That’s the tagline for this year’s National Day. And it perhaps does ring true for many Singaporeans, as one could clearly see from the stories, snippets and anecdotes the 10 bloggers participating in iProperty’s blogging contest have to say.
Like neat little strips of film negatives, each HDB flat contains stories of childhood, growing up, marriage, birth of a whole new generation and of both good times and bad. Most importantly, every HDB flat, no matter how small or big, tells of the Singapore story. The HDB story.
Some grew up with the HDB scheme, having been born just as Singapore too grew into its own. They shared the kampong spirit which many who lived in the early HDB flats spoke of, and which blogger, Smith, too experienced in his Chai Chee neighbourhood. Playing with the neighbour’s kids was a daily affair and many would have shared the same sort of afternoons which you wished could have lasted longer. Chesabell recalls spending her primary school days in a 3-room HDB flat with her parents, sister, great-grandmother, aunt, uncle and maid. It may be amazing how so many people could have lived in a seemingly small space. But precisely because of space, relationships grew strong and lasted longer.
Or maybe like Phan Kiah Gek, who would not have wished to move away from her 4-room HDB flat even if she could, simply because of the memories it held, you may have made friends at block parties and bought ice pops on a sweltering day for just a penny. And as Singapore continues to grow, and as the government promises to provide affordable housing for Singaporeans, young couples are looking forward to spending their future and building a forever home in their new HDB flats.
What dreams do they have? Of meeting Mr. or Mrs. Right perhaps? To blogger, Maybeline Sim, the HDB flat represents a beginning ofr a new life ahead. Of finding the right spot for their first home, HDB flat or not. Of designing and making a cosy nest to call their own just like Mitsueki and Joey Ong. A nest where young uns will one day run free and happy, and like the old days, make friends with neighbours, old and new. Blogger, Andy Lee has already been doing that in Sengkang, with his wife and four children.
What of those who choose to live alone then? Now that new 2-room HDB flats are made available to singles above 35-years, some like blogger, Soh Hong Wei, may be looking forward to having his own plants in the corridor and watching them grow. It could very well be a way to carry on the HDB dream, where home ownership for every Singaporean is one of the noble aims of the government. And as Meryl Loh observes, the convenience of traveling around Singapore is made all the easier with covered walkways and bus-stops close by.
And no one can refute the uniqueness of the HDB void deck. It might just be one of the things which foreigners find amazing about Singapore’s public housing design, muses blogger, Sakura of NinjaGirls.com. A common area where weddings, funerals, soccer games, chess games and overnight chat sessions take place. And of course the ubiquitous hanging of the Singapore flag during the National Day period adds a touch of patriotism to the HDB estates.
As new HDB flats come up and old ones are resold, the constant that remains are the stories that each family has to tell. Follow these 10 bloggers as they tell it as it is, as they share their life stories, and their hopes and dreams for the future.