I registered for a medical talk at Ng Teng Fong Hospital at 1 pm in the afternoon. I decided to walk from Alexandra to Jurong East via the Rail Corridor and the Ulu Pandan Park Connector. I had exploited the Rail Corridor on several occasions but this is the first time I am venturing into the Ulu Pandan Park Connector.
The North Bank of the Ulu Pandan Park Connector starts from Commonwealth Avenue opposite Buona Vista MRT station and branches out from Blk 14 Ghim Moh Estate. When I was working at Ulu Pandan Neighbourhood Police Post in the 1990s, I had performed bicycle patrols along this park connector all the way to Clementi Road. But I was shocked to see today that the facade of the connector had totally changed and the connector now stretches all the way to Clementi and Jurong East. The entire infrastructure has been upgraded and widened and is so clean and modern with bridges connecting both sides of the canal.
I saw one old matured Bodhi tree with thick aerial roots and I wondered if it was transplanted here by NPARKS as I had not seen one when I patrolled here in the 90s. The connector passes Mount Sinai private estate and there is a side detour route to Dover MRT station where you can access the toilet facilities at the station. I also noticed that the upcoming Dover Forest BTO project will be around this vicinity and this park connector will benefit the new residents. Somewhere from Mount Sinai to Clementi Road, there are covered sheltered walkway on one side of the canal probably proposed by the Mount Sinai residents.
After crossing the busy and noisy Clementi Road and continued my walk along the connector, I saw two special landmarks along this route. First is the Van Kleef Centre located at one side of the bank of the river. This Van Kleef Centre is a water research facility operated by NUS and the centre is named after the Dutch business man Karl Willem Benjamin van Kleef, whose bequest was used to fund the construction of the Van Kleef Aquarium.
Further down the Van Kleef Aquarium is the abandoned iron cast black colored Jurong Railway Track Bridge which resembled the Bukit Timah Truss Bridge. The Jurong Railway line was constructed in 1963 to connect the Jurong Industrial areas with Malaysia so that goods from the industrial areas can be transported easily to Malaysia via the railway line. However, over the years, this railway line was found to be underutilised as businesses found it more economical and convenient to use trucks than the train to convey goods and eventually, the Jurong Railway line was demolished in 1992. Remnants of the railway line still remained and found them while walking from the connector to Blk 301 Clementi.
The reason why I detoured from the park connector to Blk 301 Clementi housing estate is because the park connector was closed here due to a landslide and I could not make my way to Jurong East from here. Thus, I had to ply along Boon Lay Way where I passed the Clementi Fire Station, the Singapore Buddhist Youth Mission temple, Trade Hub 21, Chevrons before reaching Ng Teng Fong General Hospital (NTFGH).
The journey took me more than 2 hours but I was rewarded with the sumptuous buffet catered at the auditorium by NTFGH and an enlightening talk on Colorectal Cancer by the doctors. It was quite scary to hear that male Chinese Singaporeans topped in global statistic for colorectal cancer. When I asked the doctor what were the contributing factors, she named smoking, alcohol and processed meats but she was quick to add that a sedentary lifestyle is also an important contributing factor.