Keep a little bit of old Seletar in new developments

Straits Times Forum 20 Mar 12;

TRACTS of forest, farms and nurseries at Seletar Farmway off Jalan Kayu are being cleared, or will be cleared soon, for new developments, including, I believe, the Seletar Aerospace Park.

For many years, the area has been a rustic countryside offering families and surrounding preschools an easily accessible respite from bustling city life.

My family has many happy memories of visiting the attractions there, such as the Animal Resort and Nanyang Fish Farm.

I visited the area again with my children during the school break and was sad to find a large plant nursery gone and tracts of forest cleared.

Two buildings that have been there for as long as I can remember were boarded up, earmarked for demolition, perhaps.

One, a two-storey colonial-style structure that stood at the junction of Yio Chu Kang Road and Seletar Hills, which used to be a post office and later, a childcare centre.

Another, tucked away from public view near Seletar Farmway 4 and 6 off Jalan Kayu, is an old Taoist temple with beautiful intricate roof carvings that used to serve the villagers and farmers in its vicinity.

These two buildings occupy relatively small parcels of land and seem to be sturdy structures.

Architecturally and historically, it may be worthwhile conserving them and integrating them in the area's future development, perhaps as offices, restaurants or heritage galleries.

I hope the relevant government agencies as well as grassroots committees in the area will consider my suggestion.

Such vestiges of old Singapore should not suffer the fate of being locked away and finally fading from the memories of older Singaporeans. They should remain as something old and worth preserving in the new Singapore.

Edwin Pang