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February 29, 2008

I Like To Visit Upper Seletar Reservoir Park Singapore

Upper Seletar Reservoir Park: Memory and History

Of all the reservoirs in Singapore, Upper Seletar Reservoir Park has my vote as the most memorable place of interest in Singapore that I’ve been to.

Built in 1920, it is the 3rd oldest reservoir to be built in Singapore. The source of the water comes from the adjacent catchment areas plus water pumped from nearby streams. The water is piped to Lower Pierce Reservoir and then to Woodleigh Waterworks for treatment and further distribution. The water surface area covers 3.24 sq km and is 17 m at its deepest point.

Bounded by Seletar Expressway and Mandai Road, this piece of real estate witnessed action during World War 2 when the dam was damaged. After expansion works were completed, Seletar Reservoir was officially declared open by Her Royal Highness, Princess Alexandra on 10 August 1969, during Singapore's 150th anniversary celebration of her founding.

Seletar Reservoir was renamed Upper Seletar Reservoir in 1992. Once banned, fishing in the reservoir has now been allowed along a designated stretch alongside Mandai Road in this 15 ha park. A shooting range nearby was where I honed my rifle shooting skills during National Service days. Other amenities like a playground, a public golf course and jogging tracks make up the remainder of this park.

I like the distinctive lookout tower where I used to climb its 85 steps as a child. I call it my “Rocket Tower” as there was an uncanny resemblance to the real thing on TV. From its rooftop observation deck, I would watch golden sunsets across the shimmering waters in the direction of the Singapore Zoological Gardens.

This reservoir also holds fond memories for me. In my secondary school days, I spent a night sleeping in the tower during a 2-day 1-night cycling expedition as a junior member of the scout movement. This was part of the requirement that our group of three had to pass in order to earn an Explorer Badge.

The sky broke and poured throughout that night. We sought refuge at the Rocket Tower and chose the largest area at the top of the spiral staircase to settle down for the night. Due to space constraint at the top of this spiral staircase and the rain pelting outside, we twisted our bodies and stretched ourselves out with ankles dangling over the steps. Through gaps in the tower wall, chilled wind cut through my poncho and bit my bones as I attempted sleep without wet socks. The next moment I opened my eyes, I remembered hearing footsteps coming up the black-as-soot stairway.

“Is that a foot?” a voice whispered.

“Ya, I think someone died!” another replied.

“Eee… better get out?”

“Wait… let’s poke it with the umbrella.”

At that point, I panicked and wriggled my toes from under the poncho. The voices transformed into screams and followed the footsteps down the stairs, never to return. The next morning my companions confirmed the encounter and I was glad I could put the thought of ghosts out of my mind.

Like it or not, there will always be memorable moments attached to some places in your life. Good, bad or weird, they will stick to you for life.

Do you have any memorable moments to share?

Take care, be happy.

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