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Post-election geopolitical realities

The dust of the 2020 General Election has settled, and the 14th Parliament of Singapore has convened. The boundaries of the wards of the Republic’s 17 Group Representation Constituencies (GRCs) have also been demarcated, indicating the areas of responsibility of their Members of Parliament. For a good number of GRCs, ward boundaries have shifted from before the General Election. New wards have been birthed, while others have been renamed or dissolved. These shifts create new geopolitical realities for the people living and working inside them.

For this post, I relied on excellent Google Maps of wards of the 13th and 14th Parliaments of Singapore, created by Yudhishthra Nathan.


Here are the GRCs which have seen significant changes in ward boundaries after GE2020:


A. Chua Chu Kang GRC


Before GE2020: Four wards

1. Nanyang

2. Keat Hong

3. Chua Chu Kang

4. Bukit Gombak


After GE2020: Four wards

1. Keat Hong - Redrawn to absorb most of Nanyang ward, and part of Hong Kah North SMC.

2. Brickland - Created from parts of Keat Hong, Chua Chu Kang, and Bukit Gombak wards.

3. Chua Chu Kang

4. Bukit Gombak

Nanyang ward has been shifted to West Coast GRC.


Trivia: Before GE2020, Lim Chu Kang, the Old Choa Chu Kang Road area, and the western reservoirs of Sarimbun, Murai, and Poyan were part of Nanyang ward. Now, they are part of “Keat Hong” - which is far away!


B. West Coast GRC


Before GE2020: Four wards

1. Ayer Rajah

2. Boon Lay

3. West Coast

4. Telok Blangah


After GE2020: Five wards

1. Nanyang - Redrawn, massively reduced in size, and moved over from Chua Chu Kang GRC.

2. Ayer Rajah-Gek Poh - Gek Poh was sliced out of Hong Kah North SMC and appended to Ayer Rajah ward as an exclave.

3. Boon Lay

4. West Coast

5. Telok Blangah

Trivia 1: Nanyang Technological University is still part of Nanyang ward, but now under West Coast GRC.


Trivia 2: As the place name implies, Ayer Rajah-Gek Poh ward is in two parts.


C. Sembawang GRC


Before GE2020: Five wards

1. Woodlands

2. Admiralty

3. Sembawang

4. Canberra

5. Gambas


After GE2020: Five wards

1. Woodlands - Gave up some land to both Sembawang ward and Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC’s Marsiling ward.

2. Admiralty

3. Sembawang West - Formed from the western half of Sembawang ward.

4. Canberra

5. Sembawang Central - Formed from parts of Sembawang and Gambas wards.

Gambas ward has been dissolved.


Trivia 1: Woodlands MRT Station is no longer in Woodlands ward; it is now under Marsiling ward in Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC - which also has Marsiling MRT Station.


Trivia 2: Woodlands ward is now in two parts.


Trivia 3: Canberra Estate and Canberra MRT Station aren’t in Canberra ward - they are in Sembawang Central ward.


D. Nee Soon GRC


Before GE2020: Five wards

1. Nee Soon South

2. Kebun Baru

3. Chong Pang

4. Nee Soon Central

5. Nee Soon East


After GE2020: Five wards

1. Nee Soon South - Sembawang Air Base has been handed over to Chong Pang ward; most of Lower Seletar Reservoir has been moved to Nee Soon Link ward.

2. Chong Pang

3. Nee Soon Central - Gained part of Nee Soon East ward.

4. Nee Soon East - Absorbed part of Sembawang GRC’s Gambas ward.

5. Nee Soon Link - Formed from parts of Nee Soon South and Sembawang GRC’s Gambas ward.

Kebun Baru ward has been carved out as an SMC.


Trivia 1: I’m quite pleased with the geographical reach of Nee Soon GRC, because both Yishun town (I’m excluding Canberra Estate, which is relatively new) and the historic Nee Soon area (around Nee Soon Road) are inside it. This is a rarity!


Trivia 2: “Nee Soon Link” sounds like the name of a road. Except that no road - or place - of that name exists.


