April 20, 2015

#Writing 101: Size Matters

Today’s Prompt: Where did you live when you were 12 years old? Which town, city, and country? Pay attention to your sentence lengths and use short, medium, and long sentences.

I still remember the address.  It feels like a lifetime ago, being 12 and all, living on the 1st floor of a 10-storey apartment building on the west side of Singapore, located right in front of a car park, surrounded by trees, amenities …and oh! more apartment buildings around the area.

The nearest bus-stops were only less than 2 minutes away. You walk forward, there was (and still is) the bus-stop. You walk around the building at the other end, another bus-stop. You walk to the left, yet another bus-stop. Walk for another 8 minutes and there was (still is!) the MRT station which you could take to get to anywhere in Singapore.

A walking distance away stood a satellite shopping mall, several coffee shops, Mc Donald’s, KFC, polyclinic and private clinic, banks, several schools, a public swimming pool, a large area of garden with playgrounds and tracks for jogging,cycling or idling around as well as a bus interchange. It was the perfect place to live.

Bukit Batok  (literally translated as Cough’s Hill) West was the place I grew up in since I was about 7 or 8 years old. It was the first home my parents ever owned. I remember walking along the pathway of an expressway connecting to another town called Jurong East very early in the morning with my mom and my brother, daily, because she had to drop us off to our baby sitter before she went to work.  It was still dark and quiet.

And, I still remember walking to and from school by that very bridge every day for a couple of years when I was old enough to go to school by myself.  I could have taken the public bus to school, but often, the bus was always unpredictable and if it ever came, it was so full that no one could actually get in. Walking was the best option. I mostly walked alone.

We lived in a 4 bedroom apartment consisting of a large kitchen with a separate balcony attached to it, 1 living room, 1 dining area , 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms. All in all, about 106 square meters, decked out in parquet flooring. It wasn’t huge or anything. Just about enough to house 4 humans and 2 cats. However, if compared to today’s standard of a 4-room flat, it was actually quite spacious!

My brother and I had the luxury of having our own rooms since we were young.  We were spoilt that way! The cats, also spoiled brats, were free to roam in and out of the house, sometimes,choosing to either leave from the front window and snuck in through the balcony or vice versa.

There, right behind our balcony, stood a lime-tree garden. We sometimes pluck off the fresh limes from there – although it was an offence to do so! The garden was also the cats’ favourite place to hide and hunt for birds, and one of my old cats usually leave little presents of a squeaking half-dead bird underneath my bed while I was sleeping!

Oh! So much memories! And how we loved our Bukit Batok home!

Unfortunately, my parents…errr my Dad,  made the decision for all of us to move when I was about 21 years old. I was quite fresh out of school and barely started my first job. I still feel gutted whenever I think about it. It was THE perfect home. Homely, cosy and…just well, perfect. I spent many hours in my room either reading, or on my bed day-dreaming and watching people from my window because if I look hard enough, I can actually look into other people’s home!

The walls. Those walls! They were the ones I crashed into when I was learning how to ride a bicycle, leaving my bicycle frame dented and bent. My bike lights broken.

I haven’t set foot in that neighbourhood since we moved out. And today, because of this assignment,  I decided to look it up on Google Street view. I zoomed in and out of the surrounding area and I was taken back to the familiarity of the area from many moons ago.


Sure! Somethings have changed. For one, the colours of the buildings are different, and  there seemed to be a lot more amenities there – with a child care centre, covered walkways and floor-to-floor elevator. Things which weren’t there eons ago.

In fact, when we first moved in, the neighbourhood was a ghost town. There was absolutely nothing there. The nights were quiet, the roads deserted. We were one of the first few tenants to move into that neighbourhood, and my parents and I spent many an evening walking around the neighbourhood for a stroll; not a soul in sight for hours on end!

Gone were those days. I still miss that home sorely and  I wonder if the owner who bought over our home is still the same.

One of these days, I’ll just have take a walk down memory lane. Even if for just nostalgic reasons.

#Blogging U #Writing101

Posted by:    |    8 Comment
  1. I enjoyed reading your well-written memories. It sounds like you have many happy memories of your time spent in Butik Batok. Thanks for the pictures and for the story.

  2. What happened to dear old Dad? Divorce?

    I was in Singapore a few weeks ago for a few days. I love it there. Of course it is REALLY hard to get any worse than Vietnam when it comes to “nice” places to be.

    • Oh nooo…my parents are still together. 🙂 We all moved to the new place together, and my parents have since moved to their 3rd (smaller) home now that they kids are gone. I guess they like moving!

      SG’s great – although getting a little too expensive and crowded for my liking. Are you in VN? I have only been thee once. Not sure if I want to live there.

      Thanks for dropping by, Danny! 🙂

  3. I also looked up my old house on google maps. Its so weird how you can do that! Even though its a different color, it still looks just as I remember it all those years ago. I really enjoyed going down memory lane too

    • It is weird, isnt’ it! I had the shudders for a bit. Maybe that’s what out of body experience feels like! Thanks for stopping by, Mary! 🙂

  4. Redzwan

    Hell yeah I miss it too.. Few weeks ago I took Linda & nuryn to see our old home.. Apparently there are new owners but our original windows that we changed are still there! Haha such convenience like now I have a car.. Would love to get that carpark back! Memories aplenty in that house spacious compared to the houses in sg now.. How i wish dad never made that decision to sell.. Ouh well! Spent 18 years of my growing up there until i entered NS. Cycling around the vicinity playing football at the void deck until dad had to shout at me before i could move my butt home! & not forgetting the squabbling that we have between you & me haha hence lucky we have our own rooms! Lol

    Awesome time just Awesome! Great post sis!


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