District is a reboot of ‘The street’ and it will begin in December 2021.
I’ve created a nice world where crime and the underworld thrives, it’s a waste if i throw is away.
I decided to do away with the zombie outbreak theme and focus purely on crime and violence.
Expect drama, thriller, murder and scenes of extreme violence & sexual encounters.
It’s a whole new story with new characters, the world of District will be as big, if not bigger than Magic.
District will be available for all subscribers.
District has 10 episodes planned for season 1
Episode 1 is free to read, the subsequent ones are for subscribers only.
Many might not know about this, but Singapore once had a railway track cutting down the centre of the island. Coming in from Malaysia, it sliced through the heart of the island, taking you through Woodlands, Bukit Panjang, Bukit Timah, all the way down to the southern ridge before ending at Tanjong Pagar.
From the old train station at Tanjong Pagar, you could hop on one of those slow moving trains all the way up to Thailand if taking a plane was not your cup of tea.
That was all in the past.
Now the former rail corridor was being slowly transformed into a nature walk with connections to major park connectors. On some stretches of the former railway, you could still see the old tracks retained as a reminder of what the land used to serve as before.
The former Bukit Timah railway station was to be conserved and transformed into a heritage site.
The land that the railway sat on belonged to Malaysia. A landmark land swap deal was done back in early 2010 followed by an impasse of 20 years. It took 2 generations of leaders between the 2 countries to conclude the deal over a couple of decades due to the complexity and delicate nature of the swap.
Three plots of former railway land at Kranji, Keppel and Woodlands, together with three more plots at Bukit Timah would be swapped for prime land at Marina South and along the Beach Road district.
A joint venture company would be formed between the 2 countries to manage the new land. Everyone wanted a win-win outcome.
While all the attention was focused on this landmark deal of the century, no one paid attention of another plot of land located at the north of the island.
A plot of land that still belonged to Malaysia.
This plot of land sat on the north western point of the island at Lim Chu Kang. Lim Chu Kang was an area that everyone associated with 2 things. Cemeteries and Poultry farms. The air smelled like chicken shit and depending on your religion, hantus, spirits, vampires would probably hitch a ride in your car if you drove over there. There was nothing there. Aside from a few sleepy farms tucked near the cemetery, there were practically no signs of life at that part of the island.
Depending on how you looked at it, the planners either deliberately left that area out of the masterplan in land scarce Singapore or they forgot all about it.
My bet was that they didn’t know what to do with it.
Malaysia still owned a large piece of land at the tip of the Lim Chu Kang facing the Johor Straits. The narrow strip of water separating the 2 country was less than 2km apart at the narrowest section.
The piece of land was by no means small.
The largest shopping mall in Singapore is Vivocity. That plot of land was about the same size as the one the megamall sat on.
Surrounded by a barb wire fence, it had nothing in it aside from an abandoned 5 storey factory that took up one side of the narrow road leading into the site. It was connected directly to the water where there was a makeshift dock that looked like it belonged in the 60s and it was the site where many illegal entries into the country were made.
After it became clear that the land swap deal did not cover that particular plot of land, opportunistic criminals started arriving by boat into the country.
Why didn’t we do something?
Well, within that barb wire fence it was technically not Singapore. Whatever happened within that fence was not our problem.
As more people arrived from across the water, the authorities tried engaging our neighbours from across the causeway. However, just when we thought it could be resolved, a change in administration across the water threw a spanner into the works.
Malaysia managed to set up a border gate for ferrying to and from the no man’s land. It was meant to control who went in and out with the aim of bringing all their people back but it failed terribly.
Rampant bribes and corruption meant that the criminals now not only had a proper established channel to enter and leave, they could also avoid the harassment from our coastguard.
The plot of land grew in population quickly.
Initially the police were called in. It was a mistake. They tried going in but were surprised and caught off guard by the amount of firepower the criminals packed. You see, the men in that place had nowhere else to go, they had nothing more to lose. They had their backs to the water and every decision they made pointed to certain doom. So why would they not fight?
