Sunday, November 21, 2010

sengkang riverside walk

when my group picked it as the venue for this saturday's walk, i realised that it would be my first visit to the place. ever looking for new terrain to cover, we decided to explore the newly opened sengkang riverside park. as with all new parks, which do not have mature trees to offer the protection from the elements, especially the sun, it is best to have the walk early in the morning or in the later part of the evening.

if you drive, it is not a big problem to get to anchorvale street where the visitors' centre is located. a discovery for me is that you could get to punggol by way of jalan kayu. when you are on jalan kayu, after passing the ubin thai temple on your right, look out for the turning into sengkang east way. a short distance into sengkang east way, turn left at the junction into fernvale street. you will drive past two light rail transit (lrt) stations - thanggam and kupang - before you reach the visitors' centre on the left.

this is the visitors' centre with the free public car-park next to it. you can opt to coupon park at the anchorvale community club, which is located across the road from the centre. we toured the community club and the sports and recreation centre. the swimming complex has the usual children's pool with slides and tubes. what really make us envious of the residents of punggol and sengkang are two olympic-sized pools - one outdoor and one indoor. the adjacent sports complex has poligras olympia hockey pitches.

the sengkang park is the one where nparks has set aside one parcel of land for planting fruit trees. we could identify most of the fruit trees like the mango, durian, banana, dragonfruit, breadfruit, starfruit and jackfruit. but there were some we could not, like the one shown in the picture above.

of course, we could not miss out on the floating wetland, one of the unique features in this park. the wetland was recently declared open by the prime minister. there is this giant mangosteen which is actually a shelter. we did not see any heron, kingfisher or tern but we did come across two snakes - one dead and one slithering - at the park.

a nice and quiet park for walkers, joggers and cyclists. i was told by my friend that in the evening, there are lots of kite flyers. at the moment, it is not well served by public transport. the lrt does not seem to be frequent or as well used as the one at bukit panjang.


nah said...

More than a decade ago, when Punggol 21 vision was unveiled, it showcased waterfront living with water sports facilities and activities. Yet, Punggol remained a less popular estate for many home buyers. Today, with LRT, NEL running, punggol wetland opened, and residents looking forward to enjoying water sports in a scenic reservoir, buyers’ interest for this estate was so strong that Punggol HDB BTO projects were oversubscribed.

yg said...

nah, with such a nice park and such wonderful amenities, i also don't mind living in the puggol/sengkang area.

Andy Young* said...

Thanks for the recommendation. I must visit it with the wife these few weeks.

A very beautiful place indeed.

yg said...

andy, when you are there, you must take a look at the facilities at the sengkang sports and recreation centre.

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yg said...

hi md imran khan, thank you for dropping by. i am glad you have found it nice and informative.

Anonymous said...

Are those pomegranate, or maybe passionfruit? WL

yg said...

wl, neither. a pomegranate is a shrub and it has small leaves. a passionfruit is a climber and its young fruit is green. i don't know if that is an edible fruit.

Pat said...

yg: i don't know if that is an edible fruit.

The dangling fruits as shown in your photo belongs to a tree known as Blighia sapida (Akee Apple). This is native to tropical West Africa.

The pink fibrous rind & poisonous seeds are not edible. Only the yellow fleshy arils partially surrounding the shiny black seeds can be eaten -- but with a big catch: the arils are also toxic until they are fully exposed to light (ie. upon the recent splitting of the ripe fruits), during which the alkaloid toxins are reduced to 1/12th of the original level. Some people also think that the arils regain its full toxicity in overripe/fallen fruits.

Suitable arils are eaten as delicacies in certain places like Jamaica. But unless you are very sure of what you are doing, it's probably better not to attempt eating them. And since the so-called suitable arils are not entirely free of toxins, there is the question of how the human body might react to chronic low-level poisoning in the long run.

