Monday, July 01, 2013

From my inbox (12 June 2013) – Karen Jane’s video of kampong in Sembawang

Hello Chun See

I have at last managed to edit some footage I have of Singapore around Sembawang area in about 1964. I really enjoy reading your posts and viewing your photos. I have started to post on some Facebook sites and am happy to share this with you, if you would like to put this on your website. I have uploaded it up on You Tube
At last I have managed with help to get some video footage up. I have tried to read the beginning writing at the start of this footage but cannot make out the above S'pore which may help to identify the kampong. I look forward to your comment and information about this. I lived in Sembawang in Queens Avenue and Thomson Rise between 1962 - 1964. P.s does anyone know my Amah?

Enjoy
Karen :)


Thanks Karen for sharing this precious video. Unfortunately, I am not familiar with that part of Singapore. Hope some of my readers able to help.


Related post:

4 comments:

Pat said...

From Karen's email: "I have at last managed to edit some footage I have of Singapore around Sembawang area in about 1964. [...] I have tried to read the beginning writing at the start of this footage but cannot make out the above S'pore which may help to identify the kampong."

@ 0:05 min -- The signage above the door shows "S'PORE 20" in the 2nd line. The series of letters in the 1st line seems to end with "VILLAGE".

@ 1:10 min -- The 1st 2 Chinese words (from left to right) on the banner above the opera stage reads "福建" (Fújiàn, ie. Hokkien). This suggests that the event being staged was Hokkien street opera. (Note: Karen's subtitle for the scene indicates that this could be Chong Pang Village.)

Based on the above clues, the location is perhaps not Chong Pang Village or Sembawang, but instead a Hokkien kampong in District 20. When S'pore had a 2-digit postal code during 1950-1979, District 20 corresponded to the Bishan & Ang Mo Kio areas -- ref: List of Postal Districts (URA).

Incidentally, the map featured in Chun See' s 01 Jun 2013 post 'Finally I met someone who knows the Nine Bridges' shows the southern portion (ie. south of Kallang River => Bishan) of "Postal District 20". Ang Mo Kio is located north of Kallang River.

Below are Chinese villages found at District 20:
* Bishan -- Kampong San Theng (predominantly Cantonese), Soon Hock Village (predominantly Hokkien)
* Ang Mo Kio -- Cheng San Village (predominantly Hokkien)

As such, the village shown in Karen's video might be Cheng San Village (Ang Mo Kio) or Soon Hock Village (Bishan), which happened to be staging Hokkien street opera during Karen's visit circa 1964.

On the other hand, Sembawang & Yishun were at District 27. Moreover, Chong Pang Village which was located within the Sembawang-Yishun area was predominantly Teochew. Of course, it's possible that a predominantly Teochew village might stage a Hokkien opera, but considering the not-insignificant expense to put up such performances (typically stretching over a few days at least), I suppose the probability is lower.

Chun See Lam said...

Hi Pat. Thanks for sharing your analysis. I too have blogged about wayangs some time ago (here). Our kampong has a wayang stage like the one in Karen's video, and the operas were in Hokkien, but our postal district was 19.

I've been to the wayangs at Potong Pasir and Pek San Tang (near present RI), but they were predominantly Cantonese.

Anonymous said...

This permanent wayang stage could be at Thomson Road near the Sin Ming/Sun Fu area. It was visible from Thomson Road until the area was re-developed.

The said...

The wayang stage looks like one of those permanent structure. I was from the old Nee Soon. There is such a wayang stage in Heng Lee Pah, further deep into Nee Soon Village.