Global Voices

As I was browsing through the list of news articles on Global Voices, what struck me the most was this article. I’ve noticed that nowadays, Singapore has been having more erratic weather patterns mostly attributed to Global Warming. This made me wonder on what efforts other countries have done to combat the issue on Global Warming.

On Chiloe Island, the marine phenomenon known as red tide which is a rapid spread of algae which causes a higher concentration of toxins has affected the livelihood of many fishermen.


Many attribute the recent red tide to the excessive salmon industry which was hit by an algal boom which killed more than 24 million salmon. Two thousand tonnes of the salmon were disposed in a marine trench which is more than three thousand metres deep, and more than 130 kilometres from the coast. However, the environment minister simply dismissed the phenomenon to climate change. This caused protestors who have been protesting since 3rd May 2016 to resort to road blockade, barricades and burning tires.  From this article, I feel that environmental issues should be taken more seriously.

In conclusion, I feel that the root cause of the problem should be investigated and dealt with appropriately by implementing preventive measures and proper plans to deal with the crisis.  Protecting the environment is everyone’s undeniable responsibilities, we should do our part as Global Citizens to help save the environment


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Kampong Glam Heritage Trail

Kampong Glam Heritage Trail


Kampong Glam

On 1 May 2016. I went with my sister to the Kampong Glam Heritage Trail.  I have chosen this heritage trail as it reminded me of when I was young, I visited the Malay Heritage Centre with my family during a Malay cultural event where I got to try out many different traditional Malay games that my parents used to play during their adolescence.  I remember how thrilled my parents were when they demonstrated to me how to play the games and it seemed like suddenly they were 20 years younger!

Comparatively, this second visit gave me a deeper understanding and appreciation of Kampong Glam.

  1. Malay Heritage Centre

The building that greeted us when we arrived was Istana Kampong Glam which was once home to Malay Royalty in Singapore.  The original residence of Sultan Hussein Shah was a timber hut.  The current two-storey Istana Kampong Glam was built in 1843 which was commissioned by Sultan Hussein Shah’s son, Sultan Mohammad Ali Iskandar who was recognised as the Sultan of Singapore in 1855.  In 1999, the government announced plans to develop a Malay Heritage Centre which involves conserving and redeveloping Kampong Glam.  Restoration work were undertaken from 1999 to 2004 and was opened in June 2005 as the Malay Heritage Centre by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

KG Group 1

Malay Heritage Centre

  1. Gedung Kuning

Right beside the Malay Heritage Centre was Gedung Kuning which meant “Yellow Mansion” in Malay.  When we reached the area, a wedding was currently taking place at the location.  Opposite Gedung Kuning was a shop which showcased many traditional Malay instruments such as the gong and Gambus.  However, they did not allow taking of pictures.  The mansion was home to Tengku Mahmud, a grandson of Sultan Hussein.  In 1912, Haji Yusoff, a merchant of Javanese descent bought the mansion.  Gedung Kuning remained in his family’s possession until 1999 when the government acquired it for conversation works.  After conversation works were completed, it was opened as a restaurant to the public in late 2003.

KG Group 2

Malay wedding reception at Gedung Kuning

  1. 3. Former Pondok Java and Sultan Gate

On Baghdad Street, we were looking for Pondok Java, but to no avail.  After researching more about it, I found out that due to structural safety issues, Pondok Java was demolished in 2003.  The meaning of Pondoks are communal lodging houses which were set up to house newly arrived migrants from Indonesia and Malaysia.  Each Pondok could accommodate 40 or more people and there is a communal hall where residents could gather for prayers and kenduri.  Many of Pondok Java’s were travelling hawkers known for selling traditional Malay cuisine.

At Sultan Gate which was just in front of Baghdad street, we saw a variety of shop houses.  We found out that this area was known for its blacksmiths and masons.  Masons from Sultan Gate used to craft tombstones, stone mills, grinding slabs, mortar and pestles. The crafts they made were all done by hand.  By the late 1990s, there were only two blacksmiths left at Sultan Gate and the last foundry closed down in the mid-2000s after a fire.


Sultan Gate

  1. Former Chong Cheng School and Chong Pun Girls’ School

Our next stop was the Former Chong Cheng School and Chong Pun Girls’ School which was on Aliwal Street.  The building was well maintained and was converted to Aliwal Arts Centre and Food and Beverages businesses.  Chong Cheng School was founded in 1903 as a boys’ school.  It was originally called Yang Zheng School before changing its name in 1909.  The school moved into the school compound at Aliwal Street in 1938.

Chong Pun Girls’ School was started at Thian Hock Keng Temple at Telok Ayer Street.  Originally it was called Yu De Girls’ School before changing its name in 1917.  These two schools shared common facilities such as the school hall.  Both schools provided education when Singapore’s educational infrastructure were lacking back then.


