General Interest (Wide-ranging): Enjoying a leisurely nature-walk to HortPark

Enjoying a leisurely nature-walk                  to HortPark

Some 50 participants from the Siglap Community Centre went on an exercise outing trip to HortPark yesterday (1 November 2015) by walking a distance of about 4 km along the walk-trail of the Southern Ridges while feasting their eyes on nature’s wonders.

Keeping fit and healthy is important in Islam.  This is to be observed through eating the right food moderately and performing regular exercises.  Exercise ought to be an integral part of our Islamic lifestyle. Physical exercises come in various forms, the most basic being walking.

It is heartening to know that most Singaporeans are health-conscious. Young and old are involved in brisk-walking and jogging. Community centres throughout the Republic, apart from organising various activities, including self-development courses, also hold weekend brisk-walking sessions for anyone.

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The community centre in my neighbourhood, the Siglap Community Centre (SCC), through its Muslim volunteers from the Malay Activity Executive Committee (MAEC), organises 2-hour briskwalking sessions every Sunday morning for the neighbourhood residents.

Each session, held at the premises of the SCC, starts with a number of warming up exercises followed by brisk-walking around a loop in the neighbourhood road walk-ways and ending at the SCC for another round of exercises to cool down. These exercises are conducted by a qualified member, Mr Najib Ahmad, whose wife also joins in for the weekly keep-fit activity.

Every three months, the affectionately-called “Briskwalk Gang” are given opportunities  for physical exercises at different locations to “build closer rapport and comradeship among the participants,” said Ms Sri Zuraida Zainal.  Ms Sri, who is in the committee, added: “So far this year, MAEC has organised three outings. The first outing organised was in January.  That month we went to Changi Point beach.  Then, in March, we went to Marina Barrage, and today to HortPark.”

A partcipant, Mr Mistri Dulhadi, whose wife, Ms Sapinah, is also in the Briskwalk Gang, is all for regular outings.  “We make more friends and renew friendship. Furthermore, it is always fun and refreshing to hold the exercises at different locations to prevent boredom of seeing the same place week by week.”

Every outing programme is preceded by warming up exercises and ends with cooling down exercises at a convenient spot of the location.

For the HortPark trip, the warming up exercises were held at the Viewing Area near the Mount Faber Cable-car Station along Mount Faber Road of the Southern Ridges.

“Thanks to the disappearance of the haze in the last two days, we are fortunate to have this outing today.  We are able to enjoy a good view of Sentosa, Singapore’s island paradise, as well as enjoy the beautiful sights of the surrounding areas,” said Ms Kamsiah Yacoob, a participant, whose daughter, Ms Mardina Aziz, is a committee member of MAEC.

The Hortpark trip was supposed to be held in September but it had been postponed due to the bad condition of the haze which had enveloped Singapore and the neighbouring countries in the past couple of months.

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HortPark is part of the Southern Ridges that comprises Mount Faber Park, Telok Blangah Hill Park, Kent Ridge Park and Labrador Nature Park.

The Southern Ridges covers an area of lush and green open spaces, rich in history and home to some of nature’s greatest gifts of flora and fauna.  Along this scenic South Ridges, the participants walked, happily enjoying what nature in these areas have to offer.

They passed such spots as Henderson Waves – the spot offers one of the best spots to catch panoramic views of the city, harbour and the Southern Islands – Semcorp Forest of Giants, Forest Walk, Alexandra Arch, Floral Walk before reaching HortPark. The entire Southern Ridges trail starts from the Marang Trail Entrance in front of the Harbourfront MRT Station to Science Park Drive (Kent Ridge Park).

At the HortPark, the participants rested and walked around to enjoy the various features of the park. The HortPark is a one-stop gardening resource centre that brings together gardening-related, recreational, educational, research and retail activities under one big canopy in a park setting.

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After a deserving lunch, the participants were briefed by our exercise instructor, Mr Najib Ahmad.  He revealed that a homestay programme outside Singapore could be organised next year. However, for the next exercise-cum-activity trip in Singapore, Mr Najib said:  “We shall target our next outing to the newly opened park in Coney Island, located off Singapore’s North East coast.”

Coney Island or Pulau Serangoon has coastal forests, grasslands and mangroves. Other habitats include rare flora and fauna, like the nationally endangered spotted wood owl and the black-crowned night heron.  Hiking and brisk-walking facilities are available.

The participants then boarded the coaches back to SCC, feeling tired but happy and looking forward to the next outing – Coney Island.

By Shaik Kadir                                                                                                                                                                                     2 November 2015

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