App way to learn about 2 HDB towns

A cyclist at Bedok Reservoir on April 10, 2016.
A cyclist at Bedok Reservoir on April 10, 2016. ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

Residents of Bedok and Punggol will have a new mobile app to help them discover more about their towns by the middle of this year.

The Housing Board (HDB) said it is developing the app to encourage community cohesion. If response is good, it might be extended to other HDB towns.

The app will come with games and quizzes, through which users can learn about the landmarks and history of their towns, said the HDB. The free app will be available for Android and iOS devices.

  • Hot spots in Bedok and Punggol

  • The new mobile app by HDB will feature different places in Bedok and Punggol. Here are some interesting spots in each of the estates:

    Bedok

    BEDOK RESERVOIR

    Once a sand quarry, this breezy area was turned into a reservoir in 1986 to meet the demand for fresh water. In 2004, it was opened for water activities including wakeboarding, waterskiing, sailing and canoeing. It was also a venue for the 28th Sea Games in June last year.

    SIMPANG BEDOK

    Foodies are spoilt for choice at this bustling eating area which has a variety of cuisines, including Mediterranean and Indian , and dishes from ayam penyet to roti prata. Many locals head there to satisfy their late-night cravings.

    BEDOK JETTY

    This 250m stretch at East Coast Park used to be Singapore's longest public jetty before the completion of Woodlands Waterfront in 2010. The Bedok Jetty is popular with anglers, cyclists and joggers.

  • Punggol

    PUNGGOL

    PUNGGOL BEACH

    Once termed as "Singapore's slaughter beach", this quiet spot near the Punggol Jetty was one of the massacre grounds during the Japanese Occupation. About 400 Chinese civilians were shot there by Japanese troops on Feb 28, 1942. The beach is listed as a historical site.

    PUNGGOL WATERWAY PARK

    Also known as the "Venice of Punggol", the 4.2km waterway connecting Serangoon and Punggol reservoirs was built in 2011. The park around it boasts walking and cycling paths, bridges and breathtaking views.

    MATILDA HOUSE

    This six-bedroom, red-tiled bungalow was built in 1902 along the old Punggol seaside by wealthy landowner Alexander Cashin. Although the building was named after his mother, it was a gift to his wife. His father, Joseph Cashin, was the first Eurasian millionaire in Singapore. The house later fell into disuse and inspired stories of hauntings. Earmarked for conservation, the bungalow was recently converted into a clubhouse in A Treasure Trove, a condominium development.

    Yeo Sam Jo

According to tender documents on government procurement website GeBiz, the app will support functions such as photo-taking, video and audio recording, and playbacks. It can be used in two modes: a learning self-guided journey trail and a competitive race trail.

The self-guided option will include at least 25 hot spots and 10 games and quizzes.

The other mode will come with a time-tracking function, allowing users to form competing teams and race against one another to complete tasks at at least 10 different stations. Points will be awarded for each station and results of the race can be shared on social media and via e-mail.

An HDB spokesman said: "This is part of our larger effort of building active and cohesive communities."

She added that Bedok and Punggol were chosen as pilots for the app as they are among the towns undergoing the Remaking Our Heartland programme.

The HDB scheme, started in 2007, aims to spruce up public housing estates through new facilities.

Other towns under this programme include Dawson, Yishun, Hougang, Jurong Lake, Toa Payoh, Woodlands and Pasir Ris.

The upcoming app is similar to HDB's SG Heart Map Tours. Launched last year, the mobile app's themed trails allow the public to learn about facets of Singapore, such as its parks and food.

Graduate researcher and Bedok resident Joy Goh-Mah, 27, described the new app as a "cool concept". She hopes it will help her pick up knowledge on sites that she is not familiar with. "Too often, we focus so much on what there is to do in town that we miss what's happening at our doorstep," she said.

MP for Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC Sun Xueling said she hopes the new app will include a mix of nature, and historical and lifestyle spots.

"The app will be an engaging way for young residents in Punggol to learn more about their town. Hopefully, this will bring to life and give meaning to their surroundings and increase their attachment to Punggol," said Ms Sun.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 11, 2016, with the headline 'App way to learn about 2 towns'. Print Edition | Subscribe