He sneaked out for a dip in pool when his grandfather was caretaker

Whenever his caretaker grandfather took an afternoon nap, a young Sulaiman Bakar would sneak out of their attap house, down a dirt path and through a drain, for a dip with friends in a pool, known by some as Keppel Hill Reservoir.

The retired marine engine driver, now 69, described it as his personal playground. "We kampung boys would dive into the pool, climb onto the rafts left behind by the British and spend hours swimming, fishing and birdspotting."

He shared his stories after reading news reports published last week, about the discovery of the abandoned reservoir.

He told The Straits Times that his grandfather had been hired by the Singapore Harbour Board to look after the maintenance of about 20 colonial bungalows in the area. By the 1950s, his father, Mr Bakar Marjani, 94, and his uncle took over as caretakers, each earning about $7 a week.

The family lived at 9B Keppel Hill and were part of the Bukit Nong kampung, which had just 20 residents in all.

NHB said Mr Sulaiman's account represents a repository of memories spanning three generations. "This is a good example of how crowd-sourcing can encourage community participation and enrich NHB's historical research," said group director of policy Alvin Tan.

This article was first published on Sep 23, 2014.
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