I Helped Fight Fires In My Kampong Since Age 12

I Helped Fight Fires In My Kampong
Since Age 12
Back in the 50s, my family and I were part of a group of volunteer firefighters in Kampong Chia Keng, the area where Serangoon Stadium stands today. I remember being so eager to join them the moment I was "old enough"
In our kampong, fires weren't uncommon.
However, some fire engines were too large to enter the kampong. We formed our own "self-help group" of volunteer firefighters to be the first responders in case we couldn't get help in time.
Whenever a fire broke out, we sprung to action like clockwork.
My 12-year-old self would sprint to the watchtower and ring the bell to alert all the villagers. Everyone else would then rush to extinguish the flames and help those affected.
The group also handled other emergencies, from fighting crime to carrying out flood rescue missions.
Conflicts like Konfrontasi and racial riots were rife. To keep our village safe, we had to stay resilient and united.
This also motivated me to start a new volunteer group with my neighbours after I moved to a nearby HDB estate in the 80s.
Soon after, we heard about the devastating collapse of Hotel New World on the radio.
20 of us rushed over to the disaster site to do anything
we could to help.
So much of Singapore has changed since but I still hold dear the spirit of community and looking out for one another. Now, I enjoy reminiscing the old days through painting and looking at old photographs.
I learnt about the community spirit and serving others since I was a young boy, because I saw it come alive through the people around me.
Mr Chiang submitted his photos to the Founders' Memorial to remind others of the unity and resilience of
Singapore's founding generation.
The Founders' Memorial is looking for artefacts and stories from the 1950s to 1970s that speak of our nation-building journey.
If you or your loved ones have an artefact or story, share them with the Founders' Memorial today at go.gov.sg/contributestories
Author Our Grandfather Story

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