Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Old wells

A disused well found in a temple I visited recently -- currently
used more as a "wishing well" as I found a lot of coins
nestled in its muddy bed (and no water).  The one in the foreground
is a well-like enclosure for burning offerings.
I WONDER whether there are still functional wells in Singapore? Well, there is one (much blogged about) at the Sembawang hot spring at Jalan Gambas. But the water's too scathing hot to be your normal everyday well. Anyway, it's locked up. Apparently, there's one deep in the forests of MacRitchie too, where the Shinto shrine is.  One or two which I have stumbled upon in the past were disused and have been covered up. The structures were left intact though, signifying underground water sources in the area: "Here be Water!" (along
I can't be sure. But this looks like an old well (now filled up) at
Jalan Ampas near Balestier Plaza.  
the lines of "Here be Dragons"). Aside: There were several studies done on the Sembawang hot spring, and one study traced its hot water as coming from faults of the "Bukit Timah granite"!

There's a sad childhood incident associated with wells which I will always remember. I was waiting for my turn at Yang Clinic (corner of the row of shophouses at Kensington Park Road, think it is still there) when a truck rolled up and the doors swung open urgently. A man jumped out carrying a child, desperately shouting in Hokkien, "Make way! Make Way! Fell into well!". The child was wet and muddy. So was the father who must had jumped into the well to try and save the child. But it was too late. Minutes later, the father emerged from the consulting room, sobbing uncontrollably, carrying the lifeless body of his child. All of us at the clinic felt his pain and grief. Many were shaking their heads in sympathy. The father must be from a kampung nearby -- there were many kampungs (and probably wells) near Serangoon Gardens in the 60s.
Another well at an old building along Balestier Road. It has been filled up.
 Probably was a washing area before.

On a lighter note, there's a story which I enjoyed telling my friends, even up till today. It originated from my eldest brother. Here it goes:

"Have you heard the story of three wells? No? Well, well, well."

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