Johor Baru – Malaysian handyman, Tan Ching Swee proved that creativity knows no bounds as he turned a former neighbourhood dumpsite into a playground that has captured the amusement and attention of locals and tourists alike.
Local residents in the Jalan Syed Abdullah neighbourhood supported his vision and donated their old toys, scrap wood, and other materials for the playground.
Old tires and plastic water drums were used to make hanging bumper cars. Plastic toy cars that were once some child’s favourite birthday present are now a functional merry-go-round for other children to enjoy. The park also has its own rope zipline, jungle gym, and the playground staples such as swings, slides, and see-saws. There is also a small stage where people can set up activities or performances.
Mr Tan was bothered by how children today have become hooked to their phones, were always playing videogames or watching TV.
He wondered if the lack of a safe, public space for children to hang around in the neighbourhood contributed to this behaviour. Thus, he set out to construct what is now known as Johor’s DIY Playground.
Mr Tan said that the park is not only popular as an after school hangout for children but also for retirees and families to spend special occasions and holidays. He and his wife run a small food and convenience stall in the park and have set up a small donation box for the park’s upkeep expenses.
Running and maintaining the park has become a community effort. In this age where people socialize through screens, it is refreshing to have a local public space that fosters community cooperation.