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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Fire At Kampong Eunos

Map of Kampong Eunos

Kampong Eunos fire site in February 1963
Picture from the National Archives of Singapore

The original Kampong Eunos was a Malay resettlement in Kaki Bukit area at Jalan Eunos. My Kampong Eunos then was a Chinese village bounded by Changi Road/Lorong Marican/Jalan Yasin/Jalan Eunos forming a rectangle. A sign post 'Kampong Eunos' stood by the roadside between No 279 and 283 Changi Road showed the way to the kampong.

The kampong had a coffee shop for the villagers to socialise, a provision shop with a stall extension selling perishable food such as vegetables and fish and a Chinese temple to provide spiritual need. There were a few other shops in between. For products not available at the shops the housewives made their way to the nearby markets at Changi Road and Joo Chiat Road now replaced by Joo Chiat Complex. Diagonally opposite the temple was a 2 storey timber building Chinese school. Behind it was a cluster of attap huts. Further into the kampong was a coffee powder factory. In February 1963, a few attap huts situated nearer to Changi Road was on fire. The burnt area was acquired by the authority and a community centre was built. The building is now home to many artists.

Another access to the kampong was from Lorong Sarina. It was originally a foot path leading to a vegetable farm between Lorong Marican and the path. In the second half of 1950 the landscape changed due to housing developments in the area. Lorong Sarina, an earth road was built to provide an access from Changi Road to Jalan Yasin. There was a mixed of Chinese and Malay population in this part of the kampong.

Malay friends came for a visit during Chinese New Year

People in the kampong were very friendly and knew their neighbours by name. I had a Malay neighbour a few doors away. My mother would baby sit for her 3 months old son, each time she went to the polyclinic. The child called my mother 'mak' (mother in Malay). On festival day such as Chinese New Year and Hari Raya Aidilfitri, we visited each other's home.
We owned a black and white television set and children from the neighbourhood came to watch the programme every evenings.

In the morning, mobil hawkers on wheels came with vegetables, fish and pork. Besides marketing it was also the time for housewives to socialise and gossips. The men socialised by playing mahjong with the neighbours especially on week-ends. I had fond memory of the Magnolia fresh milk/ice cream vendor. He'd come in his mini van and I loved to eat his sandwich ice cream with chocolate flavour. Another favourite hawker was the Indonesian satay man. He never over burn the satay and the beef was succulent.

Today, Kampong Eunos has been transformed and become smaller. The terraced house where I lived and the land nearby had been acquired by the Government for the building of Sim's Avenue East and MRT line. Condominiums sprouted out facing Sim's Avenue East. Kampong Eunos is no longer a kampong.

A mobile hawker on wheels.
Housewives meet and chat

The dirt road also act as a playground for the children.

My children

Two good neighbours

A kampong beauty

My brother and our neighbours playing mahjong

Our black and white television set

Kampong wedding

The wedding entourage


professor said...

You Malay neighbours "chantek".

Woh beauty posing by the car - so short mini skirt then? Which year?

PChew said...

yahkah? tahum 1962

professor said...

Saya ingat perempuan Melayu sudah nenek sekarang

Ada gambar Siglap Hill, dekat church?

Lam Chun See said...

I have some photos of my sister in a mini-skirt just like the one in your photo.

Lam Chun See said...

I have written a article about kampong weddings in my blog here. I wonder if those in your kampong were similar.

In our kampong, the women folks had their banquet in the afternoon whilst the men folk had theirs at night. Ours was a mainly Hokkien kampong.

PChew said...

Hi Chun See, I just went through your blog regarding kampong wedding. I think it differ from kampong to kampong. We had afternoon banquet for the ladies. But a night the whole family was invited to the restaurant for dinner. Often there was chaos at sittings as there was no sitting arrangement like today. There were very few 'ang pow' but a lot of presents such as teapot sets, vacuum flask, forks and spoons set, clothing materials, cosmetic sets and others. Usually the wedding couple ended up with many same articles.

PChew said...

professor, kalau perempuan itu tidak kawin, mana boleh jadi nenek?

yg said...

so cool. playing mahjong in singlets outside the house. perempuan so chantek ta kawin, sayang, leh. it's like a nice, big house but not occupied or a porsche car, never driven fast.

PChew said...

Hey, without women like her, there would be no SDU,no computer match making, no foreign brides and our Govt would not give money for making more babies. We must terima kaseh her.

Unknown said...

Stumbled onto your site and it sure brought back memories! I was at Telok Kurau Sec Sch during the mid 80s and we walked thru your kampong to catch a bus back to bedok! Where exactly was Telok Kurau English School back then?

PChew said...

Telok Kurau English School was at Lorong J Telok Kurau. It was bounded by Lor J Telok Kurau/Telok Kurau Road/Joo Chiat Place forming a square.

Basil Yeo said...


Thanks for your sharing. My dad used to live in Kg Eunos, when he was born in '57 right up till before the place was redeveloped. I found his old NS booklet which said they used to live at 43-A.

PChew said...

Hi Basil, are related to Yeo Koon Seng?