Some resources:
National Tropical Botanical Garden: Blighia sapida
Wikipedia: Ackee

Btw the giant mangosteen shelter is more a like Ribena Grape (eg. see this sample photo). The "crown of 2 leaves" & the rind colour are not representative of real mangosteens. The rind's colour error is especially obvious when the shelter is seen from the front, where the (wrongly-)white rind edges & rind interior are visible.

yg said...

hi pat, thanks for all the info and the reference resources . as it is planted by ava in a fruit park, i
assume that it is an edible fruit.

the ribena fruit that you compared the mangosteen to isn't of that shape and colour, is it?

Pat said...

The Ackee tree is mostly likely planted by the park-owner (ie. NParks). It's not a 100% fruit park (hint: "riverside park"). And not all the fruits are edible, as many are actually ornamental fruit trees planted for their attractive-looking fruits.

The Ribena Grape mascot is modelled after its botanical equivalent Vitis labrusca 'Concord' (Concord Grape), whose round shape & distinctive colour are (approximately) reproduced in the mascot's costume.

And like the Ribena Grape mascot, the giant mangosteen shelter is bluish-purple, round & has 2 flattish "leaves" on top. I was immediately reminded of the Concord Grape & Ribena Grape mascot respectively, when I saw your photo of the rear-end of the mangosteen shelter -- same colour, same shape, & also topped by a pair of "leaves". The only things missing are arms, legs & a face -- otherwise it can easily pass for a oversized Ribena advert.

If you compare the following sample photos, you may know what I mean:-

1) Giant Mangosteen Shelter - Front, PUB's Artist's Impression
2) Ribena Grape Mascot (costume) - Another View
3) Concord Grapes - Bunches, Thin Peel & Pulp (under yellowish lighting)

4) Real Mangosteens (Garcinia mangostana)- Image1, Image2
Note the purplish-red rinds (exterior, interior, cut edges), the rind thickness in relation to the white aril (pulp), & the rosette of 4 fleshy calyxes (ie. the "cap" at the stem-end of each fruit).

If the shelter wasn't publicized as a mangosteen, I wouldn't have done a double-take ... because the structure looks much more like a Ribena Grape mascot-Concord Grape hybrid, with most of its costume foam/ fruit pulp scooped out ... maybe Lemon Mascot broke & tore out its heart !

yg said...

pat, i think you are right about some of the fruits being inedible. however, in urbanised s'pore even edible fruits are left untouched. along some lim chu kang lanes, the butterfruit and surinam cherries all go to waste.
i have always thought that the ribena fruit was the red rosella. the ribena grape and the fruit are not the same?

Pat said...

I suspect edible fruits in urban S'pore often go uneaten, because most folks here don't dare to eat them !
1) Most cultivated plants here are sprayed with pesticides.
2) Local ingrained fear of being accused of vandalizing cultivated trees ... LOL. In truth, even those fruit trees found along ulu lanes are planted by AVA.
3) Somehow, local folks are simply squeamish about eating stuff directly off plants. I once heard via a 3rd party that I was described (in an "Eeeee..." tone) as: "Pat eats plants."

<< i have always thought that the ribena fruit was the red rosella. the ribena grape and the fruit are not the same? >>

Interestingly enough, the most common flavour in the Ribena juice range is derived from Ribes nigrum (Blackcurrant) -- you can read more at

The Roselle plant is Hibiscus sabdariffa, also often commonly called Ribena Plant in SE Asia, probably because some people think the fruit's bright red calyxes taste like Ribena juice -- ie. when mixed in sugared water. When eaten fresh off the plant or as dried unsugared snacks, the calyxes actually taste rather sour. I think the staining colour might also play a part in the allusion to Ribena juice (diluted, that is).

In South Africa, Roselle "peel" is used as colouring agent for wine. It is also purportedly good for treating hypertension. When I worked at a local farm that grows this plant & also gives out sample "peels" for tasting sessions, many filial schoolkids would spend their pocket money to buy a potted plant for their grandparents.

yg said...

pat, thanks for all the information on rosella and ribena and for correcting my perception regarding the fruit of the ribena.

people are quite selective when it comes plucking fruit. the mangosteen and langsat trees are usually stripped bare of their fruit during the fruiting season but not the other lesser known fruit trees.