Secret Garden in the Last Kampong

May 23, 2008 at 11:33 am | Posted in itchy backside | 5 Comments
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We were wandering around Kampong Lorong Buangkok, the last surviving kampong in Singapore, on a warm Saturday morning. Muddy ground laid with discarded carton boxes, rice sacks or old carpets, wooden houses with zinc roofs, rusty mailboxes, randomly placed household items outside the houses were the norm there. Few residents were seen that day, either still sleeping (though it was already half past nine in the morning), out working or out for grocery shopping at the nearby housing estates. Time seemed to be on a standstill, with people living a simple life in their own enclave, oblivious of the changing world outside which was just a stone’s throw away.

I was exploring around taking pictures when I took a wrong turn and found myself attracted by rows of plants that lead the way to this house sitting quietly at a corner.

Rows of neatly planted birdnests’ ferns opening up the way to this nice
little house sitting quietly at a corner

What followed was a most welcoming sight!

Cosy corner in front of the house welcomed owners and guests for a chit chat

It was a stark contrast from the rest of the houses that we saw earlier! Brightly painted in fresh hues, it was very well-maintained, with plants lovely pruned and the exterior wall adorned with paintings and photographs.

Even the door was different from the rest!

Close up of the door

A gong sat outside the door

An old fashion electricity meter

A dining area at the right. There was this lovely mirror with windows
among the many paintings and photographs

Candle light dinner anyone?

A cute water buffalo ash tray

Wooden clogs…classic kampong look…

The main attraction must be this wooden bed! Such a waste to leave it
outside explosed to the elements. But maybe that added to its charm.
Notice the traditional game on the bed?

All the while we wondered if there was anyone home, but seemed like they were all out. Would be nice to have a chit chat with the owner. They certainly took a lot of pride in their home and made it so cosy, even though it was rented on a land with an uncertain fate. The monthly rental of between S$6.50 to S$30 was really cheap – where else in Singapore could you rent a house with so much space where you are free to grow fruits and plants, leave your belongings outside the house unattended without worrying of theft, have neighbours as close as families, all these and more, at $30?

The late morning sun was scorching hot and a natural mozzy magnet, I had already collected quite a substantial numbers of kisses from the blood suckers. Time to go before we died of hunger and I died of blood lost…:p

We left the lovely wooden house and on our way out, saw a miniature tiger sleeping on a wooden bench…

Haha…just a fat tom cat enjoying the sun lah 😀

We saw a couple of cats in the kampong and so far had been unable to take their photos cos most were too shy and ran back into the house. But this tom cat couldn’t be bothered with our presence, and continued dreaming in his slumberland…

Yawn…so sleepy…

Until we got distracted by another sweet looking white cat…

There was this sweet and innocent look in her eyes…

It was only then that we met a friendly Malay aunty. Our friend tried to have a conversation with her with her rusty and limited knowledge of Melayu. The aunty had been staying in the kampong all her life. Now alone with her pet cats, she would not want to leave if possible. There was a slight saddness in her eyes and I supposed that came with not knowing the fate of the kampong. In a nation caught up with development and progress, and with limited land, it is inevitable that the land where the kampong is sitting now will be acquired by the government sooner or later. All we could do is to try to visit and experience their life, and capture whatever left on photographs to preserve memories of old Singapore.

We bid the aunty goodbye and left the kampong. Hopefully, the last kampong of Singapore is here to stay for many more years…We might come back for another visit, and hopefully we would be able to see more residents so as to understand their lives in the kampong better.

Also see related post:
> Balek Kampong – A Return to Village Dwelling



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  1. you just entered into the realms of Malay Costume/Make-up Artisan, Mr Jamil Sulong. He sings well too and it’s really warmer & cosy when the whole area lits up at night with his karaoke-nights.

    hehe..nice pictures around here btw!

    • Hi Womad,

      Do you happen to know Mr Jamil? Was thinking of returning to the Kampong again…think we might have missed some area of the Kampong the other time…

  2. That was an authentic Congkak game set.. coolz.. will u visit there again? Bring me leh.. curious to see the last kampong too.. been reading about it for quite some time.. didn’t know u visited it before too.

    • ya, want to visit again soon…

  3. yes,my mother in law was staying at kampong buangkok

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