“I had to put my child on my shoulders and get him to higher ground because the flood got to our shoulders!” mused Mr. Sedek. Back in the old days, Kampong Lorong Buangkok – more passionately known today as Singapore’s last Kampong – was situated next to a mangrove swamp where flash floods hit the low-lying Kampong whenever there is a heavy downpour. The village grounds are a living testament to the Kampong spirit which kept the place going all this while. “We used to come home after school, and worked on filling our Kampong grounds with clement and sand. It was a lot of work, but everyone in the kampong helped made it possible.”
Back in its heyday, the Kampong grounds stretched on for two to three miles all the way to Punggol and was home to hundreds of Chinese, Indian and Malay families all living harmoniously together. “We knew everyone within a three kilometre radius. And we used to play lots of football at the old Woodbridge Hospital football field with other kids from neighbouring Kampongs. One of the boys we played with was Fandi Ahmad.” Pointing to a clearing opposite their house, Sedek told me that used to be a huge fishing pond where the Chinese would rear fishes and line them in during Chinese New Years for the annual festival feastings together with other non-Chinese inhabitants of the Kampong.
Majority of the residents have moved out of Kampong Lorong Buangkok through the years, leaving less than 20 families still residing in the once noisy village. Although Mr Sedek has moved out of the Kampong, he continues to visit his aunt who resides in the Kampong regularly to this day. “As long as our landlady keeps this place, we will too.”
Perhaps one day, the 50-year-old Kampong will cease to be, but the fond memories and the community spirit forged in the Kampong will live on in the hearts of its occupants and their children whom those stories are fondly told and relived.
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