Thursday, April 09, 2015

Longhouses for Bodily Waste (Not for Rest) @ Saint John's Island [Singapore]

While gearing towards the direction of the washroom at Saint John's Island, i could not help but bear the biological tension (to urinate in case you don't get what i mean) when i marched past the below sight. 

What the hell; we have longhouses (modern style) in Singapore?! Weird though since the 'rooms' appeared to be too narrow and claustrophobic for a person to live in! 

I took a closer look after releasing the pressure in my bladder and it dawned on me that the two blocks were in reality washrooms aka latrines aka lavatories aka toilets!

In the decent, modest age that we lived in nowadays, i was appalled to see that the urinals were unobstructed and in full view of anyone who happened to walk past! Tsk tsk tsk.

Unsurprisingly, they were not utilised for its intended purpose; smokers seemed to enjoy using it as an ash tray for their ciggies though. 

In total, there were thirty toilets in one building and the key question in my mind then was "who were they built for"? Preliminary guesswork would put it at a time when ladies were not allowed in the vicinity. 

Just got my answer on Singapore Infopedia: "the island was used to house detained political prisoners and ringleaders of secret societies". 

I was frankly quite impressed with the state of the buildings then since the island was open up as a holiday campsite from 1975, which technically means no one has used the washrooms for forty years! 

No idea why there were three stairways along the sewage pipe connecting the two longhouses; for the innocent us, we played hopscotch. Maybe that was one of the pastimes for the prisoners then. 

You know what i am really curious? Notice that metal gate in the centre of the building towards the ground. What lies inside? Given there was already a sewage pipe, it can't be the "holding area" for night soil. Right? 

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Location Map
As above.

How to get to Saint John's Island? 
Take the ferry from Marina South Pier. Each ticket cost S$18 for an adult and S$12 for those below 13 years old.

Ferry Schedule 
Click here

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