Residents come and go in ECP 'kampung'
SOME tents were dismantled and the occupants moved out.
But new ones would move in, pitch
their own tents and "squat" in them
for as long as they need to.
And so the unlicensed tented community
at a secluded part in Area D of East Coast Park, which popped up years ago and has shaped up to look like a "kampung" now, continues to exist.
It is where anyone without a home might
come and set up their abodes among others.
Many living in the so-called "Tent Kampung" are new faces, who claimed they had moved in
only recently, according to Shin Min Daily News.
A cleaner, who did not want to be identified, said she moved into the "kampung" after returning from Tianjin, her home for five years with her Chinese husband whom she had divorced.
She told the Chinese evening daily that she had fallen out with her family since coming home and did not like living in a rented house with others.
"Now I live here with a male friend.
"We have a quiet life, we keep the surroundings clean, and we do not create trouble," she said.
A man in his 60s said he is living now
in the "kampung" with his wife as he is out
of a job after injuring himself at work.
"If I am allotted a flat, I will immediately move in," added Mr Chen.
A man, who gave his name as Muhammad Ahmad Rahman and claimed to be the unofficial "penghulu" (village head), said the place
consisted of more than a dozen families.
"We're all forced by different circumstances to come here. The tents are our home so please don't take picture," the 29-year-old told Shin Min.
"We commit no crime and rely on ourselves. Sometimes, an MP or volunteers from some family centres will come visit us," he added.
The "penghulu" noted that he did not like
living in a welfare home as his freedom would
But he admitted he had been issued tickets
for "illegal camping in public" by the
authorities many times.
Mr Muhammad said he spent only $100 to set
up his "home", the purchases being the canvas,
the tent rods, a chair and some drawers.
He revealed that he had been without a stable home for 11 years and is alone as his parents
had died and his siblings were married.
Shin Min observed that all the homes there look self-sufficient, all containing essential items such as mattress, blanket, kitchen utensils and drying rack.
Some families even partitioned their homes into sleeping and living quarters.
But none has children, it noted.
The "kampung" is situated near a public toilet where the occupants could go to and have their daily baths.
According to the National Parks Board,
camping without a permit in public parks is
liable to a fine of up to $2,000.