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April 01, 2008

Kampong Glam Park: Utility In A Pocket Of Greenery

Kampong Glam Park: Utility In A Pocket Of Greenery

If you are wondering whether the “glam” in Kampong Glam is an abbreviated form of “glamour”, stop wondering because it is not. Kampong Glam's name was derived from the Glam (Gelam) tree that was a common sight in the village during the time when they deliberated on a suitable name. The "Gelam" specie or Kayu Putih (Melaleuca Cajuputi) is related to the Australian Eucalytus tree. Gelam” tree leaves were valuable sources of cajuput oil for its medicinal properties and its bark was used to caulk boats (i.e. seal the gaps between wood). If you want to see a picture or image of the Gelam tree, here is the gelam tree below, by courtesy of Lam Chun See.

For a larger picture or image of the gelam tree, click here to see the Gelam Tree.

Nestled amidst high-rise commercial buildings, residential blocks and a mosque, the park cuts a low-key presence in a concrete jungle. This pocket of greenery is a pleasant breath of fresh air, both literally and figuratively.

I scour the small park for the Gelam tree unsuccessfully. A red tiled pavement cuts the park into two triangular halves, which appear bare except for benches, neatly lawned grass, shrubbery and trees. These tiles also point visitors to the location of telephone booths and a bus stop tucked at a corner of the park. Despite its small size, the basic park requirement of space, greenery and tranquillity are adequate.

At Kg Glam Park, I like to watch park visitors. Well patronized despite its size, the park offers a snapshot of the ethnic diversity in the neighbourhood. Both locals and foreigners can be easily differentiated by their mannerisms and conversations. If you wish to meet more people, chat with these folks about their diverse backgrounds. Most will be more than willing to share their life stories, if your approach is benign and sincere, and if your mastery of their languages is up to par.

Live life, be happy.

Tags: Gelam tree, glam tree, gelam, glam, tree gelam

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