Down Memory Lane: Remnants of Kampongs in Mandai Mangrove

Mandai mangrove is located between two rivers Sungei Mandai Besar (Big Mandai River) and Sungei Mandai Kechil (Small Mandai River) hence the mangrove was autonomously named Mandai. This 10-ha mangrove area once housed several Malay villages or better known as kampong-s (or kampung-s). One kampong that was  documented fairly well was Kampong Lorong Fatimah (Village of Fatimah’s Alley).

“A main characteristic of a typical kampung house is its on stilts or piles. This was to avoid wild animals and floods, to deter thieves, and for added ventilation”

Excerpt taken from Wikipedia

A typical kampong house would look like this.

Kampong Lorong Fatimah

” This Malay kampong was situated off Woodlands Road, near the causeway, past the immigration checkpoint. It was in existence even in the late eighties. Some of the houses were constructed on stilts. Only a small channel separated this kampong from Johor. In the past, this kampong was filled with sampans or koleks ferrying people between Johor and Singapore. With the sea on one side and a jungle on the other (before Woodlands was fully developed), this kampong seemed very cut-off from the rest of urban Singapore. Entertainment in the past included ronggeng (a Malay ethnic dance) with the nomadic boat people who came here with their gongs, drums, tambourines and violas. Shopping was done from Indian men who came on bicycles carrying bundles containing clothes, towels and sarongs. Most of the villagers here were fishermen and boatmen. When industries were set up around Woodlands, many of them found jobs in the factories, while the younger ones found work in hotels and banks in Orchard Road. Kampong Lorong Fatimah was pulled down to make way for the construction of the Customs Department extension to the Woodlands Checkpoint. The kampong’s residents were relocated, mainly to the Marsiling and Woodlands HDB estates. ”

Excerpt taken from Malay Villages in the North, National Library Board (NLB)

Fast forwarding from  the 1970s to the present day, the kampongs of Mandai  no longer exist . What’s left of these kampongs are merely remnants of concrete pavements, base floors of kampong houses

Panoramic view from a disposed two-seater sofa set

Old street lamp near Mandai Kechil River

Guan Yu (still worshipped today among the Chinese people) statue was delibrately left on this remmant, perhaps to 'protect' souls that have laid to rest in the mangrove



Stairs made of bricks of a typical old kampong house leading from the porch to the main doorOld stilts of a kampong house still standing even after more than 20 years or so

Green algae patch covering old concrete blocks


About Mangrove Action Squad

Welcome to the Mangrove Action Squad (MAS) blog. The squad is very passionate about monitoring and conservation of mangroves of Singapore and we love to share our thoughts on the subject of mangroves.

Posted on October 9, 2011, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Azizi b Abdullah

    Hi my name Azizi,I would like to thank you for the photo you had taken.It bring me back the memories when I was still a kid staying in that Kampong Mandai Kechil.I was born in the kampong until when I was twelve years old,we moved to flat at Marsiling Drive.Until now I can still remember house arrangement during that time.Thanks again.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: