Bukit Panjang Town to celebrate its heritage at Chingay parade

SINGAPORE - Mr Chai Chon Fah fondly recalls the days in Zhenghua village when family and friends would gather at 'pasar malams' (night markets) to enjoy the food and atmosphere.

"It was a place where young boys could meet young girls," he says with a smile.

Now at 58 years old, the longstanding Bukit Panjang resident is the Chairman of Zhenghua Citizens' Consultative Committees.

His anecdote about life in the town is one of many which will be featured in an exhibition titled The Story of Bukit Panjang.

The local community has rallied together to create a 20-panel photo exhibition of its residents' memories. It will be displayed at the Chingay @ Bukit Panjang festival next Sunday, March 15.

In conjunction with Singapore's 50th birthday, more than 1,500 residents, students, teachers, grassroots leaders and representatives from agencies have worked together to make Chingay @ Bukit Panjang a special one.

Also to feature at the parade will be the 50m-long Bukit Panjang Golden Dragon - the longest "dragon" made of plastic flowers in the Singapore Book of Records.

About 12,000 residents are expected to watch the parade, which will also move through the Zhenghua, Cashew and Bukit Panjang districts.

Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, MP for Holland-Bukit Timah GRC, says that as Bukit Panjang progresses, it should still "continue to be a family-centred town".

"Despite all the transformation, there are names and sights that people can still identify with," he said. "This is home."

rtan@sph.com.sg