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March 12, 2008

Sun, Sand And History At Sembawang Park Singapore



Sand, Sunset and History At Sembawang Park Singapore

On a weekend evening outing to any place of interest in Singapore, one can expect hordes of visitors. I was therefore not surprised upon hitting the sandy shoreline of Sembawang Park, at the end of Sembawang Road. What would interest me more, would be the reasons people chose to gather here.

Few would really come here just to appreciate the rich naval heritage of the area, which started as an old watering hole for British naval personnel in 1920s. The Sembawang Shipyard to the west was home to British Naval Fleet from 1938 to 1968. The Beaulieu House or Beautiful House, built in the 1910s, was an architectural gem of the past with its high ceilings and trellis rooftop design. Down the slopes from this house, stands the Sembawang Jetty, which was built in 1940s initially by the British before its completion by the Japanese during the war. Nearby lie the remains of the Sembawang Pier, which also saw action during the war when it was partially destroyed.

The reason I came to this part of the island was to watch the sun set over the Johore Straits and to enjoy the sand on one of the few remaining natural beaches in Singapore. For a Singaporean accustomed to urban living, opportunities for me to venture outside a concrete jungle are few. From the beach near the jetty, I could see people milling around smoky barbecue pits, laughing, eating or doing both at the same time. Under shelters with columns designed like stacks of while dices with blue dots, families and friends, decked out in merry-making finery, made the most of their precious moments together. Elsewhere by the water's edge, children built sandcastles while anglers waited patiently for their evening's catch.


Past sunset, we moved to the wooded part of Sembawang Park. With the exception of the playground heavy with happy kids surrounded by a phalanx of parents and maids, the rest of the park appeared quieter. Isolated corners saw fitness equipment put to good use by park users, while the lone jogger pressed his shoes on the restored old pathways used during British occupation.

While most visitors will be satisfied to leave this area after fulfilling their recreational and cardiovascular rehabilitation needs, a few may be tempted to walk under the spell of the Sembawang Tree (to which the park took its name) to contemplate Sembawang Park’s history.

Take care and be happy.

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2 comments:

Stardust said...

I believe that the place must be fascinating. Coupled with your great writting, it totally sounds magical. =) I'm glad that there are some intent fellow Singaporeans out there who takes good pride in our country, and choose to see the good out of it. Really enjoy what you're sharing, so; thank you.

Seen This Scene That said...

Thank you very much for the compliment. I am still learning to improve.

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