Explore Bedok's past with new heritage trail

VISITORS, and even residents, who think of Bedok as just another housing estate might reconsider with a new walking trail that reveals nuggets of its history.

A marker at a spot far inland informs visitors that this was where the seashore began, 60 years ago. They will realise then that the East Coast Park was once under the sea.

Another marker takes one back to 1923, when Nobel Prize winner Albert Einstein visited a Jewish community in Singapore and was impressed by the beauty of the coconut palms along Frankel estate.

The Frankels, Jewish entrepreneurs in the textile and furniture industries, also developed the neighbouring Opera Estate, which was home to Singapore's first president, Yusof Ishak.

These tidbits are among the 10 markers on the 15km-long Bedok Heritage Trail, which explores Bedok's past as an idyllic town fronting the sea before land-reclamation works began.

The National Heritage Board (NHB) developed this trail as part of the Housing Board's Remaking Our Heartland plans for the East Coast area.

It is the 15th trail developed by NHB.

Alvin Tan, assistant chief executive, policy and community, at NHB said: "We hope that the trail will raise the awareness of residents and visitors about Bedok's heritage, pique their interest to rediscover key landmarks in the estate, and instil a sense of pride in them when they learn about Bedok's role in Singapore's progress as a nation."

Members of the Bedok community contributed their stories and artefacts to the project.

Residents welcomed the addition of a heritage trail to their neighbourhood.

History student Danelle Chia, 21, said: "I hope going on the trail will answer my questions on how kampung dwellers were affected by their resettlement into HDB blocks."

Another resident who has lived in Bedok for 38 years and gave her name only as Mrs Tay, 68, said the trail could help her children understand what the older folks have been through.

There will be guided bus tours for the trail over this weekend at $5 per person.

To sign up, go to: www.heritagefest.sg


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