SEEKING OUT STEPS AND UNDER EXPRESSWAYS
Singapore might be tightly-packed, but there is always room for play.
Beyond the shiny attractions and usual destinations we flock to over the weekends, creative nooks and corners have now become playgrounds too.
All it takes is a group of like-minded people with passion. Parkour and football enthusiasts tell us how. Playing under the flyover There are many things you might expect to find under a busy car flyover. Litter, rats and power generators spring to mind. Four turfed minifootball pitches do not. Yet, that is exactly what you will find at Offside, a futsal (a more compact form of indoor football) facility nestled under Thomson flyover.
Derek Cheong, the Director of Business Development at Offside explains: “We’re slightly different from other facilities. We make this place a destination where people can hang around, play soccer. There’s no urgency for people to leave afterwards. We encourage people to stay, chit-chat, have some snacks, play table soccer.”
Pitch and equipment quality, and simple concierge services like calling cabs for customers helps, he says. But the clincher is the atmosphere. Instead of stifling heat and the endless roar of traffic, the space is cooled by the shade of the bridge overhead. Derek estimates that 15,000 cars pass overhead every day. Yet it sounds more like waves slithering over the sands of a beach. This comfortable street-feel friendly atmosphere has led to Offside hosting, or at least being asked to host, more events than you can throw a shin pad at. Apart from regular football tournaments, “we get events like Cohesion Day, product launches, Halloween parties, all sorts of ideas.
We had people who came in to do their bridal shoots,” says Derek. A lot of other similar facilities do not
host those kinds of events, he says, but he wants Offside to embrace a multipurpose use. “Spaces like this should be well-utilised. People are always looking for something different; a special open space.” In a land that does not have much, well, land, Derek feels a recreational facility with only one function is not much use at all.
“Spaces like this should be well-utilised. People are always looking for something different; a special open space.”
"Parkour is for everyone... It's a real fit for our urban jungle..."
Leaping through streets and car parks. What do you do when you are faced with tight urban spaces and have a craving to do some climbing, running and a bit of gymnastics?
Tan Chi Ying thinks you should try parkour (a sport that combines spiderman crawls and Jackie Chan moves). The founder of A2 movements, a Singapore parkour agency, Chi Ying says, “In parkour there is a philosophy: it’s not just about physical movement, but the mental aspect. The way we see the world is
transformed. We see everyday things as opportunities. We see beyond challenges.” Within limited land, there are many ways to make full use of what we have. Spaces can have many uses. So when Chi Ying and his class vault over rails and roll over stairs, they are practising creative land use, in a way.
“Parkour is for everyone,” Chi Ying believes. “It’s a real fit for our urban jungle, with one structure linking the other seamlessly. Parkour will allow Singaporeans to train wherever and whenever they are free, making it a good fit for the fast-paced lifestyle of our society.”
For the full stories on futsal under the flyover and parkour movement, please go to www.goingplacessingapore.sg