|This article needs additional citations for verification. (April 2013)|
|• Total||8.01 km2 (3.09 sq mi)|
|• Residential||3.18 km2 (1.23 sq mi)|
|• Density||110,000/km2 (290,000/sq mi)|
Hougang is an urban planning area and a suburb in north-eastern Singapore. Under classification by the Urban Redevelopment Authority, the area is part of the North-East Region, an urban planning division. Hougang borders Sengkang to the north and Serangoon to the south. Development started around the 1980s. Most of Hougang is residential and encompasses the main Housing and Development Board's housing estate of Hougang New Town.
Etymology and history
Hougang is the pinyin version of Aū-káng, a Hokkien and Teochew name meaning "river end". In the past, the name connoted the area stretching from the fifth milestone junction of Yio Chu Kang Road and Sengkang Road to the seventh milestone confluence of Upper Serangoon Road and Tampines Road. Above Error: The name Hougang stems from the Hokkien and Teochew word Au-Kang, which refers to the ‘river end’, as Hougang is located upstream or at the back of Sungei Serangoon. Many Singaporean Chinese residents in the town speak the Teochew dialect as many were formerly from a Teochew community at Kampong Punggol before being relocated to Hougang. This trend however undergoes constant shifts, with new residents moving in from other parts of Singapore. There was also a fishing port. 
The area was once a large piece of Deserted land. Farming of pigs was also carried out by farmers. The last of these pig farmers were relocated by the late-1990s to flats built in Hougang. Today, it is an HDB new town with over 40,000 housing units interspersed with pockets of private residential areas.
At Hougang Street 21, there was a well that is still identified as the tua jia ka well structure. This well identified the Teochew village of tua jia ka which means the "foot of a big well". In the past, the village was a popular place for food, street wayangs, itinerant Chinese medicine men and story tellers spinning yarns.
Hougang has been developed since 1977 with the invention of Tampines Way. Further development has been made for the development of new neighbourhoods in Neighbourhood 1 - 3 by 1983, Neighbourhood 4 - 7 by 1992. Neighbourhood 8 is the city centre of the Hougang, completed in 1994. Neighbourhood 9 has been in the recent and has been completed by 2000.
Hougang is regarded as part of the "heartland" of Singapore, a significant distance away from the Central Area. Most of its commercial activity is centred on a few shopping malls such as Hougang Mall, Kang Kar Mall, Heartland Mall and Hougang 1.
Similar to most other residential towns in Singapore, Hougang was designed to be a partially self-sufficient with enough amenities to minimize the number of residents commuting to the Central Area. Facilities include a sports stadium where the S.League plays (homeground of Hougang United), an aquatics centre, an indoor sports complex, a number of parks such as Punggol Park, along with many wet markets and hawker centres.
One of the more prominent landmarks in Hougang is the Buangkok Green Medical Park, which houses several medical facilities including the Institute of Mental Health (IMH) and Singapore Leprosy Relief Association (SILRA). Hougang is served by two MRT stations: Hougang MRT Station which is located beside the bus interchange and Hougang Mall; and Kovan MRT Station which is beside Heartland Mall. Residents in Buangkok bordering Sengkang have the option of using Buangkok MRT Station as well.
Hougang Central Bus Interchange
The Hougang Central Bus Interchange serves Hougang Town with a range of bus services going to other parts of the island. It is located in Hougang Central, near Hougang Mall and it has an underground link to Hougang MRT Station.
The services departing from Hougang Central Bus Interchange and their destinations are listed as follows:
- Bukit Merah - 132 & 153
- Buona Vista - 74 & 74e
- Singapore Changi Airport PTB 1, 2 & 3 - 27
- Singapore Changi Airport Cargo Complex - 89 & 89e
- Clementi - 147 & 165
- Kovan (Hougang South) - 112 & 113 (Loop Service)
- Jurong East - 51
- Kent Ridge - 151 & 151e
- Marina Centre - 107M
- Shenton Way - 107
- Woodlands - 161
- Pasir Ris - 68
A feeder service is also available, linking residents to the town centre.
- Majority Of Hougang Except Hougang South - Service 325 (Loop Service) (On Weekdays, Most Commuters Are Students, from Hougang Primary School Or Hougang Secondary School)
Hougang South Bus Interchange was closed (Since 15 Feb 2004) when the authorities acquired it for other developments.
It was situated at Hougang Street 21 next to the Kovan food centre/Wet Market, near Heartland Mall. Bus services operating from there included:
- Jurong East - 51
- Geylang Lor 1 - 62 (Now From Punggol To Geylang Lor 1 [Loop])
- Bukit Merah - 132
- Kent Ridge - 151
- Feeder Services 321, 322, 326, 327 & 328 (Merged To Service 101 From Serangoon To Buangkok Link [Loop])
The old bus interchange is now a public carpark and private bus terminal for express buses.
