Home/Yuan Magazine/History, Yuan #155, Yuan Highlight Article/后港:潮州人,家己人

后港:潮州人,家己人

文 图 · 李国樑

后港自19世纪开港以来,居民以潮州人居多,因此有后港人乃“潮州人,家己人”的说法。从前的后港很大,从实龙岗路三条石(黄埔河)到七条半石尽头(实龙岗河)都统称为后港。如今划分的后港面积缩小许多,5万多个组屋单位让18万居民营造温馨家园。

19世纪中叶,新加坡到处都是甘蜜种植园,后港也不例外。那时候法国天主教会在本地创建教堂,后港七条石历史最悠久的圣母圣诞堂(Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary)就是其中一所为种植员工设立的教堂。圣母圣诞堂成为该地区潮州天主教徒的核心,至今仍然保留着用潮州话传福音的传统。

后港地形图(底图为1975年新加坡街道图)

后港七条半石 港脚渔村

后港地铁站附近的港脚广场和轻轨港脚站都以“港脚”命名,这是移花接木的结果。潮州话的港脚指的是“河口”,确实地点在实龙岗路上段的尽头。上世纪80年代,这里仍然有上百艘渔船停靠,为本地人提供新鲜的海产。

渔村起源于一个世纪前,中国潮州府惠来地区的天主教徒来到新加坡避难,本地天主教会跟殖民地政府磋商后,安排一组人到万里垦荒,原籍惠来县白冷村的人士则在港脚创建甘榜实龙岗渔村,将活蹦蹦的海产载送到五条石林大头巴刹和六条石西门路巴刹,再由二盘商转销到其他街市。

后港六条石 大井脚

后港六条石的苏马巴实龙岗村(Somapah Serangoon Village)地处实龙岗路上段和淡滨尼路交界,今天的Kovan City所在地。苏马巴(Hunmah Somapah)是大地主,后港六条石、樟宜十英里(新加坡科技设计大学)、榜鹅、裕廊都有他的土地。苏马巴的儿子巴萨帕别名“动物之友”,二战前在榜鹅尾海边创建占地6个足球场的动物园:从柏斯带入单峰驼、黑天鹅和小马,从悉尼引进海豹,随后又从荷兰动物园运来四头狮子,成为外国观光客的旅游热点。

苏马巴实龙岗村乃后港居民的活动中心,日常墟市和搭棚演戏贯穿着旧时光。这里俗称“大井脚”,名字源自一口比普通水井宽约一米的大井。据说大井水源充足,从来没有干涸过,全国制水的日子街坊也不必发愁。上世纪80年代兴建组屋时,大井被填平。30年后建屋局在后港第203座组屋前兴建仿大井脚的亭子,消失的地名总算重见天日。

六条石的西门路巴刹乃渔产分销站之一。二盘商风雨不改,大清早便聚集在大井脚,边喝咖啡边点评天下事。天色微亮时,海鲜也运到了。365天下来,大井脚的早晨只有农历新年那两三天才清闲下来。

上世纪60年代,永泰制衣厂在苏马巴实龙岗村附近设立本地第一家牛仔裤工厂。永泰主动邀请工友加入工会,并在工厂旁兴建员工宿舍,让单身人士住宿。熟练的车衣女工是制衣厂最强的劳动力。到永泰求职的女工以年轻少女居多,做了几年后结婚生子,然后就辞职顾家了。挽留熟练员工的方式之一就是在厂内提供托儿服务,接收满月的婴儿;适龄上学的孩子由小巴专门接送,免除女工的后顾之忧。友好的劳资关系成为当时的楷模。

实龙岗河繁忙的港脚渔村(图源:互联网)

上世纪60年代,永泰制衣厂在苏马巴实龙岗村附近设立本地第一家牛仔裤工厂(图源:新加坡档案馆)

后港五条石 多元化社区

后港五条石的林大头巴刹昼夜都一样热闹。百年前,殖民地政府率先于直落亚逸巴刹推出第一个“小贩遮棚”,试验成功后在林大头巴刹依法炮制,让露天小贩有个遮阳挡雨的地方。

林大头巴刹内有两百个摊位,外面几条街小贩云集,比室内更热闹。凌晨5点左右巴刹便开始一天的运作,小贩或挑着扁担,或推着手推车,将自家的鸡鸭与瓜果蔬菜运来摆卖。夕阳西下时轮到熟食摊登场,三五知己齐聚在大排档旁,摊主打烊时才踏着星光打道回府。

后港斗母宫乃五条石的另一地标,这座约120年的福建庙宇跟本地其他九皇爷庙一样,农历八月卅日到海边迎驾,九月初九恭送九皇爷回銮。庙会有花车出游,舞龙舞狮助兴,连演多场大戏,为居民带来节庆的喜乐。

九皇信仰可能源自远古的星宿崇拜,随着时日演变成斗母九皇。九皇爷的母亲“斗母”乃北斗星神,地位自然比九个孩子崇高,不过在新马,九位皇爷的光芒却盖过斗母。另一派学说认为九皇爷乃上古九位帝王,统治中国4万多年。也有人认为九皇爷指的是郑成功,事缘郑成功秘密召集各路英雄,于福建省沿海借斗母神诞,一连九天招兵买马。斗母左右手分别举着“日”和“月”,即号召众人反清复“明”,这些都可从后港斗母宫的对联和建筑格局看出端倪。

五条石的尤索夫回教堂(Masjid Haji Yusoff)跟后港斗母宫同期成立,可见后港早已是个多元化的社区。老居民结合马来话和中文,称回教堂为Sembahyang亭,也就是祷告的场所。回教堂的创建过程跟许多乡村华人庙宇相似,信奉回教的印度古吉拉特(Gujarat)商人在本地发迹后,捐钱捐地建立小教堂,惠及附近的甘榜村民。随着人口增加,教堂筹集资本扩建成现在可容纳400人的规模,开办成人宗教课程和学生补习班等。

一个多世纪前创建的尤索夫回教堂(Masjid Haji Yusoff)

后港斗母宫内“深奥”的日月对联

有林路富 无林路厝

福建人流传过一句口语:“有林路富,无林路厝。”原籍福建南安的林路于清末来到新加坡从事建筑业,并在后港四条半石的武士革路(Wolskel Road)一带买下土地,创建福安饼干厂和福安砖厂。跟武士革路相连的武吉阿兰路(Bukit Arang Road)俗称福安路,可见林路不只在原乡的林路大厝闻名而已。

砖窑是粗重活,早年连开采原料都用人工挖掘。当时砖窑的工作服简单,只需套件圆领汗衫和阔裆长裤的“唐山阿伯”穿着。二战结束后,福安曾经运作过一段时期。这个毗邻中华中学的地区已由私人住宅取代,福安的名字亦消失无踪。

潮州人出花园

后港的天主与基督教堂多,华人道教庙宇同样鼎盛,从前老人家周末上教堂读圣经,逢年过节则祭拜祖先神灵。潮州庙宇如半港天后宫和钟头宫都供奉妈祖,延续“未上红头船,先拜妈祖娘”的信仰,后港5道的钟头宫也是少数举行潮州人“出花园”仪式的庙宇之一。

出花园仪式大同中有小异,都在早上进行。孩子冲过花凉后换上新衣服,象征焕然一新,脚踩红木屐代表高中状元、平步青云。

根据潮汕风俗,孩子出生后,母亲在床底下供奉公婆神(也叫床脚婆、公婆母、花公花嫲等),保佑孩子健康成长。出花园当天,母亲点香向公婆神请辞,禀告孩子已经长大,可以照顾自己了。母亲所准备的食物有猪内脏、红鸡蛋、红龟糕、白斩鸡等,吃了猪内脏等于更新肠胃,改善不良习性。男生出花园的红龟糕是尖形的,女生则是扁的,吃了可保健康长寿。男生以公鸡当供品,象征朝气蓬勃、奋发图强;女生则用母鸡,祈求将来生儿育女,多子多福。男女生都必须咬鸡头,寓意出人头地,独占鳌头。

我在潮州人创办的学校读书的年代,好些同学都不约而同于七夕当天拿假,经老师解释后才了解到七月初七当天,虚龄15岁的孩子由大人带领“走出花园”后便长大成人,必须对自己的行为负责。说来奇怪,有些平日嘻嘻哈哈,游手好闲的同学,好像突然间长大了,变得格外懂事,学业突飞猛进。

后港公立新民学校:新民中学的前身(图源:新民校友)

后港的学校:从五只小猪的故事谈起

后港最著名的潮州学校就是新民中学。新加坡有六七所“新民学校”,其中后港公立新民学校是新民中学的前身,其背后有个五只小猪的故事。二战结束后,新加坡面对大量超龄学生的问题,殖民地政府开办的英校不接收超龄生,催生民间办华校的热潮。后港人叶帆风索性卖掉家里蓄养的五头小猪,租下实龙岗路上段的旧洋楼,公立新民学校正式开课。上世纪80年代,学校由政府接管。

在后港长大的张湖才,老家早已变身为如今已丢空的实龙岗初级学院。半个世纪前,他于后港新民完成十年中小学教育,小学同学几乎清一色潮州人,潮州话成为课余的生活语言。中学的时候虽然有些同学来自其他地区,潮州人还是占八成以上。

从前私会党渗透各个角落,连小学生都有样学样,沾染些许江湖气,老师肩负着化顽化愚的使命。新民的老师流行家访,走遍每一条乡间小路。有些家庭甚至一家大小都上过同一位老师的课,甘榜情就是这样建立起来的。

后港五条石林大头路的两层楼店屋,外墙上还可见到大侨学校的痕迹。消失的大侨学校取义“大埔华侨”所创办的学校。日战结束后,学校于巴耶里峇葱茅园复办,80年代初由政府接管,迁入宏茂桥第54街的新校舍。

后港五条石林大头路还有一所上世纪30年代创建的醒华学校,向四海通银行租地,月租只需区区2元。附近的光洋学校于百年前创建,这是另一所从小学扩展到中学的民间学府。上世纪80年代光洋停办一年后由政府复名,在碧山镇以政府学校的身份东山再起。

罗弄亚苏(Lorong Ah Soo)有座战后成立的后港海南同乡会,为从前的后港海南村留下印迹。二战前,海南村聚居约百户人家,村中水尾圣娘庙的理事和一些村民联办化蒙学校,让孩子们读书识字。

后港历史悠久的教会学校,对在地孩子的教育跟民间办学的贡献不遑多让。19世纪末天主教会已于后港创建第一所华校,发展为后来的圣婴中学。圣婴女校、蒙福和搬迁至白沙的海星女中,都缓解了战后超龄学生、学校不足和女子教育等挑战。

随着社会人口流动,妇女走入工作职场,后港人的潮州人、家己人的观念正在淡化,也不再咬着鸡头出花园了。虽然如此,就如鲁迅所言:“石在,火种是不会绝的”,只要你开口,还是听得到老人家熟悉亲切的乡音。

参考文献:

1. A Short History of Tampines Road –Busy Junction, Customs Station and Illegal Alcohol, https://remembersingapore.org/2019/01/14/tampines-road-customs-station-quarters/ accessed 6 Jan 2021.

2. HOUGANG HERITAGE TRAIL A COMPANION GUIDE, National Heritage Board, October 2020.

3. Masjid Haji Yusoff, https://www.roots.gov.sg/places/placeslanding/Places/landmarks/Hougang-Heritage-Trail/Masjid-Haji-Yusoff accessed 16 Jan 2021.

