Saturday, February 16, 2013

The last kampong in Singapore

The last surviving kampong (village) cluster of houses in Singapore mainland is Kampong Lorong Buangkok. Feburary 14 was my second visit to Buangkok with my friends. The last time i visited this place was in June 2011 and am pretty glad, father time has been gentle with this place for now.

Getting there 
The nearest MRT if you are coming from the South, East or West of Singapore is the Serangoon Station (NE12 / CC13). From Serangoon Interchange, take bus 103 and get down at the bus stop that is in front of the Church of St.Vincent de Paul (bus stop: 67079). The landmark in front of you should be the Shell petrol station.
Bus stop and buses that come here
Cross Yio Chu Kang road and you should see a bridge that you will need to cross over. The bridge will bring you across the canal to Gerald Drive. After the bridge turn left and follow the road and at the bend of the road, on your right, the first house that you should be seeing is No 8 Lorong Buangkok. Welcome to Kampong Buangkok and happy exploring !

Bridge that leads you to Gerald Drive and into
Kampong Buangkok 
Photos of Kampong Buangkok 
The kampong today consist about 28 Chinese and Malay families. At its peak in the late 70's, it had about 40 families.
Kampong houses in Buangkok 

Kampong houses in Buangkok 
Kampong houses in Buangkok 
Expunged road
Remember to explore beyond the village to other parts of Buangkok especially the expunged road that is beside Buangkok. That itself is an interesting side trip to see what used to be a road that is slowly been swallowed by the forested woodlands. Some of the interesting bird life i saw while walking here was the lesser flame-backed woodpecker.
Exploring the expunged road

The road that is slowly disappearing 

The beauty that surrounds us

Some things you might not know about Kampong Buangkok
1. It is still a private land, originally owned by the late Mr Sng Teow Koon, now owned by his surviving children. The land (Mukim number MK21-00657x) is about the size of 3 football fields and based on the old 1961 map, majority of its area was still swamp land back then. 
1961 map of Lorong Buangkok and latest map detailing the size of current property
2. Due to its typography (and the fact it was once a swamp land), it was prone to flooding earning its nickname , "Kampong Selak Kain" among the Malay community living there. Selak kain means to lift up your sarung". 
Residents of Kampong Buangkok wading in water in 1976
(source: a2o)
3. There used to be a leprosy colony next door for its neighbour. Singapore Leprosy Relief Association (Silra) Home housed many lepers from the time it opened in 1971 and after Trafalgar Home for the lepers (built in 1926) closed its doors for good, it became the home for lepers. Silra Home itself was eventually closed in 2005.
Silra Home, then and now
4. The postal code for Kampong Lorong Buangkok is 1954. Singapore prior to September 1, 1995 had a 4-digit postal code. Now of course, its 6-digit. 
Lorong Buangkok  postal code 1954
Final parting shots 
Electric pole - a rarity in Singapore

Hibiscus (Bunga raya) - a well loved flower shrub
by both Malay and Chinese villagers
A constant reminder that development is
only a doorstep away  

The party might be over for Kampong Buangkok

References
40 families hit by flood.(1975, September 25). The Straits Times, page 6
Kampung Lorong Buangkok. [website]. Infopedia
The last memories of the rural Singapore of the old. [website]. The long and winding road
leprosy and relocation. [website].Work class historian 

4 comments:

Laura Freeman said...

Thanks for this helpful post and the information provided. This is a part of Singapore I really hope to visit.

Rojak Librarian said...

Thanks ! Do visit soon !

SY said...

Interesting!! will visit soon!

nicky said...

wow. singapore still have such a kampong feel. is so good.

hmm can we take pic at there? if i go visit..or need to ask for the permission of the owner?

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