Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Singapore from kampongs to vibrant towns...

Last week I took my first tour with the British Association of Singapore...I'm not really into associations and/or clubs but figured I'd join and that way I have a support group of Brits if and when I need 'em :-)


They organise regular drop in coffee mornings at various cafés around Singapore, these are more my cup a tea (;-)) and I will eventually get to one of these for a bit of chat 'n' gossip ;-)

So, the tour...Housing and Development Board (HDB) - "from kampongs to vibrant towns". With more than 80% of Singapore's population living in public housing and the fact that governments from other countries aim to have public housing as good and popular as Singapore's, I thought this would make an interesting morning...

The tour was very well organised and I'm pretty sure everyone arrived on time (proper British punctuality ;-)). Our tour guide made the morning really interesting and shared lots of facts, info 'n' a few secrets of Singapore ;-) 

A few points re HDBs :-

Pre-1960's .. accute housing shortage - most people lived in slums and kampongs which were dirty and unsafe;

1960's-1970's .. the Housing and Development Board created all new towns to meet the growing demand for public housing;

With a population of 2 million in 1970 and at 1976 50% of the Singapore population had been housed by HDB;

HDB not only created the public housing (flats) it also provided community centres for the residents;

In the early days...the allocation of flats went something like this - there were 2 boxs, you would be present to see you 'draw', one box contained your name and the second box was 'your' flat.

You could be on a wait list for 3 years...when it was eventually 'your' turn you did have the right to refuse 'your' given flat BUT, on the third 'draw' if you were still not happy then you would go to the back of the queue and possibly wait another 3 years!

The visit to the HDB Gallery in Toa Payoh certainly made us all rethink on public housing... These days, the flats are built to order - with the person taking out the lease being able to choose their preferred flooring, door handles, bathroom colour and entrance door :-)  Of course, the 'show flats' were well set up so the tenants can judge just how many rooms they need and get some interior design ideas...

2 room/1 bedroom

3 room/2 bedrooms

4 room/3bedrooms

5 room/4bedrooms

A little secret our tour guide shared with us...apparently, if a tenant takes out a lease with the HDB then at a later date can afford to buy a private house/condo they can 'kind of slip through some sort of loop hole'!  Some HDB tenants then lease out the private place (quite often to expats).  Of course, with the rental they are then charging Singapore sees (or perhaps...turns a blind eye) to millionaires living in public housing!! If you could own a four bedroom condo unit with pool and gym would you live in a two bedroom 75m2 flat? I'm pretty sure I wouldn't.

The Pinnacle@Duxton

Our last stop on 'the tour' was the Pinnacle @ Duxton...a one off project to show public housing can be in the centre of town/city.  With the land costing a premium this place is really special and no doubt will stay 'a one off project'.  S$5 per entry to the Pinnacle's 'sky bridge' @ the 50th level and you can enjoy pretty impressive views from the roof tops - my pics are not so clear as the day was extremely hazy :-(

Other stuff going on in my life in Singapore.... Well, it's been a 'long' three weeks without my maid/helper! Oh, don't get me wrong I've pretty much survived and the family are dressed in clean clothes and not starved :-D. But having been doing laundry, ironing, cleaning, shopping, cooking in this heat and humidity I'm totally shattered ;-)  I've had no time for ME and well, my nails are a disgrace! no pretty nail pics today :-((

So, yes, Aileen returns to Singapore this week (I breath a sigh of relief and am happy to give up my housewife chores)! I plan to treat myself to a morning in Ikea (never have enough things to store things in!).  Do my nails and get back to the gym...yep, generally turn the expat wife status back on ;-) and I'm pretty sure my Mr Man will be happy his shirts are being ironed 'properly' and actually have no creases in them :-/

Anthea Turner - Perfect Housewife dvd series...
I love watching her but I for sure don't want to be one ;-)

L8r beautiful 'n' gorgeous people xx

kisses 'n' smiles from me xx ;-)

1 comment:

  1. Hi Clare, found you :-)
    Looks like you had a wonderful tour, and very interesting facts about HDB's. I was wondering how they look like and how they 'divide' them. Tnx for the feedback, will follow you as a true trooper :-))