This Is Unreal, Literally! Ex-Commando Miniaturises Kampung Lorong Buangkok
STORY: Sim Ding En
19 April 2021
If there's anyone who should be the poster boy for lifelong learning, it ought to be 55-year-old Wilfred Cheah.
The former commando regular, who left the Singapore Armed Forces in 1993, had a second career in interior design for almost three decades. And now, he's in his own "Phase 3" - as a miniature artist who's made the headlines (he even got the attention of PM Lee for one of his recent works, okay!) and whose works, which are primarily made of cardboard, have made us go from "oh my" to "wow" to "OMFG".
His latest creation: a depiction of Singapore's last surviving kampung at Lorong Buangkok. Acquired in 1956 by traditional Chinese medicine seller Sng Teow Koon, the former swampland was leased to families who first arrived in the area.
Today, the kampung is surrounded by HDB flats, and the rent for each of the 25 houses there ranges from - get this - $4.50 to $30 a month. 😳
But let's go from that mind-blowing fact to Wilfred's equally incredible work. Be wowed. Be very wowed.
We found the actual house (above) on Google Maps!
What the—?! Do we actually spot a retro CRT television set with a colour test card on its screen in the living room? #ded
Yes - there are mini-mini-miniature mah-jong tiles on this already mini model. What we want to know is... are the tiles frozen in an actual mah-jong game? And who's turn is it?
Miniscule portraits and pictures on the wall make this microscopic world come alive - and make us want to gulp Alice in Wonderland's "Drink Me" potion to shrink ourselves just so we can go and kaypoh around inside this living room.
We are living for this living room: the cracks in the cement floor, the push-button phone (in that super gorgeously retro shade of kueh salat green) and a copy of 南洋商報 (Nan Yang Shang Bao, a Chinese newspaper founded by philanthropist-entrepreneur Tan Kah Kee in 1923) on the coffee table.
(Wilfred, if you're reading this, please, please, please tell us how you managed to escape the effects of Old Flower Eyes?!)
Pocket-sized provision shop
ICYMI, read our piece on Wilfred's miniature model of a provision shop in Ang Mo Kio (a tribute to his father-in-law awww). This is the model that caught the attention of PM Lee!
Nanoscopic NS life
And also check out our piece on Wilfred's depiction of the transition in Singapore Army eras, which first alerted us to this man we consider a Singapore treasure.