood Center. The Sultan of Pahang once owned a seafront bungalow at Bedok Corner. Fortunately this 3 storey property still stands at #38 Eastwood Road.
Photo 2: Upper East Coast Road and Bedok Camps 1 & 2
My inclination towards this area was because my maternal grandmother once operated a restaurant called Wyman Haven in one of the seafront bungalow houses. Her signature dish was roasted pigeon. There was one other competitor to Wyman Haven on the same road about 4 houses away at that time – it was the Palm Beach Seafood.
The hills, the cemeteries, the sea, the temples and the pondoks have changed over time. One wish I have is for the government now not to sell the reclaimed land next to the SAF camps and in the process destroy the natural fauna. I believe my wish can be realized because there is a “height restriction” on any construction due to the close proximity of Changi Airport.
If time permits, I will write on various landmarks and things to do in Bedok Corner area.