Bukit Merah—literally ‘red hill’— is a town with a name deeply rooted in its history, after red soil was discovered in the hilly areas around Henderson and Lengkok Bahru. There, resident Sarminah shares her life with her childhood sweetheart, raising four children in a 4-room HDB flat at Jalan Membina, just a stone’s throw away from her parents’ home in Redhill Close.
“My parents have lived in Redhill Close for as long as I can remember—it was their first and only home and it was where my siblings and I grew up. After I got married, I also decided to settle down in Bukit Merah to be close to my parents,” Sarminah explains.
“My late grandmother used to live at Henderson Road which isn’t far away, and my siblings and I visited her often. In fact, some of my favourite childhood memories was of playing with them at the pelican playground nearby. The neighbourhood has since changed with the development of City Vue @ Henderson. The new playground looks great, as there is a slide, swing, and balance beam—so many options for kids to play and be imaginative!”
Refreshing the Town Centre
Bukit Merah, together with Choa Chu Kang, Ang Mo Kio, and Queenstown, was announced as the latest towns to be comprehensively rejuvenated under the Remaking Our Heartland (ROH) programme. Bukit Merah is envisioned as an urban heartland rich with greenery and heritage where residents can live close to the city while enjoying all that nature offers.
Under ROH, Bukit Merah Town Centre will undergo a makeover to become even more attractive and comfortable for residents. Plans include a larger sheltered event space for community gatherings and an upgraded pedestrian mall with more seating and play areas, which Sarminah is very excited about.
“I still remember the smell of street food from the pasar malam stalls lining up along Bukit Merah Town Centre when I was growing up. My siblings and I saved up our pocket money, and we would treat ourselves to different foods. It was such a great memory. Hopefully there will be more events at the refreshed Town Centre so I can create new memories of Bukit Merah together with my own family,” she smiles.
Connecting with Nature
Beyond improvements to the Town Centre, Bukit Merah’s green spaces will also be made more accessible to residents under ROH. For example, there will be new pocket parks and cycling paths that will connect the Town Centre to the scenic Rail Corridor, bringing green spaces closer to residents. This is good news for nature and fitness enthusiasts like Sarminah and her family.
“When my children were younger, we spent a lot of time cycling around Tiong Bahru Park,” Sarminah recalls. “Now we cycle much further to East Coast Park, Ang Mo Kio/ Bishan Park and even all the way to Jurong Lake Gardens through Ulu Pandan Park Connector. We definitely welcome new routes and paths that will let us get close to nature,” Sarminah says.
Making Bukit Merah Town More Senior-Friendly
Sarminah also shares that her parents enjoy going to Tiong Bahru Park for brisk walks, and says the proposed new pocket parks and exercise areas will help seniors keep their minds and bodies healthy. Parks within Bukit Merah will also see additions like therapeutic gardens and exercise areas, providing more opportunities for healthy living and socialising for all ages.
Other senior-friendly upgrades are also in the works, such as refreshed common spaces with sheltered walkways, ramps, and seating. Improved signage and colourful murals will also facilitate wayfinding for the elderly.
“I have made countless memories in Bukit Merah over the last 30 years or so, and am really looking forward to how this town will further transform under ROH. I’m very excited, because this is likely where I’ll forever call home!” Sarminah laughs.