The Making of “Kampung” Mural

Just as Singapore’s Kampongs are fast disappearing, a new yet rustic Kampong has mysteriously sprouted up on mainland Singapore!

DSCN1393Nestled 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….

 

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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.

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Can you spot the Crimson Sunbird perching on the fence? One of the Otters playfully poses for your photo, but take your time, it won’t turn away.
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An egret preying on an insect. The sun rays are real (come at around 4pm to see the phenomenon).
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Encik and his grandson
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Macik and Ah Soh, can I have some rambutans and durians too? The jackfruits look sweet as well!
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Longkang fishing
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A Grey Heron having a free buffet.
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Remember that you can only pluck the papayas in the front of the wall but not those behind the wall.

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Taking photos from behind the trees by the roadside give a surreal perspective.
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Can you spot the Common Kingfisher? Its sister, the Collared Kingfisher, was the star on our Singapore One Dollar Note in the seventies.

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.

Directions:

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

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18 thoughts on “The Making of “Kampung” Mural

  • I am always amazed by your ability to blend your art into the surroundings, extending your imagination past the 4 borders of a photo and giving us a different perspective. I look forward to seeing more of your art pieces…. 加油

  • I saw the mural and thought it was absolutely lovely.

  • Hi Ai See, Thank you! You still remember the “extension past the 4 borders” of the photo!? I’m amazed you remember it! This mural is kind of similar, extending it beyond the borders, but its the other way round because I can’t touch the outside of the borders, hence I have to think about integrating it inwards of the borders. Thanks again!

  • Thank you very much! I hope through it, more people appreciate Singapore’s biodiversity too (the birds, animals and plants) and learn to protect them.

  • Hi YC,
    I visited your mural today and was simply thrilled! I took many fun photos with it – “holding” your letter, stealing Uncle’s durian, feeding the rooster. The experience was simply lovely. I love your work and please keep up the fantastic spirit! God Bless!!

  • Hi Rebecca,

    Thank you for visiting the mural and giving me your generous encouraging words! I will be painting my fourth mural from mid next week at the Spottiswoode park Road, Blair Road, Everton Road cross junction, so you can check it out in about two week’s time when it is completed. Thank you very much!

    YC

  • From one muralist to another – this is the first time I encountered someone whom I can resonate with cos I don’t do graffiti with spray paint but fineart on the wall. Congratulations on work well done. I’d like you to also check out my murals in Chinatown, MacPherson, Clarke Quay and hope to start a new one soon pending approvals (you know the usual rules la….). you can find me in FB under Belinda Low – Art and as @lowbelinda in Instagram.
    Best wishes and Regards
    Belinda Low

  • Hi Belinda,

    Thank you very much reaching out. Indeed, we are the minority in mural art in Singapore, actually I don’t even know how to use spray paint! Your lovely “Colouring Banda Street” murals have inspired me to start my own mural painting. I’m a newbie taking break in between finance jobs, so I have much to learn from you. Would love to meet you one day, perhaps see you at work on your next mural or canvass. Keep in touch, thanks!

    YC

  • Hi Yip,
    Am very impressed with your photos. Do you know where I can buy your pics as I would like to use them to teach my preschoolers for next curriculum.
    Thank you.
    Alice Yap

  • Hi Alice,

    Thank you for reaching out and appreciating my photographs. Which photographs do you wish to use for your preschoolers teaching? I don’t sell my photographs and am happy to share them for non-commercial use a no cost. I’ll write to you offline and you can let me know which pictures you wish to use for preschool teaching purposes.

    Regards
    YC

  • Hello YC!

    Thank you for responding to my note! I shall vist your murals one of these days and hope to ‘catch’ you in action! I don’t use spray paint. I am into fineart on walls albeit tedious and physically challenging – but enjoyable! Yes we should keep in touch and inspire / encourage each other. Keep the kampung spirit alive – that’s our contribution as artists to society!
    Cheers!
    Belinda

  • Thank you for replying to my note.
    Yes we shall keep in touch!
    That’s our contribution as artists to society!

  • It is amazing to look at your art murals at Everton Road. I wish there are more artists like you who can share their artistic work in the public. I will visit some of your other sites some other day.

  • Thank you very much Guan Nor!

  • Hi Yip
    Came across your website and
    Enjoyed reading your articles especially your back packing trip with your daughter and your detailed accounts of the challenges and joy you faced during the trip or with each of your art work.
    I’m curious to know what kind of paint do you normally use for your art work ? Is a coat of protective spray needed to seal the finishing ?
    Thank you for your time ! 🙂

    Regards
    Lei

  • Hi Lei,

    Thank you for your appreciation of my works! I enjoyed every trip I made, anywhere in the world, any style. I enjoy especially unplanned journeys much more, like the trip I made with my daughter whereby the only booking we made in the whole journey was the air ticket to fly into Hanoi and out of Shanghai. Anything in between were determined along the way.

    Regarding paints, I actually don’t have much experience in paints. I used only basic emulsion weather-proof paints like Dulux Weathershield or Nippon Weatherbond. With better technology nowadays, I think they are quite good for anti-UV and moisture. I never thought of putting protective layers as murals are never meant to be permanent. I will be already happy if they can last for 2 to 3 years, but if the murals are not under direct sunlight and rain, they can actually last for many years.

  • Hi Yip YC,
    I would like to correspond with you via email to get your permission to photograph your murals for calendar 2017. Can you drop a mail so that I can connect with you soon. Thks

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