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NIK Chew is one of the newer residents of Spottiswoode Park Road, where he bought and moved into a shophouse - one of the smallest in this neighbourhood, he says modestly -in 2014. It's a dream house (a traditional shophouse) in a dream neighbourhood (charming Peranakan heritage) for the psychologist, and he's made it a point to immerse himself in the community.
The Spottiswoode/Everton/Blair Road area is one of the smaller bastions of Peranakan architecture and communities in Singapore - and is not as high on the radar as Emerald Hill and Joo Chiat when it comes to heritage or even food. Apparently, it was a place where rich baba tycoons kept their second wives (with third wives in Joo Chiat).
But besides the visible vestiges of Peranakan heritage - anchored by the Baba House on Neil Road gifted to and managed by the National University of Singapore, it's an eclectic hangout with several quaint outlets. Kampong Bahru used to house a slew of KTV pubs but the business profile is changing now, Mr Chew is glad to note.
Mr Chew is active in the residents' association, and has mooted plans to organise flea markets and street parties for the area bounded by Spottiswoode Park, Everton, Blair and Neil Road.
There are several iconic businesses in the area already, like renowned coffee purveyor Nylon Coffee Roasters, and traditional kueh makers like Ji Xiang. ''It'd be great though, to see the place come even more alive with more regular foot traffic. But the residents are great, and we have a real community feeling here.''