A housing estate built in the 1980s, Hougang has seen itself go from sleepy farmland to sleepy suburbs. With the maturity of the estate impending, we still see sights and sounds from other times, contrasting each other. At the heart of this township, the town center is a mix of residential units, bustling shopping malls and also quieter anachronistic businesses. Read on for more!
Since the early days of pig and fish farming, Hougang’s cosmetic change has been dramatic. Gone are the sights, sounds and not to mention, smell, of these rural agricultural activities (a loss no doubt for lomographers but certainly not residents!). Replacing them was a then modern high rise housing estate. The ex-farmers were mostly relocated to this estate where they trades their fishes/pigs for lifts and supermarkets.
The town center, like many others, is a hive of activity. With 2 malls, it isn’t difficult to satisfy one’s shopping needs(sic). However the draw of the place is definitely not the ubiquitous shopping centres we see all around Singapore.
Many shop houses dominate the central area, remnants of the early development days. The local authorities had found that the locals have much taken to these shops despite the convenience of the malls. Like any side streets in cities around the world, many little specialty shops are found among these shop houses. We can watch a key maker conjuring a key or a cobbler deftly fixing a broken heel. Small aquariums and bakeries are also something not to be missed, with the local layout very dissimilar to those abroad. Be sure to also catch the butcher and fishmonger at the wet market, bringing the freshest produce to the heartlands.
The quiet town center adds to the generally relaxed feel of the place, a silent revolt against the fast paced Singaporean lifestyle.