Recapturing the Kampung Spirit

Themed ‘Balik Kampung’ in celebration of Hari Raya Aidil Fitri, life-sized displays of traditional kampung houses offer a glimpse of life in the village.  

 

Each year, the horticulture team will brainstorm for ideas to spice up the horticulture displays across Changi Airport to bring about novel experiences for passengers. Planning is usually done in the beginning of the year, taking into consideration the various festivals and events over the year. The displays are refreshed seven to eight times a year, often in line with main festivals and celebrations such as Chinese New Year, Hari Raya, Deepavali and Christmas.  

The Garden Instant Feedback System screen beside each horticulture display allows the horticulture team to gather feedback from passengers ranging from its design, the selection of plants and flowers and colours used. Past displays have been positively received by passengers. On average, nine in ten passengers had given positive feedback on the horticulture displays over the past year. Hence, the horticulture team continues to excite passengers by refreshing traditional horticulture displays with new designs periodically.

The theme this festive season is ‘Balik Kampung’, which means going back to the village. Modelled after traditional stilt kampung houses back in the 1900s, the life-sized displays across Terminals 1 to 4 offer a glimpse of life in the village. The horticulture team sought to bring passengers back in time, recreating the characteristic attap roofs and wooden stilts.

 “We wanted to follow the design of houses back then as closely as possible, down to the smallest detail, even the fabric used for the curtains. We are pleased that the final product is what we had envisioned,” said Tamilselvi, Lead-in-Charge of the project.

The horticulture team incorporated many unique elements of kampung life, such as farm animals, bringing the display to life. 

 

Not only are the displays a stunning resemblance of traditional kampungs, they also feature other unique aspects of the kampung life – the flora and fauna. Household cats on the roof, chicken coops and goats by the porch bring the display to life. Plants commonly sighted in the kampung are also featured. This include the Coconut and Betelnut palms, Belinjau and Breadfruit trees, and other culinary herbs such as Galangal, Serai and Kesum.

Traditional Malay food, such as the Ketupat, a diamond-shaped rice cake popular among the Malay community, can be seen displayed across the terminals.

 

In addition, traditional Malay food such as the many colourful kueh, ketupat and satay is displayed on the porch. Across the terminals, traditional Malay games such as ‘Capteh’ (Shuttlecock) and ‘Batu Serembat’ (Five Stones), musical instruments such as ‘Gambus’ (Lute) and ‘Gendang’ (Drum), traditional Malay costume and handicrafts are on display as well.

Different from previous years, the team decided to use the same theme over Hari Raya Aidil Fitri and the June school holidays, with the displays serving also to educate the young on traditional Malay culture, in conjunction with Singapore’s heritage and history.

The team came up with this idea about two months before and worked with an external vendor to conceptualise the design of the models. With the concept in mind, the models were first assembled in a factory, then dismantled and assembled onsite by a team of seven in a day. Such work is usually done after midnight to minimise disruption to passengers. Once the house is ready, landscaping will be done and plants will be added the next morning complete the display.  

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