Keeping the Kampung Spirit Alive in the Heartland

“I used to live in a kampung behind the Institute of Mental Health,” Doris Yuen says. “Home was a wooden house with one bedroom. We had no access to hot running water so we had to bathe in cold water from the well,” she laughs.

“Although we didn’t have many amenities and creature comforts then, we kept ourselves busy by climbing rambutan trees with the neighbours and attending large celebrations with the entire kampung,” she adds.

Doris, 60 years old, later moved into a flat at Bukit Ho Swee and now lives in a modern kampung—Kampung Admiralty—a first-of-its-kind development in Singapore that integrates housing for the elderly with a wide range of social, healthcare, communal, commercial and retail facilities.  Completed in May 2017, this 11-storey complex now houses 100 flats for the elderly, a two-storey medical centre providing specialist outpatient care, an Active Aging Hub, as well as a 900-seat hawker centre.  

Kampung Admiralty
Photo: Darren Soh

“Kampung Admiralty is like a big kampung,” Doris smiles. “It’s easy to make friends here, especially with the variety of community spaces and activities available! Everyone is very friendly and welcoming.”

Through leading weekly brisk walking sessions to gardening at the rooftop Community Garden, Doris has befriended many fellow residents at Kampung Admiralty. Other activities that residents can take part in include festive events, weekly fitness exercises, handicraft workshops and farmers’ markets.

Doris leading the morning exercises at Kampung Admiralty
Doris holding up the fruits of her labour from the community garden

In addition to her active participation in community activities, Doris makes it a point to visit her neighbours. “I enjoy visiting and talking to the elderly residents,” Doris says. “They like having company and I get to know them better!”

Doris also loves the convenience offered by Kampung Admiralty, including its eateries, shops, and medical care facilities. “When my husband had his cataract operation, I didn’t have to worry about taking time off from work to accompany him home, as the medical centre is located just below our block,” she laughs.

“Having a home in Kampung Admiralty is like living in a kampung again, but with better connectivity and amenities,” Doris smiles.

For more on Doris’ story and life in Kampung Admiralty, watch this video here.

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