I finally went to visit this place after knowing about it for few years. It’s the last surviving kampong in the modern mainland of Singapore. The place is very accessible. It’s off Yio Chu Kang road, near the Church of St. Vincent de Paul and it’s already surrounded by high rise apartments and landed houses. Not sure, how long more it will stay this way.
I met a nice gentleman, Pak Jumadi, who was cutting a fallen tree and was kind enough to tell me a story of this place. He and his family moved there about 50 years ago. He was only 12. Though he does not live there anymore, he still comes to visit his mother, who does not want to move out, when he is free. He told me a little story about this place. In the 1950s, it was called Kampong Selak Kain. In Malay, it means hitching up one’s kain or sarong. Sarong is a piece of cloth (kain), usually worn by the Malays, wrapped around the waist and it usually covers the legs till the ankle. The place was flooded quite a lot in the old days, hence the people living there had to hitch up their kain or sarong as they waded through the flood water. The place used to be a swamp, hence it’s also called Kampong Paya sometimes.
Buang Kok was actually the name of the narrow street (Lorong) there. In the photo above, you can see the old street sign, Lorong Buang Kok 1954, which the resident there keeps. 1954 was the old postal code of this place. Singapore has had six-digit postal code system now.
He invited me to sit in the veranda of his mother’s house and drew a map and explained to me about the place. Lorong Buang Kok was about 2.5 km long, he said. In Malay, they call that distance 2 batu.
This house, according to Pak Jumadi, was already there when his father moved to this place. It could be the oldest house there. Nobody seems to live there anymore now.
And this used to be a big fish pond, he said.
That’s Pak Jumadi in his yellow rubber boot that he wore when he was cutting the fallen tree.
He politely declined when I asked if I could take his picture, but he said I could take picture of his back :)
I may visit this place again when the weather is dry. I would like to get into one’s house and have coffee with them. Enjoy the rest of the photos below.