Johor man turns dumping ground into 'DIY Playground', drawing tourists from Singapore, US


BATU PAHAT (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - A 60-year-old Malaysian handyman decided to turn a piece of idle land, which was previously the neighbourhood's dumping ground, into a children's playground using discarded items.

The park, known as "DIY Playground" in Jalan Syed Abdullah in Batu Pahat, Johor, is now an international tourist attraction, with people from Singapore and as far away as Hong Kong and the United States coming to visit.

The park has more than a dozen rides for children to enjoy, including a flying fox, merry-go-round, spinner, Japanese pirate ship, swings, see-saw, slide, bumper cars and many other toys.

The park also has a small stage and a covered area for activities.

Handyman Tan Ching Swee enjoys seeing the smiles on the faces of children who play at the playground he created.

"I forked out about RM6,000 (S$1,985) of my own money to repair all of these discarded items over the years," he said.

"Safety is my priority and I usually check all the rides daily to ensure that the kids do not get hurt.

"I am happy when this place is packed, especially during school holidays, where more than 100 kids would be playing and having fun."

Mr Tan said that nowadays, children hardly visit playgrounds, as they are addicted to the television or their mobile phones.

He said he got the idea to use discarded items for the playground about 10 years ago after noticing that children in the area did not have a proper place to play.

He decided to start cleaning up the 0.2ha land, which was filled with rubbish.

"Then people started sending their old items here and I repaired and put them at the playground," he said, adding that people even gave him an old piano and old exercise equipment, which he placed at the park.

He said that in the evenings, local residents especially retirees would head to the park to sit and talk.

Mr Tan, who has placed a donation box at the park, runs a small stall beside the park with his wife, offering Thai food such as barbecued meat, noodles, rice and tom yam.

He hoped that more of such parks could be set up around the state, and said he was willing to work with the local councils to turn idle land into fun places for children.