Sunday, June 15, 2008
Have you ever wondered how people bathed in the kampong? Here is a picture taken in the Fifties at Changi and it provides the answer. Bathing in the rural area varies from country to country. Of course, you cannot expect running water or the private bath. More often than not, you have to bathe in the open. At least, in Singapore, you won't be bathing in the cold air and get a chill.
Friday, June 13, 2008
Thursday, June 12, 2008
But it stays long in my lingering dream.
A kampong house that gazed upon the sea,
Obscured by blossoms and bushes under a tree.
Don't for a moment think that bullock carts were only used to carry bins filled with water. The bullocks were used as beasts of burden, and performed many functions. The picture shows a bullock cart used to transport timber to the factories or sawmills. Indians used some bullocks to do grass cutting.
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Picture - A good day for drying by Yip Cheong Fun
Another fishing kampong scene in the east coast of Singapore in 1940, showing the drying of fishes with a background of coconut trees. This looks like three-dimensional. The composition and layout are superb. Fishing kampong settlements like these no longer exist is Singapore.
Here is some poetry:
The Long Net at Changi Beach
A strange vision unfolded; unfazed I gazed
A beach flanked by a long fishing net in the haze.
Dark silhouettes and shadows formed a crescent band.
Figures, forms and fishing nets fused in the sand.
I heard voices and echoes of the long net in motion.
I could smell the scent of fish and feel the commotion.
Those fishing folks with hats and attire quaint -
Could this be a dream? And then a voice. Oh, I faint !
"Gently haul the long net; it's old and frail.
Cast the net again - we mustn't fail.
While white clouds caress the clear blue sky,
And fishes fill the sea, give it then another try."
(Poem: Andrew Yip, M.Ed)
Monday, June 9, 2008
Sunday, June 8, 2008
Saturday, June 7, 2008
(Photo by Yip Cheong Fun The kampong and the sea - circa 1940s )
Friday, June 6, 2008
Thursday, June 5, 2008
So, here goes with the first picture taken under the coconut trees in a familiar Bedok kampong in around 1950 - entitled "Children Under Trees"
(See photograph entitled "Children Under Trees - top left and a poem by Andrew Yip below)
Children Under Trees
Like little children we walked along
Nature`s way strewn with flowers, leaves and thorns,
Under tall trees and their dark looming shadows
Bright lights pierced through the mist like arrows.
We watched mesmerised, uneasy yet unafraid,
Dazed and gazed in awe but not a word was said.
Nature`s mood in mist mystifying and passion raw,
A fury unleashed - its deadly trails we saw,
Haunting us even when our leaves of life turned golden,
Burnt brown or black - blight or trodden;
Or bare branches crushing us like rusty rods,
And thorny twigs sting and stab like swords.
Then as our winding paths diverged,
Grim and grey in a verdant maze of haze,
Like children perplexed by a blurred vision,
Anxious, leaden and long we gazed,
Paths led to paths; patches wedded to patches,
Obscured by thick bushes and undergrowth;
A jigsaw of puddles and puzzles of sand and pebbles,
Mingled with marshes of mud and mangrove.
The wind whirled in the wood and gathered the blossoms with glee
It stirred the silent streams and set the tree leaves flying free.
We looked as far as we could,
An oasis of emptiness in the wild wild wood,
Piles of boulders - bare and rude,
Perched on the peak perilous they stared and stood,
While gay granite gleamed emerald in the setting sun.
Could all these be obstacles or Nature`s whims and fun,
Or are they an orchestration of the sensual soul?
And the wood with many moods could it be high heaven or hell hole?
Yet with firm faith or divine inspiration, we set forth
Into a misty maze with mixed mood and emotions,
Under the mighty majestic trees and branches aloft.
Wary of the recklessness or risks but with renewed vision,
Clutching life`s light and shadows still unknown,
Into the enchanted mist of the future on our own
Moving along this long lonely road,
To somewhere, nowhere - whatever the means or mode.
(A poem written in December 2004 when the poet mourned the death of some friends in the Tsunami Disaster in Phuket, Thailand)