6) Life – The Last Kampong

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Recently visited Singapore’s last Kampong – The Surau Kampong.  The Kampong is located in Buangkok, nearby the old Woodbridge Hospital which is now known as Institute of Mental Health.

“Kampong” in Malay literally means village.  In olden days, Kampong is the main building form before the reinforcement of concrete technology is established.

The common scene in Kampongs during rainy seasons is fun and memorable.  Villagers chasing after ducks and chickens, hastening to bring in clothes from their clothes lines to keep away from flood and rain, whilst barefooted kids and dogs hastily fleeing to find their own shelters.  Sadly, this amusing scene is a memory of the past in Singapore with the exception for this little last Kampong.

Kampong houses are usually constructed with zinc roofs and timber walls with windows and doors.  Floors are usually laid with cement screed and it feels chilling whenever you step on the floor day or night.  Leaving each other’s door open is a common sight in a Kampong.  That was the trust and camaraderie the villagers had for each other.

Wind charms, tree houses, birds, chicken, ducks, dogs, cats, fruit trees, flowers, make-shift fencing, stand alone post box, shabby toilets, raw and unpolished nature landscapes are the elements of Kampongs.

Smells of chicken poo floating in the air; gecko’s calling; mosquitoes whizzing in your ears; lizards clicking on the wall; cricket’s chirping with their dance; dogs bucking in the night; frogs singing with their orchestra are just part of the calling soul of a Kampong.

The Surau Kampong currently houses 28 families – 10 Malays and 18 Chinese.  In time to come, it may not be able to protect its own boundary.  As life is impermanent, more than ever in this fast changing Lion City.  Before Singapore gobbles up its last village, let’s step in more often to this carefree and slower pace of life as compared to the urban contemporaries.


20 thoughts on “6) Life – The Last Kampong

    Cathy Ulrich said:
    September 24, 2012 at 2:34 am

    Thanks for this wonderful look into Singapore’s past, Sydney.

      Sydney Fong responded:
      September 24, 2012 at 11:41 am

      Glad you find it wonderful!

    Janet's Notebook said:
    September 24, 2012 at 3:25 am

    Thank you for this nostalgic post. I nearly went to the Ubin island last month — I thought Ubin is the LAST Kampong/kampung?

    From your pictures, I can see this is a rathe neat version of a Malay kampung that I knew of as a child. I could also smell the kampung through these photos. So real!

    Thank you for sharing. Thank you for the soothing music with this post. Lovely!

      Sydney Fong responded:
      September 24, 2012 at 11:44 am

      Yes, I share the same thoughts as you until I chanced into this Surau Kampong while doing my morning walk last week. I thought they are long gone though they are much talk about. Pulau Ubin is still there, lately with wild boar chasing after visitors 🙂

    keiththegreen said:
    September 24, 2012 at 3:32 am

    Thank you for photographing what may soon disappear.

      Sydney Fong responded:
      September 24, 2012 at 11:54 am

      no problem, next time if you stop by Singapore , make a visit there . cheers !

    carolynpageabc said:
    September 24, 2012 at 5:07 am

    Very interesting, Sydney. There are probably both pros and cons to leaving the old behind… It would be good to take the pros into the future of urban living; it can be a little faced paced; that is for sure..!

    Rev Dani Lynn said:
    September 24, 2012 at 5:11 am

    I loved this post and the photos. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

      Sydney Fong responded:
      September 24, 2012 at 11:52 am

      you are welcome and thanks for stopping by !

    smokez87 said:
    September 24, 2012 at 10:41 am

    Thanks for this wonderful insight Sydney, as a Singaporean I never knew there were any kampong’s left..

      Sydney Fong responded:
      September 24, 2012 at 11:51 am

      Next time you may see them in Singapore Museum, just a joke, cheers !

    Sydney Fong responded:
    September 24, 2012 at 11:46 am

    I agreed Carolyn 🙂

    ShimonZ said:
    September 24, 2012 at 3:25 pm

    I like the pictures of the houses… they bring back memories from my youth.

      Sydney Fong responded:
      September 24, 2012 at 9:26 pm

      Thanks and cheers !

    apple.e.e-s. said:
    September 25, 2012 at 5:16 am

    i have never ever seen a kampong in singapore until i read your post. thank you for sharing to us a glimpse of singapore life. sadly this is under the threat of rising condos and modernization. is there a move to preserve this last village?

      Sydney Fong responded:
      September 25, 2012 at 8:39 am

      So far there is no official announcement by the Government yet, but there are adjacent high rise building coming up,so I can foresee the future of this Kampong, and thanks for stopping by, let wish the Kampong can last forever, cheers!

    rynnasaryonnah said:
    September 25, 2012 at 10:33 pm

    I did not know this place existed! It really should be left untouched!

      Sydney Fong responded:
      September 26, 2012 at 1:31 am

      yes, I wish too, so let’s pray and hope the wish come true, and thanks for stopping by, cheer1

    nightlight1220 said:
    December 1, 2012 at 11:24 pm

    Reblogged this on Nightlight1220's Blog and commented:
    It’s nice to take a real live peek at other countries in this way…thank you SF.

      Sydney Fong responded:
      December 2, 2012 at 12:50 am

      Thanks nightlight, that is one of my favorite post, I am so touch that you spend time to read my old article and Reblog it! thanks again, you are so nice!

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