The northeastern part of Singapore consists of the following towns: Serangoon, Kovan, Hougang, Sengkang and Punggol. Originally a settlement with a large population of Teochew-speaking Chinese in early Singapore. This district enjoys great connectivity to the city centre and other parts of Singapore, thanks to the MRT network and public buses. Punggol is being developed into a large town, with the Punggol Promenade and Waterway being the anchor attraction that promote salubrious living for residents and some of the best nature experiences in Singapore on offer. Serangoon has become the de facto hub of the Northeast due to it being the most convenient place to reach via two MRT lines serving it and a large integrated bus interchange. It has a large shopping mall called NEX, and a short distance away is a heartland where neighbourhood shops still operate to serve the populace around the area. Sengkang is classified as a New Town, and is largely similar to Hougang.
Northeast Singapore as a region has largely had a commercial history, with basic trade and agricultural activities in areas that were more populated. In Punggol for example, there used to be pig farms where local farmers bred local livestock. Developmental plans following the election of the incumbent political party led to land reclassification. A reason for this was the water pollution being caused by discharge of animal waste from these farms. But this is a past that no longer is seen in Punggol, let alone most of Singapore.
Among the different Singaporeans that resided in the region, interestingly many local Chinese stayed around the area today known as Hougang. A prominent marker of the growing Teochew population staying here is reflected in the setting up of the Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, a Roman Catholic church established in the 1800s by foreign missionaries. These missionaries aimed to reach out to the inhabitants of Hougang. The church still stands today and even has a statue donated by Sultan Ibraham of Johor.
Today, Northeast Singapore is a largely self-contained region where housing, retail and recreational facilities ensure that residents need not move out of the area much. High rise public housing buildings can be seen over most of the region, alongside private condominium apartments. There may be occasional areas where landed housing is found, but these are not the norm.
Politically, Northeast Singapore is interesting as it is represented in different parts by both the ruling and the only opposition party in the Singapore Parliament. The former is the People’s Action Party with representation in Punggol, Sengkang and parts of Serangoon. The Members of Parliament are elected under the following constituencies: Sengkang West Single Member Constituency (SMC), Pasir Ris-Punggol Group Representation Constituency (GRC), Ang Mo Kio GRC and Marine Parade GRC. The Worker’s Party represents parts of Hougang and Serangoon under the Aljunied Group Representation Constituency (GRC). Evidently, electoral constituencies largely do not coincide with geographical lines. This points to the difficulties associated with defining the latter. But by and large, the boundaries of Northeast Singapore are largely those reflected at the start of this page entry. Election season every few years are exciting activities that residents in the region are probably very excited by – owing to the significance associated with opposition challenges to existing PAP constituencies.