The History Behind Kampong Lorong Buangkok

The History Behind Kampong Lorong Buangkok

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Image Credits: Zarina Baguio

Seemingly forgotten by the modernization of Singapore, Kampong Lorong Buangkok has withstood the test of time to become the last kampong village in mainland Singapore.

Amidst Singapore’s concrete jungle, Kampong Lorong Buangkok has grown become a popular attraction for its seemingly magical ability to resist the development of modern Singapore.

As the last kampong village in mainland Singapore, it has offered the younger generation a glimpse into the olden days that their parents and grandparents have lived and reminisced about.

The Forgotten Village

In 1956, Chinese medicine seller Sng Teow Koon bought the plot of land and carved out separate lots for families to rent. By the early 1960s, over 40 families have settled down and called this village home.

As a former swap, the village was prone to flooding. This explains its other name, Kampong Selak Kain, which means “hitching up one’s sarong” in Malay; villagers often have to lift up their sarongs to traverse along the village during the rainy days.

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The building of a canal along Gerald Drive have alleviated the issue but it remains insufficient during heavy flash flood. A proposal to improve the surrounding drainage system was dropped after it was deemed to be cost ineffective to budget $10 million for just 28 families living in the village.

The Kampong Spirit

A colloquial term for camaraderie, cohesiveness and community, the kampong spirit dates back to the olden days when doors were always open and everyone knew each other. 

Today, the kampong spirit is still very much alive in Kampong Lorong Buangkok, albeit fading away with the dwindling number of villagers.

For the younger population who have not lived through the kampong days, the kampong spirit have taken a twist through online mediums such as social media and shopping apps.

Image Credits: larrywee instagram

For the younger population who have not lived through the kampong days, the kampong spirit have taken a twist through online mediums such as social media and shopping apps.

Today

Zinc-roofed wooden houses, open gates, exposed electrical wires, and free-roaming chickens. Not much have changed since the 1960s.

Over the years, plots of the village have been acquired by the government of Singapore for redevelopment purpose. The remaining land — estimated to be three soccer field large kampong — is currently valued at $33 million based on a appraisal in 2007.

Sng Mui Hong, the daughter of Mr Sng, is the present landlord and continues to rent out the land to about 30 families for $6.50 to $30 a month.

Image Credits: catzscratch29

As Singapore continues to head towards an era of modernization and digitalization, it is only a matter of time before the kampong is removed to make way for new developments.

Already, there were plans to demolish the village. Under URA’s Master Plan 2008, Kampong Lorong Buangkok will be the new site for two schools and a road. However, the plan was put on hold due to the merging of schools announced in 2017.

Make the trip there before it becomes another piece of Singapore’s forgotten history.

Getting There:

Kampong Lorong Buangkok (7 Lorong Buangkok, Singapore 547557)

By Bus:
– From Serangoon MRT, take bus 70 and alight at Ch Of St. Vincent De Paul bus stop. Kampong Lorong Buangkok is located just across the road.
– From Hougang MRT: Take bus 101 and alight at Blk 986B bus stop. Alternatively, take bus 329 and alight at Buangkok Sports Park bus stop. Kampong Lorong Buangkok is 5 minutes walk away from either bus stop.

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