Fight and you at least would stand a chance.
After a few decades of peace where the worst the police needed to deal with was a riot at Little India, they were not prepared for the ferocity of the criminals inside that place. 6 police officers died that day. No one knew for sure how many lawless criminals died in there.
It was madness. The criminals had military grade weapons at their disposal. Just when the country was expecting an all-out war, calmer heads prevailed and an uneasy truce was reached.
No one knew who brokered the truce.
No one knew who made the talks but the word was passed down on both sides.
Leave them alone.
Leave them alone and they would leave us alone.
Out of nowhere, the place gained a name.
We called it, The District.
Singapore classified its own districts from numbers 1 to 28 based on locations and town. The newest district was not located on maps or recognised, but the joke on the streets was that it was numbered 29.
The authorities however, not wanting to taint the naming of their sacred towns, decided to just term it ‘District‘.
The establishment of a new cowboy town where anything goes was not to be taken lightly. The military were called in to box off the site in the beginning. Aside from delivery trucks sending humanitarian supplies, no other vehicles were allowed inside.
Gunshots could be heard on a daily basis as the District grew vertically. It was absurd. No one thought it was possible to live in there. Not with the chaos that went on every day.
Brick by brick, the District grew. Like cancerous lumps growing out from the old abandoned factory, the crime haven expanded until it took up almost every square inch of the site.
Today it stood 8 storeys tall, a structure that looked like a living organism. There was no need for engineers or architects in the District, no need for planning approvals either. The occupants just built wherever they could. The building grew like it had a life of its own. From bamboo scaffoldings to a zinc roof one day, then it would be replaced by brick walls and concrete slabs the next.
The form and shape of the dwellings on the exterior membrane kept changing and evolving until it finally found the piece that fit. Then it stopped changing. Before long, something new would cover it, forming another layer of mysterious space that covered the previous layer.
Wherever there was space, the District would grow.
It grew upwards and right to the edge of the boundary. Some of the brick walls were practically plastered against the fence which defined the boundary.
Within that plot of land was an entire independent ecosystem of crime and shadow banking. And it came with its own pecking order. Order dictated not by law, but by who was in charge. Boss, gang, mafia or whatever you wanted to call it. There was someone in charge inside there.
There was only 1 road wide enough for 2 vehicles to travel abreast. There was no place for you to turn. On days where there were no vehicles going in, vendors and hawkers lined the road with their wares, selling everything from drugs to pornographic videos of leaked influencers.
Driving in, you were essentially boxed in tight on both sides. A tactical nightmare even if you were driving an armoured tank. Anyone could throw a Molotov cocktail from above or send an armour piercing round into your vehicle.
One way in and you needed to reverse out.
The District used to draw electricity and water from our grid. We cut them off in an attempt to shut the place down but it was no use. Solar panels came up, batteries and generators were shipped across from Malaysia. They eventually found a way.
On humanitarian grounds, a commercial entity was set up by the Red Cross to purchase water from the country and then sending it inside the crime haven. Even criminals needed water.
With the basic needs of power and water taken care of, the rest had a way of taking care of itself.
There were contractors from Malaysia willing to take the risk of crossing the border illegally to make a fast buck in that place and of course, there are the ones on our side willing to enter for some extra cash too.
From building materials to even light bulbs, they were all brought across from Malaysia. Anything that they could not source in Singapore from eager day traders, they got it from Malaysia.
A lot of criminals and people with nowhere else to go were driven down to the District.
It was the only place they could go. The only place where they stood a chance of survival. Beyond the shores of Malaysia, there was nothing their police could do. On land in Singapore, our police would not venture into that site.
Soon the District was joined by criminal organisations and people running from the law on our side as well.
While the initial embargo had the military fencing up the whole site with plenty of men monitoring the fence, over the years we began reducing the amount of resources dedicated to it.
The District was not without its advantages. You see, the chaos stayed inside the District, it stayed within the fence. All the shit that went on in there. It stayed in there.
