Nee Soon, or Yishun in Chinese, is an estate rich in culture, tradition and heritage.
Of the many places of interest, Yishun Park and Yishun Pond are the most iconic and recognisable among our residents.
Yishun Park, which is along Yishun Ring Road, is central, easily accessible and has many facilities for communal activities for families, friends and neighbours.
Activities start as early as 5am, with many exercise groups congregating in the area.
I usually join the large qigong group or aerobics dancers. Qigong helps me to relax and harness inner energy and, along the way, I pick up many useful Chinese phrases from the practitioners.
Today, Yishun Pond is still a local "pak-tor" area, but it has grown to be more than just a pathway. Residents often have dinner at Northpoint, watch a movie there, and then take a leisurely stroll around the pond.
While qigong helps me relax, the aerobics group keeps me energised throughout the day. Even though some of the residents in this group are elderly, they are super energetic. Sometimes, I find myself trying to keep up with their routine.
In the evenings, people are usually taking a stroll or jogging. Sometimes, school students or couples just gather there to spend time together.
In this way, this space is more than just a park, because it brings people together and holds many precious memories for Nee Soon residents.
Yishun Park is incomplete without mentioning Yishun Pond. The MPs here worked very hard to secure funding to rejuvenate the entire area.
It is not an ordinary water catchment area, and has now become a lifestyle spot.
Prior to its renovation in 2006, it was a pathway for residents to Yishun MRT station or Northpoint shopping centre. On occasion, children might be there catching fishes or couples would use it as a "pak-tor" (date) location.
Today, Yishun Pond is still a local "pak-tor" area, but it has grown to be more than just a pathway.
Residents often have dinner at Northpoint, watch a movie there, and then take a leisurely stroll around the pond.
The pond area is also now popular with photography and nature enthusiasts because you get nice scenic views with plenty of wildlife and greenery. A lot of environmental websites also feature photos of Yishun Pond.
Residents appreciate the ability to get closer to nature within their modern urban estate. They even stroll around the area well past midnight.
Patients at the nearby Khoo Teck Puat Hospital also tell me they are very happy that their recovery wards come with the stunning pond view.
Yishun Park and Yishun Pond are connected by an 84m elevated bridge. We've made sure that the walk on the bridge is barrier-free so all our residents can use it.
The vantage point on the bridge provides a spectacular view of Yishun Pond. It has also become a popular spot for many to take wedding photographs.
When I'm up there, I feel very happy to see the transformation we have made happen, and it is all thanks to the support we have received from our residents.
Nee Soon is a place we call home. It is deeply rooted with the kampung spirit but, at the same time, is a town built for the future. The most important thing is that our residents will always be at the heart of all the exciting plans we have ahead for Nee Soon.
- The writer is a Member of Parliament (Nee Soon GRC)