S'poreans share 43,000 stories of cherished places

S'poreans share 43,000 stories of cherished places
Mrs Chia-Nge Tak Heng (right) and her sister Rachel Nge near their childhood home at Block 26, Toa Payoh East.

SINGAPORE - As a young girl, Mrs Chia-Nge Tak Heng would sit in the corridor outside her parents' 12th-floor Housing Board flat in Toa Payoh, fascinated by the bustling construction sites all around her.

"We lived on the highest floor. We had no toys, nothing, so we played outside in the corridor," recalled Mrs Chia-Nge, who moved to Toa Payoh when she was seven.

From that vantage point, she and her four siblings watched as bare ground gave rise to towering blocks of flats. "We would count the big lorries bringing soil in."

Now 54 and a senior laboratory executive at Nanyang Technological University, Mrs Chia-Nge still lives in one of those very blocks she watched being built.

"I've been here my whole life. For me, everything happens in Toa Payoh," she said.

The heartland neighbourhood joins attractions such as leisure island Sentosa and the Orchard Road shopping belt as some of Singaporeans' most cherished places on the SG Heart Map.

The map is an SG50 initiative which gathers stories from Singaporeans on the places which are most memorable for them. These stories are then woven into a collective map.

Another popular location is Sentosa, with more than 2,100 Singaporeans selecting it.

For Mr Ernest Chew, 18, one of his favourite memories is taking the Sentosa monorail as a three-year-old past the Merlion and Fort Siloso on his family's first getaway from mainland Singapore.

Over the years, the Institute of Technical Education College Central student has continued to visit Sentosa with his parents and younger sister.

"It's a great place for a family hangout. It's cooler, peaceful and away from the city," he said.

Since its launch last November, SG Heart Map has collected more than 43,000 stories via its Web portal, contribution booths and roving vans which have been to 79 locations islandwide.

Said Second Minister for Foreign Affairs and Environment and Water Resources Grace Fuin a press statement yesterday: "The stories showed our common identity and bond as Singaporeans."

The project's collection of stories will continue until April, after which it will highlight 50 places found to hold special meaning for Singaporeans.

All the stories will be used to create a giant composite map, which will be unveiled in November.


This article was first published on February 10, 2015.
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