Tiger Beer recently launched the Tiger Beer District Elections.
The prize? The top four districts which garner the most votes will have their very own district names and artwork printed on limited edition bottles.
If the words “artwork” and “limited edition” don’t excite you, you’re a monster.
Look at all these beautiful mock-ups that Tiger Beer did:
I need Tiger Beer to put my district, Bukit Panjang, on a limited edition bottle because I love beautiful things and evidently, I can’t do it on my own:
The competition is tough. As I’m writing this article, Jurong and Bedok are in the lead. I don’t really see the appeal, but just to see what the fuss is about, I decided to survey a couple of colleagues who live in those districts.
“I stay near Bedok 85, so I guess that’s pretty great,” says my colleague. “And I’m not too far from the city centre.”
Yay… I guess?
The other colleague who stays in Jurong loves it because it’s “peaceful”. “Plus,” she quipped, “Jurong East has everything I ever need!”
While these are perfectly fine reasons to love Jurong and Bedok, they’re not reasons that blow your socks off, like the ones that Bukit Panjang offers.
Having lived in the highly-underrated district over the last decade, I am ready to put forward this bold declaration: forget Jurong or Bedok, this is the best neighbourhood to live in in Singapore. Hear me out:
S’pore’s supermarket capital
It always helps to be upfront and I will be: Bukit Panjang has no famous hawker stalls or eateries to speak of.
Katong has its fabled food streets and stretches; the Central Singapore area is pretty much a Michelin-starred galaxy. Bukit Panjang, I admit, has zilch.
We do have adequate food options to choose from, just not fantastically great ones.
What we do have, though, is a mind-boggling number of supermarkets — nine squeezed within a 1km radius, I kid you not:
Because of course you need to know, these are:
- FairPrice @ Hillion
- FairPrice Finest @ Bukit Panjang Plaza
- FairPrice @ Senja Grand
- Sheng Siong @ Junction 10
- Sheng Siong @ Segar
- Sheng Siong @ Fajar Shopping Centre
- Giant @ Greenridge Shopping Centre
- Giant Express @ Fajar Shopping Centre
- Giant Express @ Bangkit
Do we need so many supermarkets? Probably not.
Do I love having so many? Hell yes, and just so you know, it’s a fully justified millennial obsession — a therapeutic escape for my anxiety-ridden strawberry soul (ooh, strawberries!).
Why spend money to travel to Orchard to “window shop” when I can pop into the Giant downstairs to ogle at its choir of instant noodles singing in the keys of M, S, and G?
Or hop over to any of the Sheng Siong outlets to gawk at their selection of fresh fish.
There’s even a FairPrice Finest several more paces down the road if I want to indulge in some cult-brand ice cream I will regret an hour later.
All its interesting place names
This, my friends, is exhibit A — Pang Sua Pond.
My colleagues laughed when I told them what it is called — evidently, I work with kids.
FYI, it is the second largest man-made floating wetland system in Singapore. It comprises water plants that filter and improve the water quality, making it habitable for dragonflies, birds, and numerous varieties of fish.
But of course that was all lost on them because “Pang Sua”.
*Cue hysterical laughter*.
But to be honest — I myself was a bit thrown off when I first encountered the station names on the Bukit Panjang LRT line.
Senja? Bangkit? Like the biscuit?
Did someone come up with these names from a particularly torturous game of Boggle?
That is, of course, not true, as I would eventually learn from a Malay colleague.
These are, as you might guess, Malay names, with meaning behind them.
“Senja” means sundown. “Segar” means fresh. “Bukit Panjang” itself means Long Hill, a nod to the hill ranges that existed in the area before it was developed.
But some of the meanings of these words are still lost on me.
“Bangkit” means to rise. Rise what? Transport fares?
“Pending” is not a word for something that hasn’t happened yet, but in Malay means waist buckle — which begs the question, to whom does this figurative buckle belong?
Till today, I have yet to find out what a “Jelapang” is. Whatever it is, I like that Bukit Panjang has some rich stories behind its district names. Gives it a bit more character, unlike, say Compassvale.
The chance for an exciting aerial walking tour
And since we’re talking about the LRT, here’s where I can share that Bukit Panjang was the first town to receive a Light Rail System (score!) but in recent years, that has received a bit of flak.
I mean, even our all-suffering Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan called it “masochistic”.
Sure, it has its terrible days when the white-out windows malfunction and the smaller train cabin smells like it just hosted an entire P.E. class, but it is handy especially in the largely-unlikely event our narrow streets get congested with vehicles.
On days when it doesn’t, consider every journey you take on the LRT as an opportunity for a free tree-top level walking tour:
Not only do you get the full sensory experience of seeing, hearing, and smelling Bukit Panjang from above, just think of the unique Instagrammable moments you stand to gain!
Vote for your favourite district
If you think that your district is better, you can vote for it in the Tiger District Elections from now until December 16. Top districts will have their district artwork printed on limited edition Tiger Beer bottles.
The first district to win a place is Tuas, home to Tiger Beer’s brewery. The next top spots are still up for grabs. Good luck!
Top photo by Joshua Lee.