I had a very strange encounter with a buyer yesterday. Something that she mumbled to me got me pondering if what she had said does makes any sense at all.
The words uttered to me was, "I'm gonna buy this place because I know the Government is going to do something about this place!" (From her facial expression, you could tell that it must be something good.)
Yah! Right! I thought to myself. If it is true, why tell me BEFORE buying the place? Why not tell me AFTER you secure the unit.
My skepticism kicks in. I was already quite cheese off with the fact that this buyer tried to by pass me by going to my seller directly. Luckily my clients are people with a HEART and they contacted me about this unexpected buyer who pop up at their door. I had to drop everything I was doing and rush down to the unit to guide this buyer through the flat.
It was halfway through the viewing that this buyer uttered those words. Being one who is excessively curious (the unglam word is KAY POH ), I kept probing to find out what she meant. I guess she is probably the best tease in Tiong Bahru. I just cannot squeeze out any information from her. It is like she has taken the oath of secrecy and the information she had are the STATE's official secrets. Breath a word and you die!
So no cheque, no offers, no attempt to negotiate or whatsoever, and no answers to my questions, she left.
In the evening, I received an email from a fellow agent who has a unit for sale in Tiong Bahru. In his email, it contain something....."hearsay that the garmen is naming Tiong Bahru the Heritage Town"
Wham! Is this what it is all about? Could this be the piece of information that lady was struggling with? Maybe yes, maybe not.
I googled HERITAGE TOWN and all possible combination of the words but I found nothing conclusive. I was probably googling for more than 1 hour. By then I was too tired and furthermore, I had to lend a listening ear to my friend who is kinda frustrated with office politics. So I logged off and forgot about the whole thing and my attention shifted to my friend's woes.
Fast forward to this evening. While talking to a friend's friend, potential buyer and Tiong Bahru 'sample" resident turned Tiong Bahru Permanent Resident, I popped the question on what he thinks about the possibility of Tiong Bahru becoming a Heritage Town.
Without hesitation, he said it is possible. One sentence from him kinda lit up the light bulb in my head. "The entire Tiong Bahru Estate was built by the British!" "It is one of a kind in Singapore and despite it being built so long ago, it remains relevant and practical to the current generation." (He said something to that effect lah,).
As he is quite well travelled, he said he has not come across something like this in the region. Even Hong Kong, being a British colony for the longest time, does not have an entire town preserved or conserved.(Facts need to be verified).
Wow! That never crossed my mind. The entire Tiong Bahru estate was really built by the British Administration! Even the Post War SIT flats were built by them! Now there are even more reasons to extend the conservation status to the HDB POST WAR 50's SIT Flats.
I always felt the 2 sections compliments each other like Siamese twins. Tearing down the HDB section is unthinkable to me. If that happens, that will really make Tiong Bahru lose her charm and character.
So the next time you walk around Tiong Bahru, I really hope that you can begin to see, feel and appreciate the beauty and historical value of this place.
And Oh.....never never never never tell me you are buying this place because you hearsay from someone who works for HDB, URA, TOWN COUNCIL, RESIDENT'S COMMITTEE, people in high places or MPs etc etc etc, that the HDB side of Tiong Bahru will go for SERS (Selective En-bloc Redevelopment Scheme). I know some of you can articulate those sentences with a deep seated convictions.
But if you really cannot help it and really do blurt out those questions to me, I really hope you are DEAD WRONG.
There can be many faceless buildings in Singapore BUT there is only ONE Tiong Bahru.
Leave it alone!