Sunday, July 27, 2008

technique of drawing water from a well

those of us who lived in kampongs and the rural areas in the 60s often lament how today's children and even some adults do not know the proper way to draw water from a well. they simply throw the pail in and expect it to fill up automatically.

there were a handful of wells in the kampong where i lived for nearly thirty years. we did not have to get water from a well. i first learnt how to draw water from a well when i went to pulau tekong besar to attend a leadership training camp.

my friend who lived in chia keng village, which used to be somewhere opposite kovan road, had a well near his home but his family would often go to the standpipe to collect water. most wells were about a metre in diameter but some large wells could be as wide as three metres.

some wells in his village were big enough for the children to go in for a dip. yes, some kampong children swam in wells. these were the wells which were wider in diameter and there was some way of getting in and out of it. there were even fish in such wells.

just as there is more than one way to skin a cat, there are more than one way to draw water from a well using either a container or a pail with a length of rope attached to it.

one way is to hold the metal pail with the bottom facing up and drop it vertically into the water in the well. if the pail is heavy enough, it will hit the water and tilt for water to get into it.

another way is to drop the pail onto the surface of the water. with the empty pail resting on the surface of the water, using your wrist, you flip the pail by using the length of rope and the water will then flow into the pail.

yet another way is to throw the pail or container into the well and just before it hits the water, flip the pail by jerking the rope so that the container or pail ends up hitting the water at an oblique angle. the water will flow naturally into the pail or container.


peter said...

Type "RAF Chia Keng" and see if the surroundings remind you of your past.

yg said...

thanks peter for the info. it was my friend who lived at chia keng. i have gone to the website to check it out, and i have passed this info to my friend. really good records of the past.

Victor said...

It also helped that the pail used for drawing water from a well in the olden days was made of solid iron. We had such a pail before and it weighed several katies even when empty. You would have a problem drawing water from a well if a modern light plastic pail was used.

yg said...

yes, now i remember those iron pails which we referred to as 'tii tanng'. precisely, when they use a light weight pail, they will get frustrated by their efforts.

Lam Chun See said...

We used to have a well in our kampong house. We had a pulley hung on a horizontal cross bar about 7 ft above ground. I am proud to say, I was pretty skillful at flipping the pail neatly to 'scoop' out the water. Wish I can find one to video a demo for my blog.

yg said...

yes, i have seen wells, like you have described, with a pulley. there were also some wells with a manually operated lift pump.

Anonymous said...

hi, i am looking for well water.
can anyone know where can I get it?

Any full address?

Thks & B,Rdgs

yg said...

you may have to go to pulau ubin or to our northern neighbour, johor.
i know at the dairy farm nature reserve, where construction work is still going on, there are two wells. they may be conserving these wells because, at the moment, they have nets covering the top of each well.

Anonymous said...

do u know any old temple got well?

yg said...

sorry, i do not know of any old temple with a well in its compound.