Sungei Nipah: Our Canal was once a river

Sungei Nipah Pasir Panjang Canal

29 Sep 2021

This post was originally posted on our Facebook page on 15 November 2020:

It’s been a while since we’ve seen such high water levels in the canal that winds past Jambol Place Park and through the Springwood neighbourhood. We were getting serious Venetian vibes as we strolled along the canal this weekend…we could just picture gondolas gliding by!

Curious about the history of the canal, we reached out to our PPPEA group, and were delighted to score some precious glimpses of old Pasir Panjang life. Here’s what we learnt:

“During the old kampong days, there were many streams, longkangs and water pathways running towards the coast. Many of these drainage systems formed the tributaries to Sungei Nipah (or River Nipah). In the late 70s and 80s when Pasir Panjang was rapidly developed into a middle class neighbourhood, PUB and the property developers had to upgrade the drainage system. Many of these longkangs and riverlets were re- routed into the various canals and legacy drains we now see around our private estates.”

“I remembered the Sungei was a mangrove swamp with muddy and murky waters. A small river width about 15 feet broad. It was used for the kampong Malay folks to park their fishing sampans after a day’s work. There they would repair them by caulking the sampan hull and also spread their fishing nets to dry or mend the torn nettings. I remembered the fisherman [who] once caught a small crocodile.”

To think this Sungei has become the very same canal we now walk along on cement pavements. We just love anecdotes like these, and welcome anyone who has stories to tell, or who knows someone who has memories to pass down, to please share them with us here. Old photographs would be wonderful too!

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