10 Questions With the Tengah Residents Making Memes To Cope With Tengah Life
Top image: Stephanie Lee / RICE File Photo

West side, best side? Not so much for the residents of Tengah, who’ve been facing a slew of issues since moving into the new town. 

Big things are in store for the first new Housing Development Board (HDB) town since Punggol. Touted as a “Forest Town”, Tengah’s planned features include a car-free town centre, dedicated walking and cycling paths, and a 5km-long forest corridor. The neighbourhood will also be connected to the Jurong Regional line by 2027. In the meantime, though, its residents will have to manage their expectations.

Instead of a tranquil life in a shiny new smart town flanked by nature, residents have had to contend with various teething problems. The issues just keep popping up, from poor mobile connectivity and a lack of amenities to leaks and flooding from the centralised cooling system. 

Tengah memes leaking
Image: @cy_pisces / TikTok screengrab

With a mandatory five-year BTO occupancy period, current residents will have no choice but to rough it out for the time being. But some are taking it in stride by turning to memes, much like Yishun residents have done. 

Tengah Memes on Instagram and TikTok makes light of their challenges through POV videos that they only post “when we get reception”. 

Video: @tengah.memes / TikTok

Luckily, the admins behind Tengah Memes, who wanted to stay anonymous, managed to stay online for long enough to tell us a little bit about how humour helps them cope with life in Singapore’s unluckiest neighbourhood.

RICE Media: First things first, do you even live in Tengah?

Tengah Memes: Yes, we live in Tengah.

Can you tell us a little about yourself? Who are the people behind Tengah Memes?

We are early movers who have seen interesting situations happen in Tengah and decided to make light of the unique experiences we’ve encountered here. 

There’s been lots of news reports about all the teething issues in the town. What kind of issues have you faced since moving in?

We moved in Q1 of 2024. We were aware that there would be some issues as it is a new estate, however, some issues were a little more interesting and unexpected: Water leaks, wiring issues, transportation, no signal, and dust that even air purifiers can’t even filter. 

We’ve even found slugs in the house.

How do you feel about the authorities’ response to the teething problems in Tengah?

From our experience, they do listen, like with the Centralised Cooling System incident and other matters such as bus services, walkways and paths. But we feel there’s still lots of room for improvement, and as with all new estates, it will take time for everything to fall into place. 

Tengah is quite ulu and is very new. Why did you choose it in the first place?

We didn’t choose Tengah; the Tengah life chose us. TL;DR: After failed attempts applying for other projects, we managed to get a queue number at Tengah, so we decided to come here.

Video: @tengah.memes / TikTok

Why did you start the meme account?

We saw the opportunity to turn the odd and interesting situations into something funny that Tengah residents could relate to and laugh about.

There are simply too many out-of-this-world and random things that happen in Tengah on a day-to-day basis that we are able to easily think of memes to make.

What kinds of responses have you gotten so far?

We have seen comments and reposts of people relating to our content, but there are also people who take the jokes a little too seriously and take the platform to complain more about Tengah.

Which have been your most popular posts so far? 

Our most popular post is the “POV: your friends leaving Tengah after visiting your new house”. It probably did well because even friends of Tengah residents can laugh about it, and it is a common experience that most new residents here share. 

Video: @tengah.memes / TikTok

Is humour your only way of coping with Tengah life?

Sadly, yes. It helps to make us feel better about living in Tengah.

On the flip side, the residents here are generally friendly and helpful to one another because we can bond and relate over living here.  

When Tengah eventually becomes more liveable, where do you see the account going?

We see Tengah Memes account as a way of helping Tengah residents feel a little bit better about staying in Tengah, to bring some joy and laughter into their lives here. 

So even if the area becomes more liveable, there will still be more shared experiences to laugh about together.

Would you still recommend other people move into the neighbourhood?

If they love the West, sure!

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