Tag Archives: Park Connector

Clementi Heartlands Instawalk

Our Singapore (SG) Heartlands, the places that we lived in and grew up in, something close to our hearts, minds and souls. While Singapore is a small country in size, our various Housing Development Board (HDB) Housing Estates does have its own unique characteristics and community. It can be an interesting adventure to walk around various HDB estates heartlands and explore the area, especially when they have a mix of older and younger generation HDB blocks of flats. There was a recent project: MND Heartlands by Ministry of National Development, a social media campaign to encourage Singaporeans to explore the places and spaces around them. There were a few heartland walks around Singapore recently too and when I received news that fellow photographer Weili organised a Heartlands Instawalk to my Clementi Heartlands, and Aik Beng was going to lead the Heartlands Instawalk into my heartland Clementi estate, I came forward to help out Weili and Aik Beng in bringing them around my Clementi heartlands.

IMG_1418

Clementi Heartlands is interesting with a mix of older and new HDB blocks, with beautiful greenery near the Sungei Ulu Pandan and Ulu Pandan Park Connector. We met nearby at the Clementi MRT Station and proceed walking up towards Clementi Avenue 4, through the Clementi Community Centre. Along the way, Aik Beng shared a lot on mobile photography tips to the participants, highlighting to them the things/perspectives to look out for. I wasn’t too actively taking photographs on my iPhone 5 and uploading onto Instagram nor taking many photographs with my Canon DSLR. Since I was helping Aik Beng in leading the Clementi Heartlands Instawalk, I had to spend more time leading and looking after the group of participants! I double up as a historian for the walk because this is my Heartlands for 30+ years! Nevertheless, it was fun and enjoyable, something that I enjoyed doing it and used to organise such walks for friends last time!

IMG_1430

Upon reaching Sungei Ulu Pandan and Ulu Pandan Park Connector, we walked along the Park Connector and they could view the Sunset Way Old Railway Bridge and the greenery surrounding the Clementi Heartlands. A major highlight of the Clementi Heartlands Instawalk was to visit the Clementi Community Farm for Clementi Residents and to see the community heartlands active in farming and community activities. The Clementi Residents were very friendly and shared with the participants about their produces they were growing. The participants spent a bit of time there to look around the community farm and the former KTM Railway tracks that once passed through the Clementi Heartlands.

IMG_1441

Walking to our next destination, the newest segment of Clementi HDB heartlands, the Casa Clementi HDB blocks at Clementi Avenue 1 there were recently completed and the new tenants moving over to stay in them. We had a bit of a slow walk from Clementi Avenue 4 to Clementi Ave 1, through the various void decks, a distinct feature of the heartlands. We also came across a bird singing competition around Blocks 332 and 333, another unique heartlands activity! The participants reached Casa Clementi and had a view of the newest HDB blocks of flats, the designs and the beautiful roof top garden for the residents of Casa Clementi and come down to relax and have fun!

The SG Heartlands is something unique and special in its own sense, spaces and surroundings. Do go out and explore your Heartlands in your own neighbourhood and the other SG Heartlands in Singapore as well! The SG Heartlands is where we learn, collect and compile our history, heritage, culture, landscape and memories of our past and for our future. Take many photographs of SG Heartlands, remember to tag #SGHeartlands and share them!


Created with Admarket’s flickrSLiDR.

Nostalgic Photography Walk @ Sembawang Park

A beautiful park and beach tucked away in the northern part of Singapore; brought back many memories for me when I joined fellow photography and heritage friends Jerome, Juria, Kamal and Francis for a photography walkabout at the Sembawang Park and Sembawang Beach area. Jerome had organized a few different photography walkabouts of different heritage interests. I was happy to join him for a few walks to explore more of Singapore’s heritage, history and culture together with like-minded people.

