Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Nasib si Panjang (CsH) - The Life and Times of Panjang

I've finally sorted out my books on Singapore - the various Annual Reports, the Street Directories, photographa and maps.
First of all, I examined most lovingly this map which I discovered searching on the net some years ago but I'm afraid I can't locate the source. It looks a bit wonky, but blame it on the unskilled lo-tech artisan, not the map.

Next I traced the area of Pasir Panjang on tracing paper. The next step was to transfer that on to another piece of white A4 paper for the final colouring. As I had no carbon paper I decided on an old device. On the other side of the tracing, just darken the outline with a pencil. Then turn it over , place it on the white A4 and start drawing the map. Now comes the best part - the colouring of your own personal map, remembering once again the old rules you learned in primary school. Blue for rivers, red for roads, green for agriculture and lowland, brown for highland and so on. As I did not have the full complement of colours, I had to make do. For this map , I am certain Mr Chia Wai Chee, my geography teacher in Pasir Panjang School would only assess it as 5 out of 10! All in all, it took me about 3 hours to do this map but I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Here's the masterpiece.


And here's a beautiful 1933 map of Singapore where I have marked the map inset.


Pasir Panjang, Teluk Belanga,
Di hadapan Pulau Sentosa. (*)
Kasih sayang seperti bunga.
Tidak ku lupa setiap masa.

* Pulau Blakang Mati was the original name for Sentosa where my father worked for many years before The School of Health moved to Nee Soon.

Pasir Panjang, Teluk Belanga,
Looking towards Pulau Sentosa.
Love and affection are as flowers,
Ne'er forgotten for many a year.


This is the the beginning of my magnum opus, on Pasir Panjang. This Long Beach was where we grew up - where our parents gave us a glorious childhood. I can still remember each tree, my mother's garden and flowers, the hedge fronting our kampung house, Sesop Ridge and Kent Ridge which we could see from our backyard, - and the tracks and paths and roads where I used to walk, to cycle and then later to drive on.
Have you ever seen a bird's nest with a couple of eggs in it, tucked amongst the grass on low ground? I have - next to Seng Tiow's kampung shop. And I have never ever had the privilege to see another like it ever since. But that's the joy of living in Pasir Panjang.

6 comments:

sunnysideup said...

OMG ! How did you do it ! athe roads had such fancy names then---Buena Vista Road, West Coast Road, Clementi Road, Dover Road,Pepys Road, Alexander Terrace, Alexandar Road, The Gap, Kent Ridge but Pasir Panjang Road stood out amongst all !

Of course theres Lorong Abu Kassim, Lorong Sarhad, Lorong Mat Jambul etc.

melayudilondon said...

Kak, reading your heart-felt postings on Singapura and Pasir Panjang makes this Singapore born girl nostalgic.

I pine for the playground I used to run in... except that it is now under the Central Expressway

I pine for the old primary school where grasshoppers hopped and red flames of the forest descend in droves ... except that it is now razed to the ground

anak si-hamid said...

Yes sunnysideup,
Pasir Panjang stands out. But Lorong Mat Jambul takes the prize!

Dear melayudilondon,
What is the name of your primary school? What is the saddest for me is the flattening of Kampung Jagoh Malay School, one of the oldest Malay schools in Singapore.
I hope in the following postings, in a very small way, to keep this Malay part of Singapore intact. It's not just Geylang and Arab Street!

Anonymous said...

Wah, I never knew there was a Lorong Mat Jambul until I read your article. I googled - it's Jalan Mat Jambol and there's a condo built there now called Breezeways. Can you imagine the Ms Singapore contest, I am from Bedok, I am from Jalan Mat Jambol.. hahahaha I am glad they kept the name. bekoo

melayudilondon said...

Kak, mine was Cambridge Primary School, near Kampung Jawa Road. The area around it became a mature estate hence not many students.

I used to live in Whampoa, near Jalan Bahagia. Now the CTE runs past my old block of flats.

Such is progress. It robs us of our youth.

anak si-hamid said...

Dear melayudilondon,
Progress also robs us of our history and identity.
The problem is, in Singapore, only one group's heritage has been ruined, if not devastated