The dogs of Kheam Hock Road

JungleRunner commented in my post about Bukit Brown cemetery or Kheam Hock Road that he remembered “the scary wild dogs” from that route.

When I used to ride back from NUS towards Ang Mo Kio, I’d ride huffing and puffing up that hill on my trusty old steel bike in the middle of the cold, humid night. I’d be surrounded by the forest and some grave stones and the only sound I’d hear against the distant hum of the PIE would be my heavy breathing and the creaking bike and struggling chain. Just as I reach the crest of the hill and am completely spent, I’d hear first the sounds of something crashing through the vegetation and a horde of dogs would appear in a flash out of the bushes, barking and growling!

Somehow I’d whistle up that secret reserve and accelerate away, sometimes barking and growling back at the lads. The dogs never gave much chase, content to see me ride out of their territory into the distance. And when I reached the pavement in Lornie Road, my heart would be pounding from the surprise of the sprint. Revived, I’d continue home alert for the night ride on the roads ahead.

In subsequent years I’d save a little fore for a push at the crest an the dogs never got near. But every now and then I’d forget. It is enough to give me a tingly feeling when I toiling up that slope – not from any supernatural worries like most people have but instead the tingle of anticipation.

If you have watched American Flyers, one scene has a cyclist take his brother past an ornery old farm dog who retains his shoe. Heh-heh.

The dogs were not strays but were living with the ?stone masons who lived and worked there in that little house. The family was probably forced to move out to make way for impending development and the building was torn down in recent years. Maybe my nature friends will remember. They frequent the cemetery across the road, Bukit Brown cemetery for bird and grave watching [other links].

The dogs aren’t there anymore. I hope they were taken with the family and not abandoned. If left behind, they would not have hung around without a construction site with workers who might feed them. A flattened area with overgrown vegetation is all that is left of the house now.

I think of the dogs and miss them dearly each time I cycle past Kheam Hock Road. But they have left me a with a lasting legacy of that faint tingle of anticipation which still returns, at the memory of that rare scene – a bositerous and free spirited pack of kampung dogs.


3 thoughts on “The dogs of Kheam Hock Road

  1. Nice post… I am liking your blog now… better than the NUS one. This one got a personal touch… good for reading and reflecting…

  2. Hi Oranges, according to the SPI site, “the government acquired the land in 1919 and opened it as a public burial ground which was managed by a committee led by Tan Kheam Hock and See Tiong Wah, compradore of the Hongkong Bank, on 1 Jan 1922.”

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