Kampong Lorong Buangkok remains untouched by Singapore’s rapid expansion. Visiting this village shows just how much the city has changed over the last few years, and it can be seen as the last surviving link to Singapore’s past. Here is the story of the last kampong of Singapore. The land was first acquired by Sng Teow Hoon, a Chinese medicine seller, who rented out the land for people to build homes. The land later passed to his children, one of whom still lives there in the kampong to this day. The families that live there pay a small sum of S$30 in rent.
Coming from the Malay, kampong etymologizes the English word ‘compound’, symbolizing a group of small houses that live together in close quarters to form a community. Singapore had plenty of kampongs until they were unilaterally destroyed to form high-rises to cope with the rising population. The survival of Lorong Buangkok really has been against the odds, even considering that it now rests on a swamp. The kampong as it stands today is home to 30 families, a mix of Malay and Chinese. Modern life has not infiltrated the community so much, amazingly. Families all know one another and take part in activities together, displaying the best example of ‘kampong spirit’ where people live together and survive together, without petty fallouts and consternation.
Visiting the kampong
There is not an awful lot here, so you can take your time to walk the streets. Rural life here has been beautifully preserved, and visitors can see plant life all around, encompassing shops, houses and even the local mosque. Take your time to walk around, but remember to be respectful. This is not a museum, and people still live here so be careful not to peer into too many windows. The houses are situated on dirt paths and are made of wood with zinc roofs that are distinctly weathered. There are no gates or barriers protecting the homes and if there are gates, they will usually be open. A rare sight indeed in Singapore. This is another representation of the kampong spirit that exemplifies this community. You will be greeted by dusty fake flowers, abandoned TV sets, ancient postal code signs and wooden clogs lined up outside the door. This perfectly exemplifies the olde worlde feel of the kampong. There are rumours that the kampong’s days are numbered much like the Bukit Brown cemetery in order to make way for new high-rises, so visit now whilst you still have the chance to appreciate a more rustic style of life.
How to get there
Take buses 70 or 103 from Serangoon MRT and ride 10 stops down the line to Church of St Vincent de Paul. Cross the road and walk towards the Shell petrol station. There is a flight of stairs next to the petrol station, which you need to walk down, cross the canal and walk straight. The kampong can be found on the left.