2T2J5545

Walking at Sembawang Park, down the beach and walking along it. Enjoying the sea breeze while it was low tide, the call of the wildlife nearby the green lush forest. Listening to the waves coming in towards the shore, the peace and tranquility that make the Sembawang Beach something special. Sembawang Park and its beach is a popular spot for families to go fishing and catching crabs. Besides, it’s also a fun place for family outings and picnics too. This location was very nostalgic for me too, when I was a Boy Scout 20+ years ago, this was where we stopped for a exploration/hike test. I remembered that time there were three of us and I was there to be a companion to my friend who was taking his Advanced Scout Standard exploration test that lasted 2D1N.  The memories were priceless and I missed those days!

2T2J5547

Jerome and Kamal had many experiences and stories about the Sembawang Park/Beach and Kampung Wak Hassan beach area since they grew up in the neighbourhood. Listening to their stories was really amazing and intriguing. They have so much to share their stories with the future generations about the lifestyle and culture in the early days of Singapore’s independence. With modernization taking place around Sembawang Park/Beach and Kampung Wak Hassan area, more private housing units coming up, things would never be the same again.

2T2J5555

Walking up towards the green lush forest in the Kampung Wak Hassan area, Kamal showed us an old gateway and told us about passing by this gateway when he was in Primary School. We saw the old gateway and were amazed, it was still standing there, yet there were no signs or indications that would help us find who was the owner that stayed there. After taking photos, we walked towards the mosque Masjid Petempatan Melayu Sembawang, a historical landmark dating back to the 1960s, it’s probably “the last kampong mosque in Singapore” and let’s keep it this way, preserve the greenery and surroundings. There were two swings tied to the tall trees nearby the mosque and we were like a bunch of kids again, playing on the swing. Jerome, Kamal, Juria and myself couldn’t resist not playing on the swing. It was so fun, my childhood memories flooding back to me, I missed my old childhood playgrounds a lot, that’s why one of my personal projects was discovering and photographing old playgrounds in Singapore.

2T2J5571

Hiking along the road towards Sungei Simpang, the river/canal, there is a park connector nicely built there. Watching the people at the river/canal bed during low tide and digging clams/mussels (I used to do it with my fellow Venture Scouts!), there are still people enjoying the activities that I seen less nowadays. I still remember camping with my fellow Venture Scouts at the mangrove swamp near Jalan Mempurong, where the current Simpang Kiri Park Connector lies.  We used to play at the canal during low tide and it was great fun, carefree and without the stress and pressure of today’s society.

IMG_5544

As we walked back along the road towards the main road and Sembawang Park, we passed by one of the few remaining street name signboards with 4-digit postal code in Singapore. That’s priceless, considering the modern street name signboards don’t have the postal code on it anymore. Reaching Sembawang Park, Jerome and Kamal led us to discovering the roots of Sembawang Park being part of the British Naval Base during her early days.

Do check out Jerome’s posts on Sembawang Park and Kampung Wak Hassan, he has great knowledge and stories about these areas –

Moonscapes – Kampung Wak Hassan Beach

A Final Frontier

Sembawang beyond the slumber 

While we can see some changes happening to Sembawang Park, let’s hope they still can keep most of its original aura and uniqueness, along with her lush greenery and kampong feel. Let’s keep it this way, status quo and preserve something uniquely Singaporean, culturally and historically. We will have our own unique strong heritage and stories to pass on to out future generations of Singaporeans.


Created with Admarket’s flickrSLiDR.

Outdoor and Birding Photography Adventure @ Sungei Ulu Pandan

The Sungei Ulu Pandan Park Connector Network is part of the wider networks of Park Connectors Network managed by National Parks (NParks) Singapore. Our Park Connector Networks is a great idea for people to be able to access to the outdoors for leisure and recreational activities. Some of the Park Connector networks connects the green belt to the community, allowing them to enjoy the outdoors and wildlife spotting.

IMG_5480

This particular network, the Sungei Ulu Pandan segment, is one of my favourite areas due to its proximity to my home (not too far away), it’s part of my childhood growing up years since my former Primary School is just around the corner nearby there and lastly, it’s part of the Old Jurong Line/Green Corridor network that I personally took a strong interest and support in. It’s not just for walking, running and cycling along the Sungei Ulu Pandan Park Connector, it’s great for wildlife photography too!

IMG_4754

I had been there quite a number of  times and slowly exploring the various areas along the Sungei Ulu Pandan, Clementi Woodlands, Community Farm at Clementi and Old Jurong Line (from the Sunset Way pedestrian bridge, heading towards Sunset Way Railway Bridge and heading towards the Ayer Rajah Expressway whereby another smaller Old Railway Bridge of the Old Jurong Line is (the river forms a Y-shaped there before heading towards Pandan Reservoir direction. Here’s a handy map by NParks for your reference! If you love to capture sunsets, walking down along Sungei Ulu Pandan Park Connector does give you the opportunity for a beautiful sunset! Take a leisure stroll and enjoy the quiet time and tranquility of the Green Corridor surroundings.

2T2J5512

2T2J9624

Here are some of the birds and wildlife spotted along Sungei Ulu Pandan, Clementi Woodlands and Old Jurong Line

– Egret family

– Grey Heron

– Purple Heron

– Striated Heron

Brahminy Kite

– Common Kingfisher

– White-Throated Kingfisher

– Collared Kingfisher

– Long-Tailed Parakeet

– Water-Breasted Waterhen

– Slaty-Breasted Rail

– Oriental Dollar bird

– Black-Naped Oriole

– Malayan Monitor Lizard

There are definitely more species of birds and wildlife that I have yet to spot and photograph them! Hopefully, as time goes by, I would be able to fill up more photographs of the bird sightings at Sungei Ulu Pandan in my Flickr collection! Do check out my Clementi Railway Track collection and my adventure when a few of us trekked from Teban Gardens to Sunset Way!

2T2J9585

The photographs and adventures brought back many memories, from trekking along the Old Jurong Line and the Green Corridor that were part of the Sungei Ulu Pandan Park Connector Network, documenting and photographing memories of history, heritage, community and culture. Adding in the wildlife, leisure and recreational memories here sums it up the importance of such places in Singapore!


Created with Admarket’s flickrSLiDR.

Birding Photography Adventure @ Berlayer Creek

My birding and wildlife photography adventure continues on, with my last photography adventure at Lorong Halus Wetland. For this outing, my destination was Berlayer Creek, the park connector segment of the NParks Southern Ridges that connects the whole loop together along with the recent completion of Bukit Chermin Boardwalk and Alexandra Trail. The NParks Park Connectors network is an excellent design and concept that connects many different nature reserves and parks together with trails and roads, excellent for leisure and recreational usage, it’s an area that I would want to share more of our Park Connectors networks, for both the greenery, wildlife, leisure and outdoor recreation features across the whole of Singapore.

2T2J4737

Berlayer Creek, a stream that leads into a mangrove swamp before entering into the sea, is a beautiful space of greenery and wildlife residing inside. It is easily accessible via Labrador Park MRT Station of the Circle Line, the starting point is just beside Labrador Park MRT Station and the boardwalk allows you to have an easy and leisure walk/run towards Bukit Chermin Boardwalk or Labrador Park Nature Reserve. Do check out NParks guide to Labrador Nature and Coastal Walk, it’s very helpful and useful! Before entering/starting on the Berlayer Creek trail, there is a sheltered pavilion and the pavilion roof deck allows the trekkers to have an elevated view of Berlayer Creek. When you are walking down the Berlayer Creek boardwalk, do observe the flora and fauna, as well as the wildlife residing inside. Along the Berlayer Creek boardwalk, there are lookout points that trekkers can rest and relax while enjoying the sceneries. For the wildlife photographers, it’s a great opportunity to wait and observe the wildlife, it’s an amazing place with 60 bird species, 19 species of fish and 14 true mangrove plant species that have been recorded there!

