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N. Sivasothi,
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Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research, Department of Biological Sciences, National University of Singapore. Since 1998 with origins from OneList.

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Thu 06 Apr 2006

"Conserving Kampong Heritage in Urban Singapore: A Case Study of Kampong Buangkok"

Category : heritage

'Kampong Buangkok, the last traditional village in urban Singapore was used as a case study by a RGS students, Caroline Ong Shu Xian, Rebecca Heng Zer Lyn and Ho Qi Xin, to examine people's views on kampong lifestyle and its heritage value and if this influenced their opinion about the conservation of the kampong. The students surveyed individuals with no experience of kampong life, former and present kampong residents.

Kampongs were generally viewed as backward and unhygienic, and treated as a "getaway" rather than a residence. Nevertheless, kampongs were felt to be tied to heritage and should be conserved for education and tourism. Many felt powerless in the decision-making process that would decide the kampong's fate. The eventual survival of Kampong Buangkok will reveal the response of the state towards heritage conservation.' - Extracted from the report.

Click photo for flash presentation of images; if unable to view, download Flash Player

I asked the RGS students for their thoughts, and they responded:

  • "Why is the decline of kampongs in the modern Singapore landscape so rapid? Is this decline brought about by the apathy of the younger generation toward Singapore's history? The kampong was the living environment of the older Singaporean generation; most who are middle-aged by now would have probably lived in or visited a kampong sometime in their life. Yet, with Singapore's landscape adapting and changing to keep up with modernization, the kampong is being cleared ultimately to help boost our economy. Can the kampong be preserved without compromising economic development?"
  • "Are the younger generation of Singaporeans apathetic toward the Singapore's history, do they see the kampong as a piece of Singapore's past worth preserving or just a fragmented, backward old piece of Singapore which should be cleared to make way for new, modern and technological developments?"
  • "Is Kampong Buangkok worth preserving in Singapore? The kampong will only survive if a group of Singaporeans are willing to step forward to reside, maintain and promote the kampong as a getaway from city life."
  • "We hope to gain more publicity for this project & raise awareness in Singaporeans, particularly the younger generation, about the kampongs & the importance in preserving our past."

As such their report ha been distributed through the Singapore Heritage Mailing List (11th March 2006; thanks to Chua Ai Lin for the alert), Yesterday.sg and now Habitatnews.

Links (click to view; right-click to download pdf or flash: files):

  • Caroline ONG Shu Xian, Rebecca HENG Zer Lyn & HO Qi Xin, 2006. Conserving Kampong Heritage in Urban Singapore: A Case Study of Kampong Buangkok. 22p. An unpublished project report by students of Raffles Girls' School (Secondary), supervised by Ho Kah Wai. Submitted on 14 January 2006 for final judging at the Singapore Science & Engineering Fair (Behavioral Science). PDF of report.
  • Gallery of Images - flash (15MB)
  • Gallery of Images - webpage at Yesterday.sg
  • Blog referral - Yesterday.sg, 6th April 2006 (thanks to Melissa Cheah and Shaun Wong).
  • See also "The Last Kampung," by N. Sivasothi. Habitatnews, 30 Mar 2005.

Where is Kampung Lorong Buangkok?

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Posted at 8:15PM UTC by N. Sivasothi | permalink | email | Raffles Museum news