Monday 13 May 2013

Go star-gazing at Woodlands Galaxy Community Club

By Goh Chin Lian, The Sunday Times, 12 May 2013

A new community club (CC) in Woodlands boasts an observatory that draws in residents and thus helps revive the kampung spirit, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at its launch last night.

But he stressed that modern facilities - the observatory cost half a million dollars - are but one of many factors behind CCs.

Also important are the interest groups and other activities for residents, he said at the official opening of Woodlands Galaxy Community Club in Woodlands Avenue 6.

Mr Lee praised the CC for offering activities such as brisk walking for the elderly, dance-fit classes for women and cricket to integrate new arrivals from India.

A diverse range of interest groups from new media to ladies' gym create a sense of neighbourliness as well, he said.

In a nod to young residents interested in environmental conservation, he launched a mobile phone application they had developed for residents to make a "digital" pledge to keep Woodlands clean and green.

Speaking to 360 grassroots leaders and guests including the ward's MP Ellen Lee, he said: "We will work hard to make sure our CCs stay up to scratch."

The astronomy club chairman Kwan Jin Peng, 25, told The Sunday Times that its 30-cm telescope is the second largest here open to the public. Science Centre Singapore has a 40-cm one.

The observatory, which opens on Friday and Saturday nights, draws 20 to 60 people every weekend, he said.

They may see planets like Jupiter and Saturn, the Andromeda Galaxy and Orion Nebula. Some stay behind after the session to mingle with fellow enthusiasts.

Other activities bringing residents together at the CC include wushu classes. Mr Anselmn Lim, 42, and Phillip Tan, 47, got to know each other while bringing their children to the classes.

Mr Tan, who runs his own trading business, said the new CC is an improvement over the previous one located in an HDB void deck.

But he lamented the lack of space for some activities. He said the wushu classes, held in an open area, had to move to a void deck whenever it rained.

Mr Lim, a regional manager, and Mr Tan suggested the CC could also organise outings for children and tours for residents.

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