Yangs enjoy CNY visits with 8-in-1 ease

Yangs enjoy CNY visits with 8-in-1 ease
UNDER ONE ROOF: Ms Yang's (back row, second from left) family photo from two years ago. Her grandfather bought eight five-room flats in the same block 35 years ago and registered them under each of his eight sons' names.
PHOTO: Lianhe Wanbao

IT IS Chinese New Year and visiting kin is a breeze for the Yangs, for eight of their families live at the same block in Bedok - in separate five-room flats.

The Yangs moved from the Changi area 35 years ago and have since lived at Block 607, Bedok Reservoir Road, Chinese daily Lianhe Wanbao reported yesterday.

They occupy two corner units on four different floors - the seventh to the 10th - with the corridors decorated in festive red for Chinese New Year when Wanbao visited on Monday.

Yang Caifang, a 43-year-old administrator who lives on the 10th floor, told Wanbao that her grandfather ran a grocery store and had eight sons and two daughters.

The family moved out of their "eight-room" zinc house in Changi when the Government bought their land.

"Grandpa originally hoped to buy all the units along the corridor but was not allowed to, so he chose the eight units we have now," Ms Yang said.

The patriarch bought the eight units with money from the grocery store and registered them under his sons.

Ms Yang's seventh uncle, Yang Qizheng, a 60-year-old civil servant, said his father's arrangement meant they could look out for one another.

"Other than sharing the car, whenever Mum or Dad were sick, my sisters-in-law would also take turns to cook and look after my parents," he noted.

"When I was at work, I could also ask my third sister-in-law to help look after my kids."

Ms Yang added that her grandfather lived on the seventh floor when he was alive, with her seventh uncle in the other unit.

On the eighth floor were her second and third uncles while her fifth and sixth uncles lived on the ninth floor.

Her own father, who was the eldest son, lived on the 10th floor across from her fourth uncle.

Her youngest uncle moved to Bukit Batok after getting married, due to space constraints.

Festive decorations on the 10th floor. The Yangs occupy eight five-room flats in a block in Bedok Reservoir Road. Photo: Lianhe Wanbao

To keep it fair, each unit was done up in the same decor.

In recent years, the Yangs have been putting their hearts into decorating the houses to welcome the new year.

Ms Yang added that the lanterns, new year couplets and banners catch the eye of neighbours now and then.

"Sometimes, salesmen come by and they wonder why there are festive decorations from the seventh to the 10th floors, and realise only later that these floors are home to us Yangs," she said.

In 1983, The Straits Times and Chinese newspaper Lianhe Zaobao reported about the family of 37, spanning three generations, living in their Bedok flats, one or two years after they had moved in.

Now, the Yangs number 90, including a baby expected to be born next month.

As the eight units are not enough for everyone, the children have dispersed to different homes, such as in Bukit Panjang.

Seventh uncle Mr Yang has himself moved out, but handed over the unit to his niece to keep it in the family, according to his father's wishes.

Ms Yang added that her grandfather left his seventh-floor flat to his older daughter, who will pass it to Ms Yang's brother in turn.


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