In the midst of Singapore’s modern architecture and concrete jungle, lies a 60 year old village which is still unheard of amongst most Singaporeans. Kampong Lorong Buangkok, with its 28 families still residing in wooden houses with zinc roofs, is the last remaining ‘Kampung’ in Singapore today.
Kampong Lorong Buangkok is situated right in the heart of the Hougang neighbourhood, surrounded by skyscraping flats and condominiums. This piece of land the village now sits on was acquired by Mr Sng Teow Koon in 1956. Mr Sng then lived there with his family and rented out the remaining land to others. Just within a few years, Kampong Buangkok then expanded from a village of 4-5 households, into one that housed almost 40 families in the 1960s.
As you walk through its cluster of rundown wooden houses, the village atmosphere would seem to bring you back in time. While nostalgia would overwhelm the middle aged and elderly as they relive their childhood memories, the younger ones gain an insight into how Singapore looks like, half a century ago.
Being out of place in 21st century Singapore can prove to be quite problematic. Kampong Buangkok is also known as ‘Selak Kain’ in Malay which translates into ‘hitching up one’s sarong’. This is because its residents are constantly haunted by flooding problems and plans to improve the drainage system never go through since it is not deemed a worthwhile investment.
The land is also believed to be due for redevelopment in the near future, which had sparked numerous debates about whether this last visible part of Singapore’s history should be retained, albeit at a huge opportunity cost.
Check out Kampong Lorong Buangkok instead, as a refreshing change to your usual Sunday morning strolls at urbanized MacRitchie Reservoir and experience the true ‘Kampong spirit’ while it still subsists in Singapore.