July 6, 2013

Hwa Chong Institution Run - Construction, Security and Expensive Cars!

Hwa Chong Institution. The famous clock tower can barely be seen, blocked by MRT construction
As usual, we were racking our brains where to run in Singapore, a location that is acceptable to people staying in the West, North and Eastern part when I (brilliant as usual) hit on a bright idea.

"Lets revisit our old school, Hwa Chong Institution and rekindle our memories of our high school days!"

It was such a good idea that everyone agreed immediately!

7am in the morning, we parked our vehicle in a small lane behind coronation plaza (Ahh, that dusty little mall which I bummed around for 6 years of my life) and started jogging towards HCI. To our dismay, the beautiful rustic fields and buildings were replaced by layers and layers of construction fences, where the new Tan Kah Kee MRT station will be located. We could barely recognize our school!
The familiar road outside Coronation Plaza

Our first encounter with our High School.
The view of the school is totally blocked!
Wanting to regain some familiarity of the now alien environment, we jogged towards and main entrance of the school and was promptly stopped at the gate, by a security post!

WTF! I don't remember we had such security before? We used to just stroll past the gates, cursing at the stupid slope that we have to conquer daily, just to get to our classrooms. We were asked to produce evidence to proof that we were students or alumni of the school, which we obviously do not have in our running attire (We were not issued with any alumni cards in any case).

Come on! What danger could 2 handsome (sweaty) guys and 1 beautiful girl pose to the students or the school grounds?! Not like we could smuggle a home made bomb in our singlets!?!

Nevermind. We will try out other entrance to the school. Afterall, we know the school like the back of our hands and there could be a side entrance with much less stringent security.

Forced to turn back by the Security!
Attempted another entrance at the Hostel. Rejected too!
Okie, we were wrong. The school security department did a pretty good job. Every single entrance we attempted were barred by a stern looking security guard.

I suspect this may have to do with our attire when we were negotiating our entrance with the guards...

Do I look suspicious to be denied entry to the school!!??
Deterred from our initial objectives, we decided to make a loop around the school, in one of the most prestigious and expensive residential neighborhood in Singapore.

The area around HCI is pretty pleasant and you can to see beautiful houses and expensive luxury cars (average 2 cars per households). Maids walking big dogs were pretty common sights. As this is a low rise residential area, there is few traffic and even fewer traffic lights. If you do know where to park your car, parking is essentially free!   

The residential area around the school
Average (expensive) cars per household: 2
A nice little park in the midst of low rise estate
Along the way, I spotted the famous "evil" slope that we have to conquer, on every Saturday, when we have to do a 5km run every week. No skipping the run unless you have lost an arm or leg (The school used to have a militaristic culture and we used to march in contingent from one spot to another.) You can imagine the amount of cursing and swearing young 13-16 years old boys do when the last 1 km of the run is blocked by a steep 30 degrees slope.

The EVIL Hwa Chong Slope!!
Now that I am in my 30s, I am not going to risk my neck challenging that slope again. Next time maybe!!

Overall, this area is a very good place to run. There are some slight slopes valleys around but nothing that is very challenging (unless u will to try the killer slope). The distance is pretty scalable as the this residential area stretches all along Bukit Timah Road. After the run, you can have a pretty decent breakfast at Adam Road (The Hawker canter US Vice President Biden visited) or in one of a small cafes at six avenue further north Bukit Timah Road. A highly recommended place to run if you wish to look at how rich people live or want to examine the cause of the expensive COE in Singapore. 


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