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History of Upper Changi Road at Bedok
Bedok is a mature estate and a planning area in Tanah Merah, Singapore’s East Region. Being home to over 280,000 residents, Bedok ranks as the largest planning area in the country. It borders Marine Parade to the southwest, Geylang to the west, Tampines to the northeast, Hougang to the northwest, Paya Lebar to the north, and the Singapore Strait on the south and southeast.
The name Bedok existed even before the arrival of Sir Stamford Raffles. Bedok is captured in Manuel Godinho de Erédia’s 1604 map of Singapore as Sune Bodo now Sungei Bedok referring to the Bedok River. Badok S. (Sungei Bedok) is also recorded in the 1828 Jackson / Crawfurd Map of Singapore, the first comprehensive map of Singapore.
It is believed that the name Bedok is derived from the Malay word Bedoh, a huge drum that alerted people for prayers in the mosque that existed in the area. Since most Malay words end with a k, Bedoh became Bedok. Another theory, less popular, claims that Bedok comes from biduk, a Malay word for a small fishing boat common in the area because of the many fishing villages.
Being part of Tanah Merah, Bedok’s history is influenced by its coastal location. Around 1819, after colonisation by the British, the main inhabitants of Bedok were the Malay and Chinese. Coconut farming and fishing were the main economic activities practised in the area until around the 1960s.
In 1966, the development of a new Bedok took off with land reclamation works. The Housing and Development Board (HDB) started constructing new houses in 1973, making Bedok Singapore’s fifth self-contained town by 1975.
Newer roads like Bedok Highway, Bedok Plain and Bedok Heights were subsequently built in 1975 to improve connectivity. The construction of the New Upper Changi Road followed in 1979. Kaki Bukit, and Bedok Reservoir developments were also opened by 1988.
From its humble beginning, Bedok has transformed into a matured residential estate through the years. The lively neighbourhood is home to a mix of modern amenities and attractive nature spots. Several developments like Bedok Integrated Transport Hub, Bedok Interchange Hawker Centre, and Bedok Mall have been injected into the area courtesy of the Remaking Our Heartland (ROH) programme targeting the East Coast area.
The deep excavation works to provide material for land reclamation resulted in Bedok Reservoir. It has been revamped into a peaceful getaway from the busy town centre. The reservoir is also a perfect place for recreation and exercise.
Future residents can expect exciting additions in Bedok courtesy of the government’s efforts to make the neighbourhood more livable. Bedok is the ultimate residential area for anyone looking for unmatched convenience and excellent connectivity to important parts of Singapore with everything close by.