This is a 2nd part of my earlier blog post - A Happening afternoon.
I readily admit that i have not gotten a chance to visit a kampong (a malay name for village), much less live in one. Therefore, i decided to visit Kampong Buangkok yesterday afternoon to relish the chance. It is the last standing kampong which still exist in Singapore. It’s a place which might vanish off the face of Singapore, anytime the government decides to do something else with that small piece of land. It certainly felt surreal walking through the kampong, especially in the context of what Singapore has become.
I feel all of us should visit this kampong while it's still alive, it will be something once lost never to be able to recover. It won't be surprising that in the future kampong will be forgotten as what it was many years ago, who knows the word "kampong" might even "extinct".
I can only take a trip down to memory lane at Lorong Buangkok to experience the simplicity of life and all. It's a different world, a different kind of lifestyle - one that's simple and of a slower pace, that we, city dwellers often have forgotten or overlooked.
Main entrance leading into the kampong. Back in the days, living in Singapore meant village life. Kampong Buangkok was just one of the dime a dozen villages scattered throughout the island.
To almost all Singaporean of the older generation, a kampong will certainly bring back fond childhood memories and nostalgia. I always hear vivid tales recalled by my grandparents on how simple life was back then.
The village did appear very much as if time has left it behind, as I weaved my way through the maze of wooden houses, each with a distinct character and colour. The houses were certainly typical of the kampong houses of old, with cemented floors and a grilled gap left between the zinc roofs and the exterior walls of wood to provide ventilation.
Take a walk into the kampong is just like taking a walk back in time, all the way to the 1950s or 60s.
Over here, you may not get to see kids running around in the broad day light during the weekend, they would stay in the house to watch television, some uncles will sit back and fan themselves on their grandfathers' chair. There is hardly a single walking soul around the village, it is so laid back that i felt i have disrupted the peaceful atmosphere.
Some families take pride in sprucing their house to make it look as pretty as possible from the outside. This particular family belongs to one of those.
Many of the residents have lived in the village for more than 40 years, with many not wanting to move out having been used to the laid back lifestyle and access to open spaces that moving into the modern suburban would rob them of.
There is a surau (prayer room) in the kampung for the Malay residents.
It was certainly nice to encounter some of the villagers, who readily smiled at me that had descended on the village breaking the calm and peace of the village. Of whom i am sure they must have gotten too much attention and interest in the last kampong that they are staying which has increased with all the publicity it has received in recent years.
Kampong Buangkok is still around and thriving, despite a of couple announcements from the Singapore government which claimed that the Kampong was due to be demolished and redeveloped in the near future. How much longer will Kampong Buangkok be around, that I am not sure. But i definitely recommend the place to anyone who is interested in embarking in a trip back to the past. Savor what this living piece of history can offer. Visit it soon.
Only yesterday afternoon, i realised how much i had enjoyed roaming that un-urbanized piece of land and experiencing the understated joy of exploring. In urban Singapore, where streets are laid out with sky-scraper buildings all looking almost the same, there is really nothing much to truly explore. In contrast, a piece of unhabitated land over at this long surviving village can develop so much potential for adventure and learning. Modern conveniences or not, there are perks of kampong living that urban life can never provide. Believe me. :-)