"I grew up in a little kampong near Aljunied Road. It’s gone now. I loved it there. It had a small mosque and was very pretty.
Later, I became a nurse at KK. At work I spent all my time taking care of babies until I retired at 55.
I’m 80 now. I have two daughters and four grand-children. Of course they would like it better if I would stay at home. One daughter always tells me, ‘Mom you have to be careful. Some people have sweet lips but they don’t have a sweet heart!’ It’s true. But I am careful. And even though I am old, I need my freedom.”
As we spoke, a number of people came by giving her packets of food. The community of sharing on this corner of Kampong Glam is touching. These were people who looked like they may have received the food through acts of charity and were sharing what they could not eat. She accepted each with thanks. Eventually she had 5 packets of food. I offered to walk her to her bus stop.
"OK but first we must make a stop."
She then lead me around the corner to where a number of homeless men were sleeping near the street. She greeted the few who were awake with familiarity then handed them all her food packets before heading home.
The kampong may be gone, but the spirit lives on.