Kampong Buang Kok


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Lorong Buang Kok


Kampong Buang Kok is the last of Singapore’s kampongs. It is home to 27 families – 6 Chinese, the rest Malay.

The land is owned by the Sng family – four siblings, 2 brothers, 2 sisters, now all 60+.

Their father first bought the land back in the 1950s and the family moved here as children. Two of the siblings have since moved away but the youngest Madam Sng, along with one of her brothers, still lives the kampong life.


Madam Sng Mui Hong manages the properties taking care of rent

Madam Sng Mui Hong manages the properties taking care of rent

Mr Sng moved to the kampong when he was 12 years old in 1955.

Mr Sng, 69, moved to the kampong when he was 12 years old in 1955, the year his mother died.


The tenants rent the land from the Sngs and have built their own houses on it. These are simple structures, brightly painted, with tin roofs.

house2


Nobody in the kampong has aircon.

“Nobody? Why not?”

“Too expensive!”


Some families will show you inside their home and let you take photos in exchange for the cost of their PUB bill.

Some families will show you inside their home and let you take photos in exchange for the cost of their PUB bill.


As we are speaking, a Malay boy comes out of the house next door to feed his terrapin. He is gone again in an instant. Event though the majority of residents are Malay, it is only a few elderly Chinese gentlemen that can be seen outside in the midday sun.

Mr Ng is one of the kampong residents

Mr Ng is one of the kampong residents

Mr Ter has lived at the kampong for 40 years.

Mr Ter has lived at the kampong for 40 years.


Mr Sng’s younger sister manages the properties and takes care of the rent.

The Sngs haven’t made any effort to profit from their property.

“The last time we increased the rent was back in the 1970s.”

The monthly rental ranges from $6.50 to $30 per month per plot of land. Yes. Per month. Rent. Total.

To put it in perspective, just to rent a parking lot at the nearby HDB is $90 per month.

“Why don’t you charge more? You could certainly earn a lot more from rent. Even just $50?”

He shakes his head.

“Cannot. There are some people here that, if you charged $50 per month rent, they could not eat.”


Kitchen


The kampong is also home to a number of dogs and cats- hiding in the midday heat. But something is missing… chickens. Where are the chickens? What is a kampong without kampong chickens?

“We cannot have chickens. Government rules. One family has a two but we cannot keep too many. It’s because of… how to say? Oh yes – bird flu.”


Cat


Mr Sng jokes a bit that he has not exactly been a wise investor.

“Years ago we had to sell some land back to the government. We got $7,000. If we had bought an HDB it would be worth $300,000 now! We should have bought! Aiyah! Stupid!”

Before retiring, Mr Sng worked at a provision shop on Guillemard. His days are now spent pottering about the yard and taking walks along the nearby river. He seems oblivious to the fact that many would consider his fortune priceless.


garden

house

Kampong House

house3

gmail


Map

map

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kampong_Buangkok

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