4. Searching for Singapore’s Last Water Wells, https://remembersingapore.org/2014/04/19/singapores-last-water-wells/accessed 15 January 2021.

5. 陈爱薇,“退潮前 寻后港小潮州”,《联合早报》2020年10月4日。

6. 梁康伯原著,徐李颖翻译,《寻庙新加坡的华人庙宇》新加坡道教学院2011年9月。

7. 沈斯涵,“九皇信仰与星宿崇拜”,《联合早报》2021年11月4日。 新加坡海南会馆,http://hainan.org.sg/accessed 27 January 2021.

(作者为英国皇家造船师学会会员、自由文史工作者)

Hougang—“Teochew nang, ga gi nang

Since plantation workers settled in Hougang in the 19th century, Teochew residents grew in number until a time where the old kampungs gave way to urban modernisation. There is a saying “Teochew nang, ga gi nang” (潮州人,家己人) which denotes that the Teochews commonly refer to one another as “our own people”.

For the commonfolk, Hougang used to have a wide coverage that stretches from Serangoon Road 3rd milestone (Whampoa River) to the end of Upper Serangoon Road 7th milestone (Serangoon River). Nowadays, Hougang has shrunk in size. Rural villages were converted into more than 50,000 HDB flats for 180,000 residents.

In the mid-19th century, Hougang area was one of the gambier plantations. The Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary at the 7th milestone was one of those catholic churches set up by the French missionaries for the plantation workers. The historic church witnessed the transformation of Hougang and became the nucleus of the Teochew Catholics living there. It still retains the tradition of preaching in the Teochew language.

Hougang 7th milestone onward was named as Kangkar once upon a time. In Teochew language, the word Kangkar means estuary or foot of the port. A century ago, the Catholics from the Huilai County of Chaozhou Province in China came to Singapore for refuge. After consultation with the colonial government, a group of them were settled in Mandai Stephen Lee Road vicinity. For those who were originally from the village of Baileng in Huilai County made a living at the Kampong Serangoon fishing village. Those fresh fisheries from Kangkar were delivered to the 5th milestone’s Lim Tua Tow Market and the 6th milestone’s Simon Road Market. They were then resold to other hawkers by second-hand traders.

The Hougang 6th milestone Somapah Serangoon Village, situated at the Upper Serangoon Road and Tampines Road junction, was the centre of activity for the Hougang residents. It is where the Heartland Mall is situated today. The village was commonly known as the “Tua Jia Kar” which was named after a big well. It was said that the well never dried up even during periods when water rationing was needed in those days. In the 1980s when HDB flats were built in Hougang, the name of Tua Jia Kar disappeared for 30 years. The current Tua Jia Kar pavilion in front of Block 203 inherited the name of the disappeared landmark.

In the 1960s, the Wing Tai Garment Factory set up the first local jeans factory along Tampines Road near the Somapah Serangoon Village. Wing Tai took the initiative to establish a friendly working environment.  For example, Wing Tai built a dormitory next to the factory and set up a childcare centre within the factory building for the workers. It recognised that skilled female garment workers were their biggest asset. However, most of them who came for employment were teenage girls. They then set up their own families after working for a few years and decided to resign in order to take care of their children. For a private company to provide childcare services, it was deemed to be ahead of its time in that era.

The Lim Tua Tow Market at the 5th milestone was always busy regardless of day or night. A century ago, the colonial government first piloted the fully sheltered market for hawkers at the Telok Ayer Market. After the successful trial, shelters for hawkers were built one after another whereby Hougang was one of the earliest beneficiaries.

The 120-year-old Tou Mu Kung Temple and the Masjid Haji Yusoff, built by Hokkien pioneers and Gujarat traders respectively, are special landmarks in the area. They signify that Hougang residents were not limited to only the Teochew at that time. People from different races and dialects lived together harmoniously and eventually came together to build a nation.

Home/Yuan Magazine/History, Yuan #155, Yuan Highlight Article/后港:潮州人,家己人