Former Chong Cheng School and Former Chong Pun Girls’ School

  1. Madrasah Alsagoof Al-Arabiah (Alsagoff Arab School)

Madrasah Alsagoff Al-Arabiah is the oldest surviving madrasah in Singapore.  Originally opened in March 1913, the school taught Muslim boys the tenets of Islam.  In the 1940s, the school started accepting girls, as the enrolment of girls increased and boys declined over the next two decades hence the trustees of the school decided to convert it into a girls’ school.  Today, its students are taught Mathematics, Science and Malay Language in addition to Islamic studies, Arabic and English.


Madrasah Alsagoof Al-Arabiah

  1. North Bridge Road

North Bridge Road is one of the earliest built in Singapore.  This road has always been one of the liveliest commercial streets in the Kampong Glam area.  On this road, there were many food outlets selling Arab and Malay Cuisine food such as murtabaks, biryani and nasi padang.  I saw the famous Victory eating house and Singapore Zam Zam Restauraunt Pte Ltd which is famous for Curry Fish Head.


North Bridge Road

  1. Arab Street

On Arab street, we saw many shops selling textiles and carpets.  We stopped at V.K. Abdul Samad & Co. where I met the son of the owner, Mr Hakim who is the 3rd generation of the family running this business.  His father who is 56, was at home resting.  This shop has been around since 1952 and is one of the oldest shop on Arab Street.  I asked Mr Hakim about the history of this place and he told me that his family used to live on the second floor of the shop.  However, now the second floor is used for storage purposes.  Can you guess how old is Mr Hakim?  He is just 20 year old, 3 years older than me!


Mr Hakim, 3rd generation of V.K. Abdul Samad & Co.

        8. Bali Lane

Bali Lane was part of the former Kampong Bali along with Shaikh Madersah Lane which was removed, and was approximately around present-day Ophir Road.  By 1950, more Chinese had moved into Kampong Bali, many of them set up lodgings for coolies.  Newcomers who could not afford rent at first could stay there first and repay the rent after they find employment.


Bali Lane

  1. Haji Lane

The term haji shows that a man returning from the annual pilgrimage to Mecca.  Many pilgrims waiting to depart for, or returning from Mecca used to stay in Haji Lane’s shophouses.  At Haji Lane, there were many murals on the walls.  Haji Lane’s street art were commissioned by the local bars and cafes.  The street art at Haji Lane brought the Urban Redevelopment Authority’s attention who was concerned that the bold colour of the murals were not compatible with the other shop houses in the vicinity but I like the contrast.


Vibrant Haji Lane

  1. Bussorah Street (former Kampong Tembaga)

Bussorah Street was originally called “Sultan Road” but was renamed in 1910 after a place in Iraq.  Bussorah Street, located right in front of Masjid Sultan was renowned for its food, culture, community spirit and distinctive districts such as Kampong Tembaga, Kampong Intan and Kampong Kaji.  Kampong Tembaga which means copper in Malay, was known from the Javanese coppersmiths who were once active there.



Bussorah Street

  1. Bussorah Street (former Kampong Kaji)

Kampong Kaji which is the Javanese pronunciation of haji, was known for its men for their knowledge of the haj.  The pilgrim brokers who were called sheikh haji who were predominantly Javanese, Bugis, Banjars and Arabs were operating shop-houses in Kampong Kaji. Now, the shophouses have been turned into restauraunts.

  1. Masjid Sultan

In 1823, the Sultan wanted a mosque near his residence at Kampong Glam.  The mosque with a simple structure with a three-tier tiled roof was built in 1824-1826.  In 1879, the grandson of Sultan Hussein, Sultan Alauddin Alam Shah, gave more land to the mosque.  By the early 1900s, the mosque was rebuilt. The present building was commissioned in 1924.  The work was done in phases as funds were raised and prayers continued to be conducted during the construction period.


Masjid Sultan

This return visit to the trail is very fruitful for me as it brings me a deep sense of citizenry feeling about Kampong Glam.  Back then, migrants and residents made their living in this place and now even though it is no longer a residential area, the government has done a great job in preserving Kampong Glam and retained her historic cultural flavours and scent in the trails that not only serve as a great tourist attraction but also for Singaporeans like me to pass down to our future generations.

In conclusion, what I’ve learnt from this visit to the Kampong Glam Heritage Trail is the history of the location I have visited and how life was in Kampong Glam. Contrary to the current day Kampong Glam, I would have never expected Kampong Glam used to be a busy area which was densely populated. The government has placed enormous efforts to preserve the heritage and cultural roots of the area by restoring the buildings to make it look more appealing. There are also signboards all around showing Kampong Glam’s rich history to both locals and tourists. To me, I feel that Kampong Glam is a great place to learn about Singapore’s history, I had never known that people from many descents lived in that area such as Banjarese and Javanese people. 

