Earth

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.

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9) Friend – Pyrite / 朋友(9) – 黄铁矿

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太太买给我的这块小矿石摆在桌上已有好几年。华人相信这种黄铁矿能带给人财运,至今,我还怀疑。

My wife gave me a piece of Pyrite and it was lying on my table for several years. Some believe that Pyrite can bring wealth, but I am sceptical about the effects it can convey.

这小矿石酷似黄金,但与黄金的身价却天渊之别。

This Ore resembles gold, but in contrast with gold, it worth a world of difference.

无疑的,在众多的矿石中它是一个小人物;一两的山寨版黄金。

Undoubtedly, in the giant colliery, it is a little guy;an ounce of countefeit gold.

但如果你细细把它放大看,里头的景观有如外太空星球的表面,它本身组成的立方体层层叠叠,充满艺术感,就好比展览馆里的艺术品。

But under the magnifying glass, the landscape of this little guy resembles the outer space, the planet’s surface.  The cube itself is a composition of layers of nature’s art works resurfacing in an exhibition hall.

 

这些纹路有致的小立方体,每一个代表人生的转折,一个转折将会影响下一个位置。而这些弯曲转折的山路,不就是它把故事凑起来的小镜头吗?

The lines caustic by the little small cubes, each and every pieces representing a turning point in life; a turning point affecting the next position. Just like the curvy turning point of a mountain, pooling the little shot of our own story.