E. Ang Mo Kio GRC


Before GE2020: Six wards

1. Yio Chu Kang

2. Jalan Kayu

3. Cheng San-Seletar

4. Teck Ghee

5. Ang Mo Kio-Hougang

6. Sengkang South


After GE2020: Five wards

1. Jalan Kayu - A part of Ang Mo Kio town has been shifted to Cheng San-Seletar ward.

2. Cheng San-Seletar - Absorbed parts of Yio Chu Kang and Jalan Kayu wards.

3. Teck Ghee - Absorbed parts of Yio Chu Kang ward.

4. Ang Mo Kio-Hougang - Absorbed the southern half of Sengkang South ward.

5. Fernvale - Formed from parts of Jalan Kayu and Sengkang South wards, and part of Sengkang West SMC.

Yio Chu Kang ward has been carved out as an SMC; Sengkang South ward has been dissolved.


Trivia 1: Yio Chu Kang MRT Station and Nanyang Polytechnic were once part of Yio Chu Kang ward, but they remain in Ang Mo Kio GRC - now part of Cheng San-Seletar ward.


Trivia 2: Jalan Kayu ward is still in two parts; half of the road named Jalan Kayu is actually inside Fernvale ward.


Trivia 3: One of my favourite wards, Ang Mo Kio-Hougang, still exists. (“Favourite” because “Ang Mo Kio” and “Hougang” are so far apart.) While it is part of Ang Mo Kio GRC, the ward is so far east of Ang Mo Kio town, it covers Punggol Primary School and Punggol Park Community Centre (both formerly of Sengkang South ward).


F. Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC


Before GE2020: Five wards

1. Bishan North

2. Bishan East-Thomson

3. Toa Payoh West-Balestier

4. Toa Payoh Central

5. Toa Payoh East-Novena


After GE2020: Four wards

1. Bishan East-Sin Ming - Formed from the eastern half of Bishan East-Thomson ward, and part of Bishan North ward.

2. Toa Payoh West-Thomson - Formed from most of Toa Payoh West-Balestier ward, and part of Bishan East-Thomson ward.

3. Toa Payoh Central

4. Toa Payoh East - Formed from the northern half of Toa Payoh East-Novena ward, and part of Potong Pasir SMC.

Most of Bishan North ward has been carved out as Marymount SMC.


Trivia 1: Previously, Toa Payoh West-Balestier and Toa Payoh East-Novena were each in two parts; one part from each of the wards has been absorbed by Jalan Besar GRC’s Kampong Glam ward. Now, “Kampong Glam” reaches as far north as Balestier Road and Tan Tock Seng Hospital.


Trivia 2: Meanwhile, Bishan East-Sin Ming ward is in two parts.


G. Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC


Before GE2020: Six wards

1. Punggol Coast

2. Punggol West

3. Sengkang Central

4. Punggol North

5. Pasir Ris West

6. Pasir Ris East


After GE2020: Five wards

1. Punggol Coast - Absorbed part of Punggol West ward.

2. Punggol Shore - Previously Punggol North; now renamed.

3. Pasir Ris West

4. Pasir Ris Central - Carved out of parts of Pasir Ris West and Pasir Ris East.

5. Pasir Ris East

Most of Punggol West has been carved out as an SMC. Sengkang Central was carved out and included in Sengkang GRC; the ward has been split into Compassvale and Buangkok wards.


Trivia: There’s a seaside theme going on, with the place names “Punggol Coast” and “Punggol Shore”. At least “Punggol Coast” is also the name of an MRT station currently under construction in the ward - it’ll be the new northern terminus of the North East Line.


***


So there we have it - the geopolitical realities for many residents of Singapore for the next five years or so. Because of the mysterious manner in which ward boundaries are drawn and redrawn over time, we still have plenty of geopolitical oddities, such as Keat Hong covering most of the northwestern part of the island, Ayer Rajah-Gek Poh, Cheng San-Seletar, Ang Mo Kio-Hougang, Fernvale as part of Ang Mo Kio GRC, and Jalan Besar GRC’s Kampong Glam stretching north to Balestier. There are more in other GRCs I’ve not covered above, such as Aljunied GRC’s Bedok Reservoir-Punggol, East Coast GRC’s Siglap covering Changi, Pulau Ubin, and Pulau Tekong… the list goes on. The mismatch of geopolitical identities and municipal identities (where one HDB town or estate begins and ends) persists. Potential results: Bemusement, confusion, and a lack of rootedness in one’s community or neighbourhood. How to feel a deeper sense of connection when one is in two places at once, or when one isn’t even sure where exactly one is?

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