Merdeka Generation: Keeping the kampung spirit alive

Mr Mok Loi Wong, 65, with his memorabilia from yesteryear - old typewriters, an electric fan and earthenware. Born in 1953 in a kampung in Jalan Ubi, Mr Mok grew up in a wooden hut with an earthen floor and no electricity, and spent most of his free
Mr Mok Loi Wong, 65, with his memorabilia from yesteryear - old typewriters, an electric fan and earthenware. Born in 1953 in a kampung in Jalan Ubi, Mr Mok grew up in a wooden hut with an earthen floor and no electricity, and spent most of his free time after school helping his parents. He also recalls jumping into the longkang (Malay for "drain") with friends to play on rainy days.ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

While the pioneer leaders were the architects of Singapore, everyday heroes helped build society here. This is another story of our Merdeka Generation, those born in the 1950s who lived and persevered through a tumultuous period.

For many, longkang (Malay for "drain") is an unremarkable neighbourhood fixture. But for 65-year-old Mok Loi Wong, the longkang brings back nostalgic memories of a "pond" where he swam and caught fish after rainy days.

Born in 1953 in a kampung in Jalan Ubi, Mr Mok grew up in a wooden hut with an earthen floor and no electricity. More often than not, he spent his waking hours outside.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 24, 2019, with the headline 'Keeping the kampung spirit alive'. Print Edition | Subscribe