At the Crossroads: Bukit Panjang

///At the Crossroads: Bukit Panjang
At the Crossroads: Bukit Panjang 2019-01-04T17:16:03+00:00

May 2018

City Organizer: Eisen Teo
Walk Leader: Eisen Teo and Kuek Jinhua
Text by: Eisen Teo
Photographs by: Pang Tiak Hui

A hundred years ago, a village emerged at the crossroads of two major trunk roads. This village, Bukit Panjang (Malay for “Long Hill”) Village, was demolished by the 1980s for Bukit Panjang town, a bustling satellite town of 139,000 (as of 2015), but the idea of crossroads still remains.

On 5 and 6 May 2018, Jinhua and I – both heritage and transport enthusiasts – explored the concept of “crossroads” through our Jane’s Walks of Bukit Panjang town, titled: At the Crossroads: Bukit Panjang.

For each Walk, a crowd of around 25 followed us on a journey through time and space, seeing what had become of the famous junction of Upper Bukit Timah Road and Choa Chu Kang Road – formerly a roundabout, now a busy traffic junction and flyover. Nearby, we visited the site where Malaya-bound railway tracks once crossed Choa Chu Kang Road.

We passed community landmarks old and new, such as the Murugan Hill Temple and Pang Sua Pond. Crossing the new town, we discussed rural place names such as Jalan Cheng Hwa, Lorong Petir, and Jalan Fajar. These places may have disappeared, but their names live on in modern landmarks.

Saturday’s tour ended with a ride on the Bukit Panjang LRT Line – an intra-town transport system that is both relatively new and in dire need of fixing. Should it stay, or should it go? It too lies on its own crossroads.

We challenged our Walk participants to look for the old amidst the new in their own neighbourhoods and make it their personal piece of heritage. Sometimes, we need to enter what looks like the new to discover the old, especially for a city-state that is continually in flux.

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