The skulls, The rats, The centipedes and The Singapore River.

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In the early years when mangroves swamps and human skulls were covered long ago before the Thomas Raffles came.

Sea Gypsies - By courtesy of Tidal Fortunes
Sea Gypsies – By courtesy of Tidal Fortunes

During the Raffles colony, Colonel Farquhar asked the Sea Gypsies who were the early communities, “Whose are all these skulls and dead bodies?” they replies, “They belongs to the men who were robbed at sea and slaughtered here.”

According to Munshi Abdullah wrote; there was a plague of rats in the river community, the size of rats were as huge as cats.

Colonel Farquhar rewarded 1 ‘wang’ for every rat been caught. Hence, thousands of rats brought in every morning. After 6 or 7 days, multitude of creatures were still can be founded. He increased the paid out to 5 ‘duit’ for each catch. But still, thousands of rats have been brought in everyday.

BY courtesy of
BY courtesy of

Subsequently, Farquhar ordered to dig a deep trench to bury those dead bodies.

The number of rats brought in dwindled until 10 or 20 rats a day.

Not long after, centipedes struck. A number of centipedes attacked people who living on the riverbank. Again, Colonel Farquhar offered 1 ‘Wang’ for every brought in. Hundreds of catches been brought in everyday, until the number descended to 20 or 30 centipedes for 2 or 3 days. Finally, the cleaning up campaign came to the end.

By courtesy of
By courtesy of

Did you ever stopped by and wonder who is calling at the riverbank of Singapore River? The water? The leaf? Or the flow of reminiscences?

the skull the rats 01


11 thoughts on “The skulls, The rats, The centipedes and The Singapore River.

    mixedupmeme said:
    July 12, 2013 at 12:56 am

    I hope your next post is full of pretty pleasant things.

      Sydney Fong responded:
      July 12, 2013 at 1:05 am

      This post is not your cup of tea? 😦

        ladysighs said:
        July 12, 2013 at 2:06 am

        You got that right. 🙂

        Sydney Fong responded:
        July 13, 2013 at 11:16 pm

        Oh dear! 😦

    Long Life Cats and Dogs said:
    July 12, 2013 at 4:55 am

    My word, what a nightmare

    gita4elamats said:
    July 12, 2013 at 11:53 am

    Wow! Interesting! (。◕‿◕。)

      Sydney Fong responded:
      July 13, 2013 at 11:18 pm

      I’m glad we share the same feeling! 🙂

    icelandpenny said:
    July 12, 2013 at 10:58 pm

    This bit of history makes me think about the so-called “Law of Unintended Effects.” Do you know the history of changes in the ecology along the river, because of the energetic campaign against rats and centpedes? Sometimes when we campaign successfully against one creature or plant, we discover the replacement is even worse. I think of the 19th c. work in Toronto to block off and cement over a lot of creeks and streams, because they spread disease. This blocked natural watercourses, with bad consequences we are only now understanding and trying to correct. There is a lot of work underway to re-naturalize areas, and try to respect the intricate cross-relationships of nature.

      Sydney Fong responded:
      July 13, 2013 at 11:26 pm

      This could be a chain-effect, every pieces of sequences link up to a result that we recreate, something intercepts in between may leads problem spread and branch out unnaturally. 😦

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