Just as Singapore’s Kampongs are fast disappearing, a new yet rustic Kampong has mysteriously sprouted up on mainland Singapore!
Nestled within a coconut grove, A Malay family and a Chinese family live side by side in their traditional air-cooled wooden houses. The fragrance of durians, rambutan and bananas fill the air. A lazy cat nonchalantly naps on amidst the noisy crowing of the roosters and barking of the dog. Nearby, swaying coconut trees rustle in the breeze above an idyllic pond teeming with egrets, herons and kingfishers. The whiteness of the egrets contrast with the rippling green pond like floating white clouds against an azure sky. A pair of squeaking otters play peekaboo amongst floating water hyacinth blooming in purple flowers. A crimson sunbird perches on a fence, chirping sweet melodies, adding to the symphony. On the opposite side of the pond, there is a papaya plantation and a banana plantation. A glistening longkang (dialect for a stream), its shores decorated with yellow creeping daisies, meanders through the plantations. A father teaches his little boy how to pluck papayas using an improvised container and stick by cupping and twisting them, the traditional Kampong way of plucking papayas. Three boys sit on a bridge planking the longkang, chatting, fishing and just enjoying the Kampong life.
Those were the Kampong days….
I spent a week recreating this idyllic bygone Kampong scene by hand-painting the above details and blending them into the environment. I really miss these scenes. I think many of us miss them too. Such scenes were so common in olden day Singapore, but they have all been buried in our rapid development. Although Kampong Buangkok or the Kampongs in Pulau Ubin are still present, their village atmosphere are more muted due to fewer residents and activities. I hope this commissioned heritage mural helps bring back good old memories for the older generation, as well as let the younger generations have a glimpse of Kampong life, without the need to cross the Straits of Johore. Do bring your elders or kids to visit this new Kampong before nature takes over and the elements fade its colours. The elders can relive the old days of munching durians at the verandah while the kids can get up close with the birds and otters. I take this opportunity to thank the owner for the opportunity to create this “Kampong” for all to enjoy.
Visiting the Mural
The Kampong is located at Tanah Merah area, along Upper Changi Road just beside the main gate of Palmwoods Condominium and perpendicularly opposite the row of ‘East Village’ eateries. The mural is very visible as it faces the main road (Upper Changi Road). It’s along a shady public walking pavement, hence it is a nice and safe way to enjoy the “scenery” and “birdwatch”. When you visit it, please note the wall belongs to a private property along a public pavement and grass verge, hence I urge you to please speak softly so as not to disturb the real residents and wildlife (you will hear real chirping birds). Please take only pictures and do not pluck any real papayas and bananas, lemon grass nor trample on the plants (you may bring your own real fruits to pose for photos, but please help keep the place clean by not littering). The best time to visit it is 4pm, when the afternoon sun rays pierce through the canopy and light up the mural with a bit of the trees’ swaying shadows, giving it a surreal effect. After visiting the mural, you may like to walk around the quaint ‘Bedok Marketplace’ or “East Village” vicinity. There are abundant eateries, shops, a Giant Hypermart and an old styled Post Office. The whole vicinity has a village atmosphere.
By MRT – At Tanah Merah Station, cross by underpass to the bus stop going towards Expo Station direction, take Bus No. 2, 9 or 48 and alight at the 3rd bus-stop. You will see the mural on the opposite side of the road.
By Car – Park at “Bedok Market Place” carpark (not to be confused with Bedok Central, a different place altogether). Walk about 200 metres along the perimeter of the Palmwoods Condominium until you see its main gate. The mural is just beside the gate.
Lastly, if you like my work, please share it in social media. Please also feel free to contact me for any future mural ideas or opportunities by leaving either a Facebook private message or a comment on my Blog, after which I will respond. Thank you for your support and enjoy visiting the “Kampung”.
Bonus Pics : Behind the scenes