2T2J4732

I waited patiently at each of the lookout points and it was a good outing for me! There were a number of birds being spotted along with some of the wildlife there! Here’s some of those wildlife that I managed to capture when I was there for my birding/wildlife photography adventure!

Oriental Dollarbird

Common Kingfisher

Collared Kingfisher

–  Malayan Water Monitor Lizard

– Giant Mudskipper

Striated Heron

Black-naped Oriole 

IMG_5320

IMG_5322

Walking towards the end of Berlayer Creek, the stream/mangrove enters the sea. This is a beautiful place to relax and enjoy! I had very fond memories of this place because I saw a double rainbow for the very first time in my life on 21st January 2012! I had a fun and relaxing time in the great outdoors with my photography gear and capturing images of wildlife, flora, fauna and sceneries. The nature reserves, parks, trails and park connectors are a great getaway from the hustle and bustle of our fast paced city life. Looking ahead, I am hoping to re-discover and re-explore Singapore’s countrywide nature reserves, parks, trails and park connectors, adding on to my different locations/destinations folders from my Wildlife/Animal Photography collection on Flickr.


Created with Admarket’s flickrSLiDR.

Birding Photography Adventure @ Lorong Halus Wetland

With the introduction and testing of the Canon EF 400mm f/5.6 L lens, loaned to me by my boss/colleague. I slowly got myself more interested in birding/wildlife photography with my current setup suitable for both sports and wildlife photography. Birding and wildlife photography also brought me to more green spaces in Singapore that I wanted to explore again or revisiting those green nature belts/park connectors that I haven’t been to for quite a long time such as Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, a destination that I have to revisit since my last trip there!

2T2J4372

Till date, I covered the following areas near my home for birding and wildlife photography, West Coast Park, Sungei Ulu Pandan Park Connector and Botanic Gardens. There were quite a number of different species of bird residing/visiting both areas mentioned above. My birding photography adventure was fun, quite a bit of waiting, being very observant and quiet, with some decent and nice photographs!

2T2J4444

One area that I was very keen to explore was the Lorong Halus Wetland, part of the National Parks Singapore North Eastern Riverine Loop, this extensive network of park connectors that I haven’t finish exploring. I heard so much about this wetland over time and keen to visit it. On a public holiday Monday morning, my boss/colleague brought me there and showed me where to drive in, where to explore and what to watch out for at Lorong Halus Wetland. The wetland was beside the Serangoon Tidal Gates (dam/barrage) that enclosed Sungei Serangoon. Leading into the sea. This is a very beautiful and tranquil location, greenery on the sides, the river and the sea.

2T2J4488

Since it was my maiden trip to Lorong Halus Wetlands and my emphasis was on birding photography, I didn’t take landscape/travel photos of this beautiful area. I would be planning to visit it again and share more photographs of my birding adventure and the surrounding areas. During this maiden trip to Lorong Halus Wetlands, I managed to spot and photograph the following birds

–       Blue-Tailed Bee-Eater

–       Common Kingfisher

–       Paddyfield Pipit

–       Long-Tailed Shrike

–       Raptor  (ID to be confirmed, it should be from the Buzzard family)

–       Spotted Dove

–       Baya Weaver

–       Grey Heron

There are a lot more species of birds residing and visiting at the Lorong Halus Wetlands, my hope for photographing the raptors around there didn’t materalise since they didn’t fly out to hunt for food (or they might have flew off to their home destination).

2T2J4475

During my short time at Lorong Halus Wetland, I learned a few tips on birding photography from my boss/colleague, an avid bird photographer and photography seniors that I usually chat with at my regular photography shop.

–       Birds are creatures of habits; they would usually be back at their favourite/usual locations.

–       Patience is a must for bird photography.

