East Coast Park - A place where families spend their time relaxing at the beach; where lovebirds walked hand-in-hand enjoying the nice evening breeze; where cyclists and joggers come to take in the fresh morning air. The trail that I took started off at the Bedok Jetty.
|Info-graphics extracted from NewspaperSG (1)|
Prior to 1964, this entire piece of land was all but sea water. Known as the East Coast Reclamation, a total of 1,525 ha of land (The size of more than 2,100 soccer fields) was reclaimed from the sea. (2)
Bedok Jetty was "used exclusively by the Ministry of Defence (MINDEF)" prior to it being open to the public. Though it is now used by anglers and cyclists, its "status as a MINDEF base remained unchanged".
During the height of the Vietnam war in 1975, the area around Bedok Jetty was converted to a temporary medical centre for refugees. (3) The vessels that brought these Vietnamese refugees to Singapore were anchored off Bedok and the refugees were required to stay on board their vessels. (4)
Singapore Commandos were deployed to ensure food were properly rationed amongst the refugees during their interim stay in Singapore's waters. This was a temporary arrangement as once the refugees were attended to medically, and their boats were repaired, these refugees would then make their way to other countries and American-run islands that had agreed to accept them. Guam was one such island. (5)
Other than refugees, East Coast was also a conduit for badly damaged American trucks, jeeps and other vehicles. My history teacher, Mr John shared this on my Facebook:-
Most of the damaged vehicles were heavy trucks, jeeps and similar vehicles, Didn't see heavy armor,probably because of their sensitive nature.
|Jetty as seen in 1986 (6)|
Beyond its military purpose, the Bedok Jetty has been honoured as one of Singapore's favourite icons. (11) Generations have thronged this jetty. It was a place that I grew up visiting; fishing with friends though I am hardly a fan of fishing.
With it being the longest jetty in Singapore, the Bedok Jetty sees many curious on-lookers who will stroll down the jetty while looking at the catch of the different anglers. It's amazing to see the wide array of fishes caught by these anglers.
In the end, it's really the ambience of the place, the serenity, and the view from the jetty that makes Bedok Jetty that tad bit special.
How do I get there
To visit the Bedok Jetty, you will need to head towards East Coast Car Park F1.
1. De Silva, G. May 4, 1987. 10% more land here between 1960 and 1992. The Straits Times. P18.
2. The great land reclamation in East Coast. November 21, 1983. The Straits Times. P7.
3. Byramji, M. May 8, 1975. 37 rescued as vessels sink. The Straits Times. P5.
4. Cheang, C. May 7, 1975. Another 10 refugee ships sail in. The Straits Times. P22.
5. Daniel, J. Chew, M.L. May 11, 1975. Refugees: Saigon request to Singapore. The Straits Times. P1.
6. How long will this jetty hold up? April 5, 1986. The Straits Times. P18.
7. Fish and Cheap - and Fun. March 14, 1983. The Straits Times. P40.
8. SAF Exercises. August 7, 1994. The Straits Times. P24.
9. SAF Exercises. February 14, 1999. The Straits Times. P21.
10. Military exercises from next Monday: MINDEF. July 11, 2014. Channel News Asia.
11. Singh, B. April 6, 2014. Saving Icons of Singapore. The Straits Times.