Phase 1 of the East Coast Land reclamation Project stopped exactly at the canal between the Laguna National Golf & Country Club and Bedok Camp 1. By 1969, the seafront bungalows such as Bedok Rest House, the property of the Sultan of Pahang, the block of flats (now a part of the East Coast Medicare Center), and a zinc-roofed motor workshop stood facing the sea.
By 1972 when I was in Bedok Camp 1, there was no more sea in front of those seafront bungalows. Phase 4 of the land reclamation project from Bedok Corner had reached Tanah Merah Besar Road, leaving the sea off Nicoll Drive still intact.
Photo 2: Long Beach Seafood – Through the Years
On “Day 1” of my enlistment, I peeped out of the louvered window of Delta Company block and I saw a secondary jungle. What would they do with that piece of land I asked myself? Never did I know some 20 years later, I would be standing at the same spot on the tee-box. Fast-forward to 1992, it could well have been the site of the first F1 race track and not Marina Bay. I am not sure for the reasons the Singapore Government turned down the proposal.
Photo 3: Beyond Bedok Camp 1 to Sungei. Bedok. At the bottom of the lower photo is the ECP towards Changi Aiport (left to right direction).
Before land reclamation, the Sungei Ketapang and Sungei Bedok separately drained into the sea. After land reclamation both rivers (and canals as they are now called) connect to each other first to become the Bedok Canal that drains into the sea at the East Coast Parkway; a distance of 2km further from the original shoreline. The Sungei Ketapang is now the canal between the golf course and the Changi MRT Depot and its mouth became the golf driving range. The Bedok Canal is now the flight-path of numerous golf balls that fly from the tee-box to the pin.
A small section of Koh Sek Lim Road remains but is now inside the Bedok NeWater Plant. When you enter the Bedok NeWater Plant, that road is the truncated Koh Sek Lim Road having lost a part of it to the business park at Changi South Lane. The Laguna National Golf and Country Club’s clubhouse was the site of the original tofu factory and the land around it was cultivated by Chinese farmers. My Malay classmate told me that during the racial riots of 1964, the Chinese farmers and Malay fishermen banded together as one united community and armed themselves with changkols and parangs against “foreign incursions”.
I have indicated with a blue arrow in the last photo the path of the 2.5 km Run that I took during my National Service days. Depending on “how siow” the OC of Delta Company was, we ran beyond Somapah Village to Teluk Mata Ikan, a Malay Village (somewhere near the PIE and Runway 02L of Changi Airport) and back to Bedok Camp 1. Today with the Bedok Connector, one could go further than that to Changi Point from Bedok Corner.
What a transformation since the 1960s!