Moving to

I'm moving to Mostly.

I plan to use that site as a "self-marketing website" of sorts and to manage content in a way that I would otherwise not be able to do on blogger alone.

This blog will stay, ostensibly for more provisional ideas prior to refinement. I'll be gradually moving content (I still like) over to the other website. =)

Monday, January 16, 2012

Reimagining the Kampung

When I was an undergraduate, I stayed in on-campus housing. The place I stayed in was set up like a "large apartment" which comprised a corridor flanked by personal rooms with a shared kitchen and bathrooms. The set up resulted in a natural place for hanging out (the kitchen) and private places to retreat to when one happened to feel less sociable.

There is a sense in which the Kampungs of old, or at least my picture of them, were like that. The use of common facilities led to people from different familial units leaving their private spaces and gathering in common spaces to use these shared facilities. While waiting for these to become available or after using them, people would hang around to interact with each other.

Why does this not happen in HDB apartments, landed developments and just a bit in condominiums? To me it seems that there are too many steps to take. Locked doors. Distance. Socializing is not as easy, and opportunities are not so readily available due to more daily functions being performed with private as opposed to shared facilities.

In my undergraduate "home" on-campus, the main door to the "apartment" was secured by "transponder access" (horribly insecure, I know), so those of us staying inside were comfortable leaving our doors open and stroll out to the kitchen to see who was there. I would imagine that a similar process would take place in a Kampung where the village would be "secured" by the property of everyone knowing everyone else (thus, everyone knowing who did not belong and to be wary of them), so homes would be open and people would step out and look to see who was around in some "central plaza". The lack of private facilities would force people into a shared space to socialize. Social interaction, in turn, generates friendships, attachments and mutual assistance. This was what happened when I was an undergraduate too. (Well, there were one or two anti-social people who kept to themselves and we did not reach out to. Amusingly, there are always a few people who keep to themselves in every village.)

I think such a housing concept might work. Multiple families which are not necessarily related sharing a mega apartment with shared facilities. The fact that appliances like washing machines are not fully utilized implies that cost savings (earth savings) will be accrued. The generation of mutual assistance would create an additional social safety mechanism which could supplement public assistance schemes and not suffer from the same "awareness" problems.

There are, of course, (many) implementation issues, but this idea looks interesting and might be good to explore.

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