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Restore old Hainanese village at nature park

I was born in the old Hainanese village that used to be on the site of the upcoming Thomson Nature Park ("Wander through an old village at upcoming park"; last Sunday).

I lived there for 20 years before being relocated nearly 40 years ago. I have fond memories of my childhood - catching fish from the streams, flying kites, trapping birds, and taking rambutans from my neighbour's tree. The kampung houses had kitchens that were separated from the main buildings, and we had firewood stoves for cooking. There was a separate hut for bathing and the toilet was also outside the house.

Most of the villagers were pig and chicken farmers, although we also had vegetable plots and fruit trees.

A few Malay families also lived in the kampung, and we lived in harmony and played football together almost daily.

It is a great idea to transform this area into a park. I suggest that the Government rebuild some of the kampung houses. Many of us still have photos of our old houses and can recollect the exact internal layout. We also remember exactly which family lived in each house. It would be great to have records at each exhibit mentioning the names of the occupants.

I hope we can work with the National Parks Board to restore the kampung as closely as possible to its original state. In this way, younger Singaporeans will be able to get a glimpse of what it was like to live in a kampung.

James Wong Joo Sin

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on October 16, 2016, with the headline 'Restore old Hainanese village at nature park'. Print Edition | Subscribe