Yishun art trail gets third installation, this time tracing history of area's food heritage

Nee Soon GRC MP Lee Bee Wah (right) and Nee Soon Town Council member Alex Lee posing with a mural depicting Goodlink Park, near Sembawang Road, on Aug 19, 2018. PHOTO: DIOS VINCOY JR FOR THE STRAITS TIMES
Nurses from Yishun Community Hospital, who were volunteering for a litter-picking exercise, posing for a wefie with the mural. PHOTO: DIOS VINCOY JR FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

SINGAPORE - Many may know the Goodlink Park area in Yishun for its present-day food fare such as Chong Pang Nasi Lemak and Gin Thye Cake Shop, but the area's food heritage actually goes back several decades.

To capture that, Nee Soon South Community Club commissioned a mural which shows an outdoor eatery, with stalls lined side by side and customers having their meals on wooden tables and stools. It is located under a pavilion at Goodlink Park Playground, off Sembawang Road.

The 4m by 2m mural, which depicts Goodlink Park in the 1960s, also features the Chinese characters for "Yishun" scrawled on a signboard.

To commemorate the unveiling on Sunday morning (Aug 19), Ms Lee Bee Wah, an MP for Nee Soon GRC, painted numbers on the registration plate of a car in the mural.

She wrote in red, S2018N - S for Singapore, 2018 for the year of the mural's unveiling, and N for Nee Soon.

The mural is the third piece in Nee Soon South's public art initiative. Since 2016, the constituency has been adding an art piece every year, to tell the history of the area.

Ms Lee told The Straits Times that the inspiration for the art trail came from Sheffield Town in Tasmania, Australia, which is known for its murals.

"People go to Sheffield... just to look at the murals," she said.

"I hope that slowly, we can transform Yishun in the same way. All these murals will tell the story of Nee Soon South, and it can also attract visitors."

In 2016, a pineapple structure was installed at Block 850 Yishun Street 81 to commemorate the area's history as a pineapple plantation. Last year, a mural was painted at Block 776 Yishun Avenue 2 depicting a scene in the Lee Teck Public School, which used to be located there.

About 150 people, including volunteers and residents of the constituency, witnessed the launch on Sunday of the latest addition to the art trail.

They also took part in a monthly litter-picking exercise around the estate, dressed in red and white, in celebration of Singapore's recent 53rd National Day.

The Goodlink Park area used to be a kampung, but has since been developed over the decades into a private housing estate.

The Gin Thye Cake Shop, a traditional Teochew bakery popular with couples who are getting married, has been operating in the area since 1964, back when it was still a kampung.

It moved to its current location at Sembawang Road in 1978. Mr Lawrence Lim, 44, second-generation owner of the shop, said in Mandarin: "It is a privilege for my family to be able to play a significant part in the heritage of this area."

"I grew up in this area. In fact, the kampung we lived in is where the Housing Board Blocks 800 and so on now stand. This area has really changed so much in the last 40 years or so."

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