Walk down Holland Road at any given hour and pass by the ultra-modern townhouses, hidden behind veils of trees. Caucasian families exercise along the paths at any given time of day, in between dropping their kids off at nearby international schools before heading off to work at the embassies within the area.
It’s no surprise that foreign embassies – and the residences of expatriates – would line the suburban artery that eventually leads to such a tourist hub as Orchard Road. Or could it be the embassies that came first? Many an expatriate’s family have grown up in this area – and to them, Singapore could best be described by one-word responses: clean? Boring? Hot? Tropical? Cosmopolitan?
Perhaps. But the streetscape along Holland Road is strongly reminiscent of that along the East Coast Parkway between the city and Changi Airport: large trees veil the residences behind and brightly line the road side. It wold give any visitor an impression of Singapore as a clean, well-organised city. And even to the many expats who live here, it does. And yet, it remains a road that, despite being only minutes away from other neighbourhoods, gives the feel of being vastly removed and distinct from the rest of town. Just like the hidden diversity between it and other neighbourhoods in the city.