Sunday, 27 November 2011

Tan Kok Seng's Son of Singapore & Man of Malaysia

I picked up a couple of gems at Bras Basah Complex yesterday. I got a copy of a first edition of 'Son of Singapore' (Heinemann 1972) as well as the first reprint edition of 1974. I also got  it's sequel 'Man of Malaysia'.
Each of the book was priced at about $7.50. Right after my purchase, the book store owner began removing the price tags for the remaining  'Son of Singapore' on the shelf. When I asked him if he is increasing the price, he replied yes, and is intending to up the price to $18.00 per book. I guess I just spoiled the market.   
I have been looking for Tan Kok Seng's 'Son of Singapore' for a while. My family used to have this book and I remember reading this book again and again as a kid. Unfortunately, over the years, somehow it got lost or was thrown away. Nowadays, this book is out of print and hard to find.

In his simple language, TKS tells of his life story, and along the way, also told the story of Singapore from WWII till the 1950s and 60s. It is surprising that this gem of a book is out-of-print. 

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

The Land between two Expressways - Hong Kah

Date: 29th Oct. 2011
Distance: 13.8km 

Our party of 22 started at about 8am from Bukit Gombak MRT station. We entered the Hong Kah restricted area by a monsoon drain right opposite Hong Kah Primary School. A short walk through the bushes led us to a dirt track that is probably used by army vehicles for their training. The path leads up to a hillock, the highest part of the area where glimpses of the housing estates around can be caught. Several of the dirt tracks about the area on the right side of the monsoon drain criss-crossed each other. There were hardly any people in the area. We only came across an elderly jogger and a driver resting in his excavator. It seems virtually all traces of the human habitation, kampungs, buildings has been eradicated. The only buildings left are SAF training sheds. The vegetation is lush but not dense, nice sprawling fields of grass and shrubs abound, with handsome rain trees dotting the landscape. Eventually, we went onto Jalan Lam Sam, after taking some detours we unintentionally ended up on Jalan Lam Sam, and before i knew it, we were almost upon the exit to Old Jurong Road (OJR). I had originally planned to head west from Jalan Lam Sam, and exit near the old Jurong School, instead, the south going Jalan Lam Sam led us prematurely onto OJR. We walked along OJR looking for an opening to get back into the rural zone. We walked along a stretch of river jutting into the rural zone, but was back onto OJR before long, turned back by a lack of openings to any promising tracks. After another small loop into thick vegetation, we got back out to OJR, and eventually reached the environs of the old Jurong School. There is a major trail in from here, and we did a nice loop into the rural area again, before heading out back to OJR, got underneath the Hong Kah flyover, continued on the forsaken stretch of OJR that runs along side JurongWest Ave 2. Vegetation has claimed half of the breadth of this short stretch of road, and the woods on the right beckons to be explored. This stretch of land may well be the old site of Bulim cemetery, although nobody is quite sure of that. We ended up in Boon Lay Hawker Centre for well deserved Power Nasi Lemak. THe weather held and was divine to us this lovely saturday morning.