Today in Singapore I got the oppotunity you visit the last kampong (village) in Singapore. I had (and still do) reservations on “visiting” people’s homes but I’m glad I got to see a piece of living history. The guys leading us were known to the people living there and had asked permission and ensured we behaved respectfully. The land where the village stands was acquired in 1956 and there used to be rubber plantations in the area before. The current owner is the daughter of the original owner and about 28 families rent from her for about $30. When we first came to it there was something in the view that seemed abnormal but I couldn’t figure it out until looking at the pictures later. It was the presence of electric (and maybe telephone? ) wires overhead. There are so few places in Singapore where this is still the case. The old marker for the road also told of a time when the postal codes were shorter.
The area is still prone to flooding and a flood marker remains on the side of the road.
Most of the houses are wooden with zinc roofing. The wood is also used since its lighter than brick or concrete and the swampy land wouldn’t support their weight. The mixture of Chinese and Malay families is evident in the style and decor of the houses.
The people living there seem to tend to small vegetable/fruit farms and keep livestock. It really seems like a place where time has stood still. Even from parts of the village you can see the HDBs.
Not everyone remains thiugh,there a few “we were here ” markers left behind by residents who had left. Perhaps soon everyone will have to leave as it seems to be in the way of the city plans for a road. Being the last such place it has been in a lot attention recently. People speak of wanting to conserve it. But what is “it” really? A lot of the residents were older having lived there over 40 years or so. Definitely as long a community wants to keep living there and maintaining their way of life it makes sense to remain. But I fear that the attention also makes the place into a bit of an “attraction” (very conscious of my part in this) and then would they still have the same undisturbed life.