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June 26, 2009

Duck Farm In Singapore

'Duck Farm' In Singapore

Old Duck Farm in Singapore. Photograph courtesy of NHB PICAS.

In my travels around Singapore while writing for Seen This Scene That, I came across a 'duck farm' in Singapore recently. You will not find any other duck farm as modern as this farm. Like most things in Singapore, this duck farm has undergone extensive 'upgrading', like no other.

This unique duck farm is located in a residential estate. It is not isolated in a far-flung wild corner of Singapore. Yet residents and visitors will have no cause to complain about unpleasant fragrance or noisy behaviour of the duck population at this farm.

The reason for this heavenly coexistence of a duck farm in the middle of a housing estate?

Look at the photograph of this duck farm for the answer.

Duck Farm Photograph 1:

Yes. Ducks, the farmer and the girl in the photograph are sculptures. These ducks are good photographic models as they keep really still, unlike real ducks, for photo-taking. They 'posed' patiently for visitors keen to capture photographic memories of a by-gone duck farm.

You can read the plaque for more details about the duck farm sculpture.

Duck Farm Photograph 2:

Next to Lorong Ah Soo between blocks 139 and 127, these sculptures of a duck farmer and some ducks in a neighbourhood park stand as testament to a piece of history in this neighbourhood of Singapore.

The words on the plaque are quoted here for ease of reading:

"Since pre-war times until early 1960s, the area from Lorong Ah Soo towards Hougang Avenue 1 (previously known as Jalan Hock Chye) was a duck and pig farm with coconut plantation within the estate. This sculpture portraying the livelihood of a farmer at the duck farm brings back warm memories of our older folks who grew up in this kampong. It will also give our younger generations a glimpse of the rich history of this area and an appreciation of the humble livelihood of our forefathers."

Although I have seen ducks in our local zoo as a child and as an adult (to bring my kids there), I do not recall seeing a real duck farm as a child. In this sense, this duck farm sculpture made an impact on me.

In our current urbanized landscape, duck farms do not take up real estate. You would be hard pressed to find a full time duck farmer in Singapore. Yet duck farming was part of our heritage and it would be a waste if no one remembered this aspect of the past.

While nothing beats the real thing, at least a sculpture that reminds one of the past is tangible and easier to comprehend that reading lines of historical text or looking through old photographs on the Net.

How does it feel to have a brood of ducks snapping at your feet? Do ears tremble when ducks quack all around you? Do you remember seeing any duck farms in Singapore during your childhood days? Have you or your kids seen real ducks at a farm (other than those at the zoo)?

See more places. Live more life.

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yg said...

hi stst, i don't remember seeing a duck farm in s'pore although we did rear ducks and chickens in our kampong. a few even kept geese. (geese were very naughty; they would peck at our 'worms', as we went about naked when we were toddlers.)
my friend, who lives in marsiling, tells me that at the place where the republic polytechnic now stands, there used to be a pond where you could see ducks which came from the nearby farms.

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