4 bus services currently serve the bus stop there (Kovan Hub):
- Hougang Ave 3 (Loop) - 115
- Hougang Central - 112 & 113
- Punggol - 119
Two even older bus terminals/depots operated in Hougang before the construction of the Hougang Central and Hougang South Bus Interchanges. One was at the end of Upper Serangoon Road in Kangkar Village and the other was in the vicinity of Hougang Street 21 and both were operating the in era before the HBD new town was developed but have now ceased to exist.
A distinctive feature of Hougang lies in the large semi-circular balconies which occur in many Housing Development Board public housing flats in the area. This feature is not as prevalent in public housing outside Hougang.
Hougang belongs to five political divisions in three different constituencies. A portion belongs to Hougang Single Member Constituency, which is held by Png Eng Huat of the Worker's Party. The seat was left temporarily vacant from 15 February 2012 to 27 May 2012, when Yaw Shin Leong was expelled from the Workers' Party (WP). Yaw was one of six elected opposition Members of Parliament. It was previously held by Workers' Party secretary general Low Thia Kiang from 1991 to 2011. Low Thia Kiang is now the Member of Parliament for the Bedok Reservoir-Punggol division of Aljunied GRC, in the northern part of Hougang. Chen Show Mao is the Member of Parliament of Paya Lebar division, which contains the southern part of Hougang. A small portion of Hougang is located in the Punggol South division of Pasir Ris-Punggol Group Representation Constituency in which lies several residents' committees, various facilities and the popular Hougang Green Shopping Mall which remains dear to the hearts of most residents living there. Part of Hougang also lies within the Ang Mo Kio - Hougang division of Ang Mo Kio GRC.
In the 1997 general election, Cheng San Group Representation Constituency which comprises large parts of Hougang was the scene of an intense battle between the ruling People's Action Party and the opposition team led by Joshua Benjamin Jeyaretnam and Tang Liang Hong of the Workers' Party. Prominent members of the cabinet such as the then Senior Minister Lee Kuan Yew and then Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong made numerous visits to the Group Representation Constituency to canvass The vote was deemed too close to call such that the PAP thought it necessary for ministers to visit the polling stations on voting day. The opposition later charged that the PAP had violated the law which prohibits politicians from being in the vicinity of a polling station but the Attorney-General, Chan Sek Keong, found no impropriety on the part of the ministers as the law only prohibits politicians from the vicinity of the polling station but not in the polling station itself.
Hougang appeared in the limelight again in the 2006 general election. Both Aljunied GRC and Hougang SMC were contested by the Workers' Party, with the latter being defended by the three-term incumbent, Low Thia Khiang, who is the WP's secretary-general. Once again, like the 1997 general election, WP won in Hougang, with Low securing his place in Parliament with 63% of the votes, an increase of more than 8 percentage point from 2001. Aljunied GRC was narrowly held onto by the People's Action Party with a slim 12% lead over the WP team who gained 44% of the votes.
It is widely believed that Hougang residents of the GRC had leaned towards the WP, with one PAP MP-elect describing the counting process as "tense", saying that the vote tally was about "a one-to-one ratio when the counting first starting, and we got worried." Nonetheless, this swing towards the opposition was neutralised by the strong PAP showing in other parts of the GRC, such as Bedok Reservoir and Eunos. Another PAP MP-elect remarked that "we received well over 60% of the vote in Malay-majority Eunos". Sylvia Lim, the de facto leader of the WP's team, subsequently accepted the NCMP seat.
However, on 15 February 2012, Yaw was expelled from the Worker's Party due to allegations of extramarital affairs. This led to a hougang resident, Mrs Vellama, filing an affidavit to the high court to compel a By-Election in Hougang.
A by-election was called for 26 May 2012. Png Eng Huat of the Worker's Party and Desmond Choo of the People's Action Party ran for Hougang SMC. The Worker's Party retained Hougang SMC with a winning vote percentage of 62.09% and the People's Action Party garnered 37.91% of the votes, with Png elected as the Member of Parliament for Hougang SMC.
Many of the Singaporean Chinese residents in Hougang speak the Teochew dialect, because they were originally from Kampong Ponggol, a predominantly Teochew community, before they were relocated to Hougang as Singapore began developing. However, this is becoming less of a trend as the newer residents come from all over the island.
- Bowen Secondary School
- Holy Innocents' High School
- Hougang Secondary School
- Montfort Secondary School
- Paya Lebar Methodist Girls' School (Secondary)
- Serangoon Secondary School
- Xinmin Secondary School
- Yuying Secondary School
- CHIJ Our Lady of the Nativity (formerly known as CHIJ Punggol)
- Holy Innocents' Primary School
- Hougang Primary School
- Montfort Junior School
- Paya Lebar Methodist Girls' School (Primary)
- Punggol Primary School
- Xinghua Primary School
- Xinmin Primary School
- Yio Chu Kang Primary School
- Evergreen Park
- The Florida
- Hougang Green
- Central Place
- Central View
- Minton Rise
- Rio Vista
- Green Tea
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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