Bukit Panjang Town Council Discussion Group Photo

Holland-Bukit Panjang Town Council Meeting attendees include:
Dr Teo Ho Pin and Mr Lawrence (Town Council)
Prof Tay Keng Soon, Jannrius, Qingran, Natasha and Riberd (NUS)

In an open discussion with Dr Teo Ho Pin at the Holland-Bukit Panjang Town Council, the Mayor of North West District Chairman of Holland-Bukit Panjang Town Council and MP for Bukit Panjang Constituency expressed his interest in implementing community development programmes for 719,000 residents living in North West District and his concerns with the ageing issues in Singapore. He raised a very interesting point about elderly’s mobility in relation to their quality of life. In other words, the Chairman of Holland-Bukit Panjang Town Council and the Co-ordinating Chairman of 15 PAP Town Councils advocates a healthy and active lifestyle for the elderly to age in place and age gracefully.

In the two hours discussion, Dr Teo shared with us his understanding of elderly from his 30 years of experience and involvement in community development programmes. We understood from him that senior citizen has certain preferences for participating in communal activities. For example the preference of a more familiar neighbourhood environment where their family and friends live, and the preference of proximity to their own homes for convenience and accessibility are often the deciding factors that affects the elderly’s choice of stepping out of their homes to take part in communal activities. Furthermore, elderly’s concerns are also raised: the park connector’s remoteness and absence of toilets in exercising trails.

The aims of the discussion include identifying target audience age groups (>55 years old): the healthy and active sc, the healthy but inactive sc and the sick (handicapped or bedridden), in order to encourage and motivate more elderly to be involved in communal activities and strengthening their health and fitness at the same time. Key activities such as cycling, table tennis, aqua-robic, brisk-walking and urban farming are part of cultivating a healthy exercising habit and activating the elderly to form interest groups as well. I believe besides annual festivities, the elderly and their family can also make use of these communal activities for keeping fit or recreational purposes and also to further strengthen their family bonds. Most importantly these activities need to be appealing in order to lure elderly and their families out of their homes; hence more ideas are needed to bring in the buzz which are necessary for an active community.

Besides strengthening the core muscles for the elderly by locating exercising equipment close to HDBs, the discussion also revolve around how do we fulfil the spiritual part of the elderly’s lives; adding meaning to their retirement is also a critical area we need to explore in order to effectively engage the elderly who retired from half a lifetime of working life. Hence, family love, affection and community support are vital but this will be the next topic of our discussion.

Activities under Kranji Expressway
Ten days after the discussion, on a Saturday afternoon (21st June 2014), I explored the site with one of the members – Jannrius. I covered the area along Kranji Expressway and Bukit Timah Expressaway, where I trailed the Bukit Panjang Park Connector to discover a group of men in their late thirties to early sixties playing remote control cars utilizing the space under the Kranji expressway. Photos 1 to 6 are documented by me to capture the remote control car enthusiasts racing with one another with their 1:10 scaled cars. One of the remote control enthusiast shared with me that this is their hobby and common venue for gathering and the vicinity is managed and maintained by Zhenghua CSC RC Club. He also mentioned that you can find RC club members occupy the spaces almost on a daily daily basis. From his feedback, I also managed to gather information about stunt bikers using other parts of the leftover spaces under the expressway. It was indeed a hotspot hidden away from the main pedestrian paths and something different from the mainstream interest groups.

Photo1: Discovery of RC Club along Bukit Panjang Park Connector.
Photo2: RC Club memberd maintaining and repairing their cars.
Photo3: Remote controlling the cars from their stacked pallet stand.
Photo4: 1/10 cars in dirt track.
Photo5: RC Club noticeboard.
Photo6: RC Club Permit.