Neighbours Pool Money To Buy Decorations, Have Been Decorating Corridor Together Since 2019
We often hear laments of how Singaporeans don’t have the “kampung spirit” of old any more, with many neighbours barely knowing one another.
But the residents of one HDB corridor in Woodlands have shown that the kampung spirit can still exist even when we’re living in high-rise flats.
For 3 years, they’ve been Chinese New Year (CNY) preparations a bonding activity by decorating their shared corridor together.
The 4 households have been making this an annual tradition, and this year, they even ramped up the decor due to Covid-19.
Households call themselves ‘le kampung’
Block 851 in Woodlands may seem like an ordinary HDB block, but on one corridor in the building there’s a “kampung“.
Or rather, 4 households in the block affectionately call themselves “le kampung” – a nod to the legendary kampung spirit of yore.
The families apparently get so along so well that they hatched an idea in 2019.
Families pool money, buy decorations together
Ms Jasmine Ng, one of the residents, told MS News that as CNY approaches, the families will pool their money.
With the contributions from each household, they will buy CNY decorations together.
Decorating the corridor together
On the 2 or 3 weekends before CNY, they will then meet up.
In what must be a fun bonding activity, they will decorate the shared corridor outside their flats together, like a large extended family.
From her photos, we can see that the decorations aren’t only at the doors of each flat, but extend across the corridor, so any visitor will be greeted with rows of CNY cheer.
A traditional CNY greeting is paste on each pillar.
The most elaborate display is saved for the staircase landing, which features a large golden leaf tree.
At night, the red fairy lights twinkle prominently and enhance the celebratory atmosphere.
Increased budget for CNY 2021
According to Ms Ng, the families have been doing the joint decorations since 2019.
So this is their 3rd CNY doing it.
However, as they can’t do as much visiting this year due to restrictions on the number of visitors, they decided to create more “festive vibes” among their little household cluster.
Thus, they increased the budget for the decorations this year, and it definitely shows in the number of well-chosen ornaments adorning the walls.
The effect is meant to start as one approaches the corridor from the staircase landing. Check out this “virtual tour”.
Togetherness of ‘le kampung’ is heartening
Extravagant CNY decorations are always a crowd pleaser for residents and visitors alike.
However, what stands out in this story isn’t the pretty trinkets, but the spirit of unity and togetherness displayed by the families in “le kampung”.
We’re heartened that the kampung spirit can truly still be found in Singapore, and it bodes well for us as a society.
We’ll need this sense of neighbourliness as the nation navigates its way out of pandemic and beyond.
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