Those Were The Days – Kampong Spirit

In recent times, we have all become emo, yearning for the yesteryears. Was it the SG50 celebrations that made us reflect on the days gone by? Did bad attitude from Alice Fong or the 63-year old Toyota Camry driver make us wish that we can go back in time when we were make neighbourly? The kampong spirit?

Singapore advanced so quickly that in a blink of an eye, buildings change, attitudes change. Now, Singaporeans become like band of brothers when gahmen are thinking of development at the expense of our heritage (Bukit Brown, Pulau Ubin, Cross Island Lane/MacRitchie) (Mr Teh Terik’s note: Technically, these band of brothers never even visited these places regularly but I guess that is besides the point). Then, there are blogs like Remember Singapore to help relive our memories of Singapore, and also to increase awareness to our fading heritage and vanishing landmarks in midst of Singapore’s rapid development. Check out their 100 Things We Love About the 1980s blog article. Tikam-tikam, sand-based playgrounds and playing goli (marbles) anyone?

Then over Chinese New Year, Director Jack Neo released a Long Long Time Ago. The story actually needs 2 parts to tell. According to him, this movie is a self-professed “labour of love” that looked at Singapore’s post-independence struggle of racial riots, social unrest and gang activities through the trials and tribulations of a Chinese family living in a kampong.

Then around the same time, the Pioneer Generation Taskforce also released a tear-jerker promotion video around the same time also about Medishield Life. Turns out to be quite a hit! Even our favourite RSTN MP Sun Xueling also shared on her Facebook page.

Big bucks (I suppose) was spent promoting that video. Saw it on TV, on social media and even movie theatres. That video even got a mention on the Straits Times.

Medishield Life ‘mini-movie’ tugs at the heartstrings

Then LTA got into the act.

Then CPF also got into the act.

Then there was also a mini-exhibition by MND who also capitalised on this nostalgic fad. Kampong chciken anyone?

Then all of a studden, kampong spirit became the in-thing.


MOE also got Kampong Spirit.

Kampong Spirit became the theme of Hari Raya.

Does the Kampong spirit still exists, I dunno but if you want to see real Kampong, there is one more left at Kampong Lorong Buangkok  which is the last surviving kampong in Singapore. How we know? Courtesy of the Remember Singapore blog.

Kampong Lorong Buangkok

On that note, I leave you with Denise Phua, Koh Poh Koon and Ng Chee Meng who experienced Kampong Spirit in their communities.

One last thing, wanted to give a shoutout to Sean Cham and his photography project that showcases 50 places that are historically/culturally significant to Singapore. It is not your typical project. Must see! Quite cool!

Mr Teh Terik

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