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The Bedok Planning Area, an urban planning zone under the Urban Redevelopment Authority, encompasses the Bedok New Town itself, the low-rise private residential areas along Upper East Coast Road, and in the districts of Kembangan, Siglap and Telok Kurau, and the high-rise private condominium developments in the eastern part of Marine Parade.
Etymology and early history
"Bedok" seems to be a very old place name. In the 1604 Manuel Gomes de Erédia's map of Singapore, there is a reference to the Bedok River called sune bodo (Sungei Bedok).
Bedok is one of the early native place names in existence around the time of Sir Stamford Raffles. In the first comprehensive map of Singapore Island completed by Frankin and Jackson and reproduced in John Crawfurd's 1828 book, the place name appears on the south east coast of the island as a river, Badok S. (Sungei Bedok), around the "small red cliff", a part of present Tanah Merah.
The Malay word bedoh refers to a very large drum, used for calling people to a mosque for prayers or to sound the alarm in the days before loudspeakers. There was a prominent mosque in the 1950s at Jalan Bilal that still used the drum about five times a day. The "h" in the word bedoh was replaced with a "k", and, as with most Malay words that end with a "k", it is pronounced with an inaudible glottal stop.
A less popular version refers to an equally uncommon Malay term of biduk, a small fishing boat like the sampan, or more likely, a dugout canoe, as the east coast was dotted with many fishing villages.
Bedok New Town had been developed since 1973 with the newer roads such as Bedok Plain, Bedok Highway and Bedok Heights being built all the way until 1975. The New Upper Changi Road was fully built and opened in 1979, where the massive development had been completed except Bedok Reservoir and Kaki Bukit, which was built later in 1983 - 1988.
Bedok New Town
Bedok New Town covers a land area close to 9.4 km² with some 42% occupied for residential use. It was formerly a hilly region and hence the focal point of orientation of the town is the special landscaped park and sports complex built on the higher ground of the town. The residential blocks as well as the industrial area are planned based on the neighbourhood concept. There is also a town centre together with Bedok Mall and Bedok Point being built.
There are some 58,000 units of flats built by the HDB in Bedok New Town. As one of the older towns, the majority of the flats are 3-room or 4-room. There are also some 2,700 and 583 units of executive and Housing and Urban Development Corporation (HUDC) flats. It provides housing for some 200,000 residents.
The Mass Rapid Transit station, Bedok MRT Station, serves the Bedok neighbourhood and is centrally located, at the south-west corner of Bedok Town Center. Adjacent to the MRT station on the north side is the Bedok Temporary Bus Interchange, a major bus terminal connecting residents with SBS Transit Townlink and Feeder services 222, 225G, 225W, 228, 229 and Trunk services. SMRT Buses also operates as a minority, Trunk service 854 towards Yishun and shuttle services towards Tampines Retail Park.
Schools in Bedok include the government Bedok West Primary School with around 600 students (2013).
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- Victor R Savage, Brenda S A Yeoh (2003), Toponymics - A Study of Singapore Street Names, Eastern Universities Press, ISBN 981-210-205-1
- From National Library Board Singapore, Infopedia website.