In a Straits Times report dated 3 October (Tuesday), it is reported that MP for Ang Mo Kio GRC Ms Intan Azura Mokhtar have asked the Government to keep the last kampung on Singapore’s mainland to be preserved as a conservation site or heritage education site.
Ms Intan called on the Government yesterday to conserve Kampung Lorong Buangkok, which is slated to make way for a major road and two schools in future.
She said that Singaporeans can explore ways where the kampung can co-exist and, in fact, enhance and bring value to urban life.
Currently, there are 26 families living in Kampung Lorong Buangkok, which occupies about 1.22ha of land and is located in Ms Intan’s Jalan Kayu ward.
She suggested Government to integrate the kampung within the two schools that are being planned, saying that the kampung and its residents should be allowed to carry on their lives.
“But it can play the additional role of a community living lab, for our students to learn about our shared history, culture and traditions, race relations, and experience for themselves values-in-action such as communal living, the spirit of neighbourliness and community activism,” she stressed, adding that overnight camps can be held at the kampung in the future.
She also proposed that the People’s Association or the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth consider taking ownership of the kampung after the current generation of residents have passed on.
Responding to her adjournment motion, Second Minister for National Development Desmond Lee said there is no intention to implement these developments in the near future.
He stated that the Government will engage residents when the time comes.
“Some may not want to move away from the kampung, but they may also not want their community to be turned into an educational or heritage attraction drawing crowds of curious visitors,” he stated.
Ms Intan also asked the National Development Ministry to consider shelving plans to build a new road on a strip of land next to Seletar Springs condominium, and convert the green area into a linear nature park instead. To this, Mr Lee responded that there is a critical need for the new road to relieve potential traffic congestion in future, as nearly 10,000 new homes will be completed in nearby housing estates by 2022.
Many citizens who got to know of the debate, urged the Government to perserve the heritage site.
Muhammad Farhan wrote, “Schools? Hahahaha. Major joke. Your schools have been merging and you want build school? Find better reason please.”
Yasuo Kuek wrote, “Should preserved it at all costs as this is the last piece of land where our descendant gonna see the life of a Kampung and not to travel up north to see it.”
Jennifer Gan wrote,”It is odd why we tear down all the heritage sites and then build ugly replicas of the original place? It never ever captures the original feel.”
Susasn Lim wrote, “During our younger days, my home is in the kampong. I loved the carefree lifestyle where we played and mixed around with our neighbours children and have lots of fun under the sun. Our doors are never closed in the day where we can hopped into ones house so easily. Foods are also shared openly.”
Yang Tan wrote, “Build two school? What a big joke. So many school going to tear down, now they said going to build two school. If the Government think that they are too rich, then please give back our CPF.”
May Tay Bin Lay wrote, “So many places must build there meh? Preserve all those not so important things and tear down this valuable heritage. Double standard!”
Mohammad Ammar Azhar wrote, “he gov is a confused bunch. At one end of their rhetoric, they talk about having a kampung spirit. At the other end, they want to demolish kampung.
How can our younger generation embrace kampung spirit when they dont even know what is a kampung?
We are having scholars as ministers who are too high up that they do not see what is on the ground. Highly paid but they are still poor. Poor at looking for the needs of the citizen.
Our gov is only interested in making money for the company they are managing.
The older generation of ministers worked hard in integrating the Chinese, Malays, Indians and others. Now the younger generation of ministers are working hard to disintegrate the same races.
What a shame.”
Angie Lim wrote, “All your schools merge and gone wasted here you still want to build two dumb schools? Wake up! Which scholars’ bright idea again?”
Juriani Tan wrote, “What’s the point of building schools when there are so many schools merged? Kampung should be preserved for our heritage and let’s our future generations know.”
Tibor Balint wrote, “Authentic heritage shall not be sacrificed on the altar of progress. Kampungs are part of Singapore’s DNA as much as shophouses, CBD, HDB and you name it. Preserve it for future generations.”
CarolLim wrote, “Shame on whoever wants to tear down this site!!! Preserve this site! There are not many historical and nostalgic sites left. Everything is done in the name of modernity? What a pity! Our kids do not even know what is a kampong nor how their parents or grandparents grew up. We are slowly losing pieces of Singapore and it is a shame we can’t preserve them for the next generation. It is a cold and unfriendly Singapore.”
Goh Ming wrote, “Preserve but no one live inside the kampong home then what is the use? Let the current owner continue to stay there, and people will know how kampong is like and not have paid actor to act as stand in.”
Lee Jerry wrote, “What? Build schools? I thought they are merging schools? What a useless team of government officials, cannot trust them to take us forward.”
Magdalene Goh wrote, “Besides this kampong, there is new flats with young families with babies and young kids. It is a waste if this last kampong have to go. The new road links to Fernvale. As a resident living for 14 years, I hope that LTA will not open up this road. I would rather to drive a bit far from Yio Chu Kang to go into Fernvale.”
Henry Csk wrote, “LKY wants his house to be tore down, but you do not do that. Setup stupid committee and waste tax payer money. Last Kampung in Singapore with significant heritage value and you want to tear it down to build road and schools? Really don not know what our Scholars in the Government have in their pea-brain.”
Joseph Sim wrote, “Great idea! Not everything must be destroyed in the name of progress. History can be preserved for future generation.”
Hwee Kuan wrote, “Roads and schools can be build anywhere, anytime. But cannot simply build an original kampung (not man made modern kampung). Please, leave that kampung alone.”
Eddy Nor wrote, “Please do not integrate the kampong with school and whatever. Leave the place alone and let them carry out their daily lives undisturbed.”
Joel Tan wrote, “On the one hand, schools were merged and we are told to go towards a car-lite future. But now they want to demolish the last Kampung just to build schools and a major road?? I can think of two possibilities; it is either an excuse because some urban planners who were scholars find the kampung an eyesore or the hypocritical bunch of elites has lost their plot.”
Osman Rabibun wrote, “This government wants to build school and give their tender for their cronies to make them rich and
let the poor become poorer to buy their so expensive HDB home. Whether they afford the house or not. Why must the Government build school if the birth rate keep on falling and with less student to attend the schoold? And also this greedy government do not want their citizen to own their land because they think that it is their great grandfather land.”
Siva Sangar Naidu wrote, “Have visited the kampung a few times. Even though it look very dirty, that is the original kampong. So let’s keep it with proper maintenance too.”
Meslee Eni wrote, “The government is trying to give false hope by this bit of news.
I truly believe, they already have an architecture team employed with plans for this land. Money always trumps over everything else by our government.”
Norri Roses wrote, “The last kampong is also not spared. How pathetic can that be? What is the point of rebuilding a new replica of kampong when it has no soul compared to the original kampong? The spirit is real. Bodoh la. This country is getting boring!”
Seri Rayna wrote, “Hopefully no commercial Kg Buangkok to relive it in the future. Lesson already learnt from the Malay Village project in Geylang Serai. Such a sad fact!”
Chan Wai Ping wrote, “Please preserve. Heritage and common memories keep the sense of belonging, the connection across generations, sense of familiarity and the feeling of home.”