There is not much information on the kampong house – how long has it been left there, why was it not demolished last time?
Located about 100m off Gangsa Track (former Mandai Track 15), the small kampong house measures roughly 7m by 5m. Standing on stilts, it is made of wood and has a zinc roof. At the back of the house is a small pond, possibly used for fish or prawn farming in the past. Nearby are also former water wells and remnants of brick and wooden structures which could be used to keep poultry.
The green paint on the house’s walls has worn off, and its wooden stairs broken off, indicating that the house should be abandoned for a long time. But some of its connecting bolts are found relatively new; perhaps there were some repairs in recent years? Judging by its relatively small size and location, the house might be a temporary home or a storage place.
According to the Singapore Land Authority’s (SLA) 1979 and 1985 maps, Mandai Track 15 used to have many houses, ponds, plantations and even a place of worship.
Gangsa Track, or Gangsa Trail, was developed for both the mountain bikers and trekkers in the early 2000s. Stretching about 5km from Mandai Road to Chestnut Nature Park (North), it was developed from Mandai Track 15, a beaten road off the main Mandai Road.
As for other rural roads such as Lorong Gangsa and Jalan Kwok Min, they existed until the nineties before they were expunged and consumed by the thick Mandai forest and undergrowth.
Between the early and mid-eighties, Bukit Timah Expressway (BKE) was constructed from north to south, first from Woodlands to Mandai Road, then from Mandai Road to the Pan-Island Expressway (PIE). This affected some of the Mandai villages, resulting in the relocation of their residents.
By the late eighties, the Mandai area was taken over by the Singapore Armed Forces as part of their training grounds, and almost all the villages were relocated and demolished.
Although Gangsa Track has been made accessible to the public since the early 2000s, Live Firing Area and Protected Area signages remain erected at certain points to warn people against straying needlessly into the forested area.
Published: 11 November 2020