Sunday, April 18, 2010

Singapore MRT Stories: The Circle Line Journey

My family and I were among the first commuters to experience the Circle Line commute on its opening day yesterday. We commenced our Circle Line journey at Paya Lebar MRT station towards Dhoby Ghaut. The ride was smooth, though at certain stations, the duration for the train doors to close was a tad long, however, it was not a problem at all.

The ride was similar to the North-East line MRT ride as the rides on both lines were wholly underground. Enroute, we were treated to the spectacular designs of some platforms.

Our destination was not Dhoby Ghaut but Dakota MRT station, which was just one station away from Paya Lebar MRT station. Our purpose to Dhoby Ghaut was to experience the Circle Line ride (for a bit longer time) and I am sure many Singaporeans were just like us, with a slew of them lugging their cameras, ready to zap any interesting finds of the Circle Line on the opening day.

As the train stopped at Nicoll Highway station, I was struck with a poignant feeling and so was a mother of two sitting right in front of me. She shared exactly the same feeling as me as she recounted the tragedy of the Nicoll Highway collapse right at this station on 20 Apr 2004 to her two young girls: On that fateful day, a tunnel under construction at this station gave way and collapsed. A courageous foreman, Heng Yeow Peow, who was working in the area could have escaped unscathed, however he went back to the collapsed area to rescue more workers under his watch and became buried forever in the construction site! His heroic feat became a legend for Singaporeans and whenever there is a mention of Nicoll Highway station, Singaporeans will remember the Nicoll Highway tragedy, Mr Heng Yeow Peow and his heroic deeds.

It was reported in the newpapers today that Mr Heng’s surviving wife specially took a ride and visited Nicoll Highway station yesterday. Not that she wanted to visit, the acute pain of losing her husband still lingered in her hearts till today. Any mention of Nicoll Highway brings tears to her. It was with great courage that she visited Nicoll Highway station just to take a look so that she could relay to her husband the success of the station which he has helped to overseas, as it was reported. She has also expressed her wish that the relevant authorities could set up a memorial statue in memory of Mr Heng Yeow Peow. I supported Mrs Heng’s proposal. The Nicoll Highway incident will always be remembered by Singaporeans and a memorial statue or plaque to commemorate Mr Heng will be appreciated.

Finally, we arrived at Dakota MRT station. And for Singaporean who are food connoisseurs, you would have known where my family and I were headed for! That is right: Old Airport Road Hawker Centre! We had a feast there at this incredibly clean and spacious award winning hawker centre. We dined in to our hearts’ content the famous Rojak, the Char Kway Teow, sugarcane juice, desserts and more! Now with Dakota MRT station, Singaporeans have closer proximity to best food, the art and historical belt as well as the shopping districts in the city!

I am starting with a new label called the Singapore MRT stories and stay tuned as I shared with you more on what happens in our MRT trains everyday, right here on Singapore Short Stories!

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