As I returned from my hometown village for Chinese New Year, I was curious about whether there’s a similar kampong in Singapore since Malaysia and Singapore shares a similar cultural history. In Malaysia, there’s hundreds of kampongs just for the Chinese, as they were one of the tactics conducted by the British to isolate the Communist military troops from their families and relatives food supplies and medical aids. We called them Kampung Baru as in New Villages.
Once the keywords, “Singapore kampong” were inserted into the search engine, Google showed plenty of web articles referring the “Last Kampong in Singapore”, Kampong Lorong Buangkor. The results did not surprise me much as it was expected for a developed country like Singapore. However, it intrigued me for being the last spot where I can witness a living history of Singapore’s urbanization. Not to mention, the observable contrast of modernization must be so obvious as it is located in the middle of a town.
During the Valentines Day, I began my search through some taps on Google Maps. A train ride to Khatib and a bus ride to Gerald Drive, within 2 hours, I reached my destinations. Unlike Malaysia’s Kampongs which usually have a big gate welcoming the visitors, Kampong Lorong Buangkor has a sign that points towards their one and only surau. (As shown in the video.)
The housing area was unorganized, there’s no finely paved roads, and there’s not much informative locations I can ask about. That’s why for this first trip to the location, I went stealth mode, which was basically filming the kampong stealthily. Fortunately, no one was standing in the outdoors at 12 noon but me. So, all the from the lorong to the end of the kampong, it was just me with my camera, walking through awkwardly. I did see some villagers on the way but I didn’t establish any conversation. This is because I was wandering about my topics for this project.
The second topic I was considering, was the buskers in Singapore, mainly concentrated in Orchard area. I’ve only found three of the frequent buskers by the time I visited the locations provided by the Internet. It was a raining afternoon which caused many of the buskers stayed home. Few of them who do street performing for living or publicity stayed around their spot while others didn’t show up. There’s another factor that my buskers didn’t go well. It is because I relied on articles and information on the Internet for past times. Many of the sources are at least one year old. Thus, some may have change their locations and did not have a platform to confirm their updates.
Therefore, there’s a few challenges for the future of my Singapore Diaries. Which theme I’m doing? In what format shall I present my narratives? What would be my content and context? And how should I establish them?
There are lots of questions worth brainstorming. So stay tuned….