Singapore’s Last Village

I didn’t even know we had a village? But now that I do know, it’s sad that it’s going to the torn down. It’s wonderful to me that the landlords have been charging the residents of Buangkok Village who are also their neighbours and friends only a nominal rent of not more than $30 Singapore dollars. Read more at the NY Times.

{Image: NY Times}

Few people in Singapore know that one village still survives, hidden in trees 200 yards from a highway.

“Even if I want to show my children how I was brought up I can’t show them,” said Ho Why Hong, 50, a taxi driver, as he searched for Kampong Buangkok. “Everything is torn down.”

“When we were growing up we didn’t lock our doors,” he said. “That kind of trust we had. Everyone knew each other. Any stranger who came into the kampong, we knew.”

In modern Singapore, few neighbors know each other, said Sarimah Cokol, 50, who grew up in Kampong Buangkok and now lives in one of the apartments that people here call pigeonholes.

“Open door, close door,” she said in the terse speech of no-nonsense Singapore. “After work, go in. Close door.”

The scene in the video might be familiar to anyone who used to live in a Singapore Kampong (Malay word for village). The residents who moved from the spacious village to a small HDB flat usually feel claustrophobic and cooped up. They probably find the neighbours really unfriendly too.

About bookjunkie

Blogging about my daily life in Singapore helps with my mid life crisis.
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