Saturday, December 18, 2010

singapore's last fishing 'village'

in my post on 'orang seletar', i had suggested that the stilt houses near the seletar dam could be the site where they were once settled from the 19th century onwards. during one of our saturday's walks, we decided to explore some of the existing huts. i do not think it can be considered a fishing 'village' because there are only about five huts on land and four floating ones some distance out in the sea. besides, most of the part-time fishermen do not live in those huts.

as with most rural people, the fishermen were very accommodating. they invited us to take a look around the huts and cautioned us to be careful as the planks of the wooden jetty were rather filmsy. although most of the huts were built on stilts over the water, some were on solid land. the fishermen told us that they did not live on the site because of the presence of pesky mosquitoes.

the first line of huts that we visited seem to specialise in catching flower crabs. the three men we met all had flower crabs. one of them wanted to sell us the live crabs at $9 a kilogram. he had a plastic bag of them which he offered to sell us for $15. catching crabs was not their full-time job. it was more to bring in some side income. it was also to connect with the past because some of them were fishermen when they were living near punggol point.

the second row of huts belonged to some malay families. we did not get to see the inside because we could not find the access to it. the third row of huts were occupied by hokkien fishermen. this was the information volunteered by the friendly teochew fisherman in the first hut. here, we were told that the catch had not come in yet. normally, the boats will bring in the fish, prawns and other live seafood at around 11 a.m. we did not that eager to get our hands on the fresh seafood, so we did not want to wait.

in the past, some anglers used to come here to hire a boat, with a boatman, to go fishing out in the sea. when we enquired about renting a boat, we were told that they were no longer allowed to do this kind of business anymore.

from the wooden jetties, you can see seletar island, where orang seletar once lived, and khatib bongsu on the mainland.


Andy Wee said...

Yup ! I'm one of the anglers that frequent the boatman ~ And now he has became my good friend. Its a fun place live in, except for the uninviting horrible commando mossies. Before my fishing trip, i would walk around the area, kpoing about what each of them are doing. From repairing of boats, to sewing or kniting of fishing nets, kinda fun ~ There was once we actually used the fishing nets to gather some live mullets for our fishing trip ! And the results were good !

Andrew said...

It's a pity Khatib Bongsu was closed down, visited there once, loved the rustic feel even though we had to walk most of the way. :)

yg said...

hi andy, so we can actually go out with the fishermen in their boats on the basis that we are friends.

yg said...

hi andrew, even though saf put up 'protected area' notices, a lot of people still go into that area. yes, it is a pity they closed down the fishing pond which was open to the public.