Sembawang where I live in today is a very different place from the Sembawang where a fair bit of my childhood’s most memorable experiences were based in. There was the old Chong Pang village, with the old Catholic Church (http://www.veritas.org.sg/olss/history1.html) at the corner, the streets of wooden shops and houses, the old open air cinema boarded by zinc sheets, the numerous shops that lined the main road … the crab nets hanging in front of the shops selling fishing tackle and supplies …
I remember Sembawang most for the numerous nights spent crabbing from the jetty, which is still standing in what is now Sembawang Park. In those days, a typical night’s yield from a few square crabbing nets weighed with lead weights, tied to the jetty with nylon rope, each with a piece of rotting fish as bait, was two five gallon pails full of large crabs. This memory together with the smell of the sea, mixed with rotting fish, camphor and kerosene lamps, and the mee goreng bought from the Indian hawker stalls in Chong Pang Village is the most vivid I have of Sembawang.
During my later teenage years, I spent a lot of time as well wandering around the Kampung Tanjung Irau area east of what is now Sembawang Park. Besides the very quaint kampung houses on stilts and the wooden fishing boats that lined some parts of the sea shore, I don’t remember much of it, except some vague memories of pulling strings of green shelled mussels from wooden piles at the sea shore somewhere, and also taking a boat from time to time across to Seletar Island in the Straits of Johore.
Some further posts related to the Sembawang area: