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Treasure hunt: Clementi

Uncover things you never knew about the Clementi area, including the 24-hour Polyart Aquarium, Singapore's very first condo and cool art pieces.

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Clementi MRT

Art to admire

Take Exit A and head south-east on Commonwealth Avenue West. Keeping Clementi Mall on your right, walk on for a minute and turn right just before the Maybank on your right, which takes you into the town centre. Immediately on your right, you’ll see a series of water droplet-like metallic sculptures, which were created by local artist Chua Boon Kee and installed at the beginning of 2011. A few of them used to dot the walkway area where the public could easily interact with them, but the artist was asked to transfer them to a more shaded area a few months later as the government was worried that the metal would heat up under the sun and become too much of a risk to the public. Although the cost of $1,500 to move these sculptures was borne by a firm that manages HDB projects, the artist was reportedly upset by the move.
Q: How many pieces of Chua’s sculpture are up on the pillars?

Fuel up and kick off

Keep walking and you’ll see an open public market (daily 9am-9pm), which sells everything from clothes to potted plants to Chinese New Year decorations, followed by Clementi 448 Market and Food Centre (Blk 448 Clementi Ave 3), where you can grab a quick bite before going on the trek. We recommend Soon Lee Porridge (#01- 50, $2.70-$3/bowl) among some of the other stalls that boast long queues. Follow the market to the end and you’ll find yourself at the back of home appliances store Courts – turn right and continue along the row of shops on your right (Blk 446) and down some steps until you hit Clementi Avenue 3. Turn left and walk southeast – straight ahead, you’ll see Clementi Stadium (10 West Coast Walk) on your right. Opened in 1983, the stadium holds a capacity of about 4,000 and was recently used for rallies by the Reform Party during the 2011 elections. It’ll host a few soccer games for the local S.League; it is also the temporary home stadium for the Tampines Rovers FC, the 2012 league champions.
Q: What colourful feature sits beside the stadium on the left, towards the east?

One pound fish

Walk up the steps next to the dark blue entrance of the stadium and past Clementi Swimming Complex (520 Clementi Ave 3), then follow the path north that curves left past the small playground area, along the swimming complex, until you hit Clementi Avenue 2 (you’ll know when you see an overhead bridge ahead). Continue north past the intersection (under the MRT rails) on Commonwealth Avenue West and you’ll see an estate with big grey and yellow buildings on your left. Work your way into the estate, turning left just before Block 330, then walk a little more and you’ll reach Block 328, a fourstory HDB, home to the legendary Polyart Aquarium (#01-194, Blk 328, 6775 4773; daily 24 hrs) founded by fish lover Mr Ong Swee Hin – it’s open 24 hours daily and Mr Ong claims to have never closed even for a day in its decade-long existence.
Q: What’s the car park number of the electronic car park just before Block 330?

For the rest of our walks, click here or the 'Treasure hunt' tag above

Find shelter at the mosque

Continue walking east through the carpark along Block 363. You’ll see the back of the Masjid Darussalam Mosque on your right. Built in 1989, the mosque can accommodate up to 3,000 worshippers and is notably one of the only mosques in Singapore to open for 24 hours a day. As such, it often gets requests from the poor, homeless or destitute – and even some desperate tourists – asking for a roof over their heads; while the Masjid Darussalam doesn’t provide permanent shelter, they will often let needy people stay for a short period of time. The mosque is also home to a large collection of Islamic literature, and provides a variety of classes to Muslims living in the neighbourhood.
Q: Walk around to the front of the mosque – there’s a flowerbed to the left of main entrance. What unique object is used as one of the plant supports?

Fun in the sun

From the back of Masjid Darussalam, walk towards the grassy area on the north side of the carpark. To your right (on the north side of Block 367), you’ll see a beach volleyball court, which was constructed in 2005 when the Volleyball Association of Singapore decided to bring the sport to the heartlands (they also introduced courts in Bishan and Hougang a few years later). Although a sign next to it cautions that the court is there only temporarily and will be reclaimed if the land is needed for development, there are no plans to remove the facility any time soon, and it is still available for the public to rent from the Clementi CC (call 6779 0334 to reserve; court rental costs $10 for one hour and $15 for two). Nearby in Block 354 is the Brewer’s Craft bottle shop where you can refresh yourself with the wide range of craft brews available.
Q: How many blue benches are on each side of the beach volleyball court?

First of its kind

Keep going past the beach volleyball and football courts and walk down some stairs to get to Clementi Road. Turn left on the road and keep going north for seven minutes to cross the river, then turn right onto Ulu Pandan Road and continue for another eight minutes until you see Pandan Valley condominium on your right. Designed by architect and new President’s Design Award winner Tan Cheng Siong, this is Singapore’s first condo (built in 1979).
Q: According to the sign there, what is the speed limit for cars when entering Pandan Valley (the road)?

To get home

Instead of turning into Pandan Valley, continue along Ulu Pandan Road and you will eventually see the condo’s main entrance, with a row of shops and restaurants housed along the front block. Have yourself a well-deserved, home-cooked meal at The French Ladle (2 Pandan Valley). When you’re done, just cross the pedestrian bridge to the other side of the road. Hop on buses 61, 75 or 165, and you’ll reach Holland Village MRT, just four stops away.

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