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Saturday, May 26, 2012

Kampong Spirit

The Straits Times on 25.05.2012 published an article about inter-faith bonding and kampong spirit. It reminded me of the kampong spirit at Kampong Eunos and later at Marine Terrace. Kampong spirit is natural and spontaneous. Children played  together in the open grounds or HDB void decks, housewives met to chat at wet market stalls and the men played majhong at week ends.
The above photo was taken outside my house. It shows children playingt together. The boy in singlet is my brother. At the background on the left of the photo is a group of kampong folks chatting. They met at the front of a provision shop which is hidden by the fence.

There were mobile hawkers coming to the kampong selling market produce and pork in the morning. The two ladies were neighbours, staying one door away from each other.

Unfortunately part of the kampong had been acquired by the government for the MRT line and Sim's Ave extension. Other parts of the kampong gave way to new developments such as private housing. It is difficult to have the same kampong spirit when resited to a new environment.

Magic show held at void deck

When I moved to Marine Parade in the mid 1970s, I could stilll feel the kampong spirit there but differnt from Kampong Eunos. Since we were the first occupiers of the block of flats, it was easy to know one another after a period of time. The adults met often in the lifts on their way to work. The housewives met at the wet markets. I saw children playing at the void decks and the car park. Occasionally the residents organised pot-luck. On one occasion there was a magic show held at void deck.

What happens now? Over the years I noticed the kampong spirit declining. Original residents had moved out and new ones moved in. There was no more pock-luck and organised activities had ceased. The children in the photos have grown up, got married and moved out. The void deck is now very quiet. There is no more kampong spirit among the neighbours. But the original residents which are a handful now still maintained a very good relationship.