–       Explore and recce the location on where to camp/position yourself next time when you return for bird photography.

–       Always mount your lens before going in there. You might just spot some birds along the way in (if you are driving).

–       The time frame to photograph the birds is not long, probably a few hours in the early morning from 7am to 10am or late afternoon around 4-6pm (when the weather is not too hot).

–       Don’t make too much noise and talk too loudly, our voices and sound can frighten the birds to fly away and hide.

–       Be very observant and always keep a lookout of the surroundings and skyline.

–       Always be ready to “fire and photograph”

–       Shoot at a high shutter speed (or higher if you prefer) e.g. 1/1000 to freeze the birds in action since their reaction and speed can be very fast.

–       Read up and understand more about the various birds.

–       Consider a tripod or a monopod; both have their pros and cons. It also depends on whether you would be camping at one location or walking around to explore and look for the birds.

–       Have the handy NSS Bird Guide App with you in your smartphone (especially useful and helpful for me to identify the various birds that I photographed)

–       Wear clothes that blend in well with your surroundings e.g. green/brown/khaki clothes.

–       A hat/cap is very useful to provide shade for you from the strong sunlight.

–       A pair of binoculars would be very handy and useful.

–       Be prepared to get wet, muddy and dirty when exploring in the forest, wetlands, swamps etc

–       Do not rush into photographing all the birds in the area, be patient, revisit the location over and over again.

–       Do not destroy habitats or nests of the birds and wildlife.

–     Take only photographs and memories; leave no litter behind, don’t take anything from the natural surroundings. Leave nothing behind but your footsteps only.

2T2J4466

It’s also good to stay up to date with the following groups for more information and updates on the wildlife, nature reserves and birding photography in Singapore, especially on migratory birds arrival

–       National Parks Singapore

–       Nature Society Singapore

–       Birding Singapore

–       Saving Bidadari for Birds and People

–       Nature Photographic Society Singapore

I would be combining bird photography with nature/conservation photography in some areas for the upcoming months in 2013 and I hope that I would be able to share more of my stories and photos here with everybody here. Do take a lookout of my birding photography collection on Flickr and 500px!


Created with Admarket’s flickrSLiDR.

Exploring Kallang Park Connector

It was a sunny day in Singapore today with a clear blue sky and beautiful clouds in the sky, the call of photography was very strong and I was thinking where would be some locations for me to go explore and take photos ? Initially, I thought of Labrador Park for sunset photos, however, after some thoughts, I decided to explore Kallang Park Connector after collecting my New Balance Real Run 2009 race pack at Novena Square.

IMG_1113

Took bus 21 from Novena Square and reached Upper Boon Keng, alighted and started my short exploration and photography adventure of Park Connectors. From NParks Singapore, the Park Connector Network (PCN) is an island-wide network of linear open spaces that link up major parks and nature sites in Singapore, bring Singaporeans closer to nature and parks, for the recreational, leisure  and nature related activities.

IMG_1118

Kallang River is an area of rich heritage and history, from its early days of trade and repair industries, followed by housing development and now, redeveloping into a new era of riverside modern living and water activities. The factories, industrial areas and early days housing were still around, giving it a balance of old and modern Singapore. The route to Bishan Park via the Kallang Park Connector was about 7.6km, however, I didn’t cover all and would continue the remaining at another date and time.

IMG_1124

There were different types of leisure and recreational activities seen along Kallang Park Connector, fishing, cycling, running, walking and family and friends gatherings. An aspect of Singapore life that doesn’t seem to show the hectic pace of Singapore’s lifestyle, a peace and tranquil that I enjoyed throughly in this short hike with my camera. Do drop by and take a look at my Flickr photos !

IMG_1149

I look forward to explore more Park Connector Networks across Singapore, either by foot or bicycle, capturing them on photos, enjoying the fun, leisure and nature, sharing with my photojournalistic and travel adventures in heartland Singapore !