Thursday, 10 May 2012

The Last Surviving Kampong Lorong Buangkok

Kampong Lorong Buangkok
Been heard of the last surviving of Kampong Lorong Buangkok took me a long time to see this nostalgia place after my late grandma's villages torn down in late 1982. This place will bring me memories of Kampong days when I was a kid.
On the hot afternoon as if the sky is going to darken soon and hopefully it would not rain when my Muslim friend and I would reach there around 3.30pm, to have a last look an old Kampong Lorong Buangkok. This well signboard probably leads to the Surau Muslim Prayer room. The place which reminds of the kampong days and it is indeed a nostalgia place where many younger generations would never heard or know of what they had lived in these wooden houses for decades.
Cable overhead pole in darken cloud
Built in 1965 or early and who knows it might earlier than that accordingly to the residents who lives there all their life. I remember my late grandma and her 18 children who lived at Kampong village since early 1950s after WWII till late 1982 when the government acquired the land to be redevelopments along Jurong areas and Upper Bukit Timah road.
Sandy road leads to the zinc roof houses
Kampong Lorong Buangkok has a rich history heritage since and one of the last surviving kampongs in S'pore and the swampy areas and hilly roads as well as thick forests that was once of my late grandma's kampong was like that living in this areas for decades. Kampong villages where many local folks or residents who lives in this peaceful surrounding of the forests and the sound of night crickets are heard among the bushes of the forests and hilly areas. A huge towering power cables that was used for communication within kampong area that help to communicate to one another. Kampong residents pay not more than $30 a month for rent to the landlord till to this day.
Red zinc roofed wooden house is seen on sandy footpath
Not all the kampong village has its red zinc roofed wooden house where my late grandma's kampong villages had different type of roofed top of their houses and thus to prevent the rain from pouring in during rainy seasons. These zinc roofed wooden house can last long time and if it is broken and immediately replaced a new one when they spotted the roof top of their house. Being familiar of Kampong lives of local residents like my late grandma and relatives who lived there for decades before they moved out to a new housing housing in Boon Lay Drive and other location that closed to their grandma's flat in late 1982 after Boon Lay Drive was built.
Stack of wooden poles lined up on sandy road
You may not seen these wooden poles piled up on each side by side, that is to prevent incoming motorists or cyclists crashing onto the residents' wooden houses when the road is curved on rocky paths. Such an accident do happen among the kampong villages especially night falls, kampong houses in total darkness with dim lights or there is not street lights along the stretch of the road paths. Thus the colours wooden poles are seen in Kampong Lorong Buangkok served a 'warning'  with flashlights coming from the motorists when the road is curved and they swerve to keep away from hitting the wooden houses next to these poles.
Zigzag road is seen along the wooden houses
Heading along the stretch roads of what was used to be a swampy areas at that time I could remember before the sandy path road was invented. Wooden houses along the road where many old residents living as early as 1954 before it was built in 1956 and thus living in settlement. Without electricity and gas, most villages would survive on kerosene lamps, burning charcoal woods, farming and their daily lives on household chores. In early time, there was no street lamps at that time along the thick forests but they are living in the quiet and peaceful life, away from main roads. I missed this peaceful kampong life what my late grandma lived for decades. Till then, Kampong residents received electricity and water supplies in 1963, two years before the independence of Singapore in 1965.
One of the Kampong residents - Elder Malay resident
One of the kampong residents, Malay guys whom we managed to talk to them, on how they are adapt to the kampong life even though, it is now 21st century of modern city of Singapore. My friend managed to chat with one the siblings who is the younger resident (below) after he had chatted with the elder resident of the same kampong.
Buangkok resident - Younger resident
Both are siblings who come to visit their mother who had lived there ever since till now. They came here on free their time, just to help out in doing some spring cleaning, house chores and other simple stuff. Two siblings - One lives in Yishun while the other one lives in Pasir Ris.
What an inspired me on these two friendly Malay residents who loved and help their mother despite their busy schedule. He even mentioned that at nights, it is very dark and the lights around and very dim surrounding the kampong as if it looks like haunted houses with crickets sounds could be heard. It would be dangerous for the visitors to come and explore as kampong are hardly seen around them. He also mentioned that many visitors including students came to visit around the kampong and even tourists also spotted around the areas. My friend and I chatted with him as if we were old friends in our times and talked for more than 5 minutes.
But it's advisable not to come at nights and who knows there might be a snake lurking around thick muddy forests and even 'barked' dogs that being kept by Chinese residents for their protection of intruders. On the bottom of my heart, my friend and I thanked two Malay siblings for their time to chat with us and their hospitality to allow us to have photoshot with their house surroundings..
Two siblings visit their mother on the pot of land
This pot of land is the size of basketball court where they are farming on the pot of muddy sand which you won't not see this in Singapore anymore. I recalled in younger days of my late grandma's village was also the size of basketball court and extended up within the area with two or three villages of her own and had fenced up. 
Farming on the muddy sand
Younger Malay resident wearing long rubber boots and helps on farming on the muddy sand in the morning or afternoon when the sky is clear. I recalled on kampong days, my late grandma's villages also had a farm too and reared pigs, ducks, chickens and also kept guarded dogs as well as a small paddy field on top of the hill. 
One of their playground - A swing on the tree
A swing of the tree is spot just outside their house which is belonged to them. Their kids will play the swing whenever they bring their kids to visit their grandmother.
kampong houses surrounded by forest
As the sky is going to darken and it rains heavily, we seek shelter of the mother of two siblings' kampong before we set off to other location and thus we managed to snap a few shots till the rain stops in a few minutes. As you can see the kampong that is surrounded by the thick forest along on sand footpath of the village. 
Sitting on an old chair
As I was sitting on an old chair looking back of my memory of kampong that seem reminds me of the past that was no longer there. The last surviving Kampong Lorong Buangkok is the last resort of an old Singapore where many visitors mostly tourists  would have heard this.
Old Electric lamp
The old electric lamp hangs on the top of the two sibling's kampong house where I was sitting next to it. This is quite common lamp that can be seen in Singapore.
Lorong Buangkok 1954
Thus this street name and street code of Lorong Buangkok 1954 stated in early years whereas the Kampong built in 1956, located at Kampong Lorong Buangkok off Yio Chu Kang road.
After the rain had stopped, we left the house  and walked back along the road from where we came from and it wasn't difficult to locate back to where we were.
A Buddha Statue
Along the grassy path which is near the Malay resident's kampong, there is a Buddha statue sitting on the stone ground, surrounding with small statues. One of Chinese residents would place an orange with flower buds on the palm of the Buddha and there is joss-stick on the burner on the ground. Many Chinese residents would pray homage to the Buddha statue for their safety and asked for peaceful life.
Pigeons and Chickens
Passing by the rows of wooden houses, we spotted the chicken and the birds grouped together as if they are friends for years. They are happily walking around and thus picking up the food what left on the road. There is no surprise for me as I had seen these cute animals during my kampong days.
As it was getting late, we walked towards the main road and walked to the bus-stop near to the Shell station, took the bus and were heading home.
Memory of the trip that inspires me of the past that never be forgotten over the decades.
You may read my friend's blog about our adventure and yet a nostalgia trip for us. 
How do you feel about this kampong where many local residents - Malay and Chinese had lived their life during and after WWII.
Do visit this nostalgia Kampong Lorong Buangkok before they are gone and otherwise you could never see it again in the face of modern Singapore. Remember - Respect their privately as kampong is their home.

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