We can practice Local Citizenry by finding out more about Singapore’s history and culture. Places such as this helps ensure that we can maintain and preserve our unique multicultural identity as nowadays more and more youths are unconcerned about their heritage and roots. This is due to globalisation which allowed western influence such as Starbucks, MacDonalds and pop culture to take over by storm. I feel that it is important for Singaporeans to preserve our heritage as it is an important part of our unique country. If we lose our heritage and culture, we lose our diverse history when Singaporeans from different descents practiced their rich and unique cultures.





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Worker Writes

Worker Writes!2014-results/ckg1

I chose this blog activity as often, when heading back from school, I would encounter large groups of foreign workers and wondered how they felt about working in Singapore. As poetry is a means of expressing yourself, this is the perfect activity for me to find out how they feel.

Pocket 2
Still in the same world, we belong to different spheres

You on that side and me on this:

we can do nothing but remember each other

The memories of you and me hang like posters

on the wall of the Ekushe bookfair

at the doil chatta, under the shade of the bakul tree at Charukala

at Hakim square, in the hoodless rickshaw

at the florists of Shahbag, at the open field of TSC

on the water of Ramana lake

in a night of shades and lights

on our bed of love


I remember when I returned this time

my heart dissolved in your tears

The pocket of my shirt was wet

Reaching the end of my memories

I wear that shirt every night

and write love poems to you

Do I really write poems

Or do my poems cry with me?


Second in a set if three poems with ‘pocket’ as the main conceit. The first one is about the poet’s son, the second about his wife and the third about his father.

Written by: Zakir Hussain Khokhon


I never knew that some of our migrant workers were published writers with degrees!  However, I was proven wrong when this poem written by Mr. Zakir Hussain Khokhon won the 2014 migrant worker poetry competition.  This poem was dedicated to his wife back home in Bangladesh.  it expresses how dearly he misses his wife and he can’t do anything about it other than reminiscing about the memories they shared in the past.  Many of the migrant workers in Singapore wrote about longing for their homeland and reunion with their families. This poem made me realise that we often don’t think much of the migrant workers in Singapore, but each and every one of them has a unique story behind them that touches our hearts.


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Weekly Reflection 4

What is my own philosophy on migrant and/ or refugee issues? Why do I think the way I do?
My philosophy on the refugee issues currently happening around the world. In 2012, a group of 200 Rohingya refugees were refused entry to Singapore which indirectly resulted in the death of 160 refugees. The remaining 40 were rescued by a Vietnamese cargo ship where they were picked up by Malaysian authorities. In my opinion, Singapore should give the refugees temporary lodging and work together with other countries which are more willing to accept the refugees. Although Singapore is a small country with space constraints, I feel that we should do our part and help the refugees escaping from war-torn countries and genocide


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Weekly Reflection 3

What I Know About Money Management What I Want to Know About Money Management What I’ve Learned About Money Management
 Money Management is about how to spend your money wisely The methods of money management  I’ve learnt that I can manage my money using income-savings = expenditure.
 Money Management is to save for rainy days  How to manage my money more effectively  I’ve learnt to differentiate between needs and wants which can help me decrease my expenditure and increase my savings
 I’ve learnt to take charge and plan ahead by using my money wisely, I can spend money on what really matters

From this lesson, my favorite video was the “Take Charge, Plan Ahead” video. I like this video as it tells me that no one else can help us manage our money, I have to take charge of my own money and plan ahead for my future.


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Reflection Week 2

What kind of parent do I want to be? Why?

If I were to be a parent, I would want to be an authoritative parent that encourages my child to be independent and self-reliant. I would like my child to be mature enough to make decisions on their own. I want my child to understand why I reprimand them by explaining the consequences of their wrong actions. I would want to raise my child in a manner that I can guide them by setting boundaries and being understanding when they fail.  An authoritative parent is a blend between authoritarian and permissive parenting style.  It is like flying a kite, in order to let the kite fly high you need to let go of the string but hold on to the reel tightly.  If you do not hold on tight, the kite might just fly away but if you pull too tight, the string might just snap.


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Reflection Week 1

Speak to someone who knows you for at least five years. How do they ‘identify’ you? Your thoughts?

I have spoken to my best friend, Frederick. He identifies me as his best friend and that i am a funny person who is very knowledgeable about the world and he can always turn to me as i’m a responsible person. I feel that Frederick knows me very well as we are very close. However, in my opinion, i feel that i’m not very knowledgeable about the world as i have far less experiences than those who are older than me and that i have much to learn. I feel that i’m only funny occasionally as i am very serious about my work. Although, I do joke around when it comes to things that are not work-related. I agree that i’m responsible and reliable as i will finish tasks given to me fairly quickly.


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