It never got out. It was like an unspoken rule abided by all.
It didn’t matter if you were a drug dealer on death row or a serial rapist or a murderer, as long as it happened within the District, it stayed in the District.
10 years in, aside from a handful of bored men guarding the entrance of the only vehicular road leading into the District, the country chose to forget about it.
It was a stain we could not afford to have. A stain we would rather keep hidden.
It didn’t matter that the fences had holes in them, it didn’t matter that some of the District’s occupants ventured out of the area to visit a supermarket. As long as they could get back before they were caught with their feet on Singapore soil, they were still free to do what they wanted. It was a never ending cat and mouse game trying to catch those illegal immigrants.
Another reason why the government was willing to turn a blind eye was because upon the establishment of the District and its underworld pecking order, the crime rate had dropped by 60% in the country.
Unbelievable but true.
We were already one of the safest places in the world and now you took another 60% off our crime rate. What politician didn’t want that?
You could deal your drugs in the district.
You could rape, pillage and kill in the district.
You could rob, murder, smash someone’s head in, it stayed in the District.
Those things did not happen in Singapore. Those were not part of the official statistics. It happened officially in land owned by Malaysia. It was not our problem.
What about spill over?
Won’t the criminals venture out of the District?
Wasn’t the neighbourhood dangerous with the District in such close proximity?
On the contrary, no.
You see, the District was the last bastion of freedom for those people who had nothing left to lose. If they got out and were arrested by our ever-efficient police, they were done. There was no way they would risk breaking the law outside the fence. Those that managed to evade initial capture and fled to the safety of the District, they stayed in there, never to emerge again.
What about the regular Joe, law abiding citizens like you and me? Could we go into the District?
You just needed to know the right people. You needed to know which entrance to take, which zones to visit and where to avoid. There were unspoken rules about which zones you were allowed to go to.
Like in a shopping mall or a commercial tower. You were free to visit the food court, the retail shops and the entertainment outlets. But the places where the more serious business was conducted, those were out of bounds and anyone who dared to venture in found out the hard way.
The District had something all the men wanted.
Women; Chinese, Thais, Singaporeans, all nationalities. Some as young as 16. They were all available. Nothing younger than 16 mind you. There were lines that even the scum of the earth didn’t cross. Those that crossed it would never live to speak of it again.
You want a virgin smuggled from across the causeway?
You want a wife kidnapped on her wedding night in Malaysia?
You want the sweet salesgirl you saw at City Square Mall?
Bring the cash and the District would get it done.
What about in Singapore?
Could they get you anyone you wanted in Singapore? How about the hot actress you saw on TV? Could they grab her from her home?
I’m afraid that might be a bit harder to accomplish.
Beyond the District, the established system Singapore had set up ensured that the chaos stayed in there. Keep your shit within the fence and on land that does not belong to us and you were ok.
However, if you managed to get whoever you wanted in there, it would be a different story altogether.
You want to keep an 18 year old in a cage while you pee on her, just pay.
You want to have a threesome with twins? Done.
You want to hire a hitman to kill a friend of yours while the 2 of you are in there? Done.
How about getting some men to rape your wife or cheating girlfriend? They could make her disappear too while they were at it.
Mistress blackmailing you? Well, you know where to bring her.
As long as the price is right, anything goes within the District. The challenge was getting your target in there.
How about a shooting range? Yeap.
What about exotic meat? Dog, monkey, crocodile, even giraffe and horse meat were available.
What about medical facilities? Where would you go if you fell sick?
Oh please, you could even have a sex change operation in there, not to mention getting a few paracetamols for your headache. There was a fully equipped private clinic for plastic surgery in there as well and getting the aesthetics right was not exactly high on their priority list.
People in the District changed their faces and looks for other reasons.
The District might be a haven for some but it was hell for others. It all depended on your place in the pecking order. It was organised chaos and the icing on top of the cake was that there was money to be made.
Lots of money to be made.
Money is the root of all evil.
The District, left to its own demise, would eventually turn into something else. Which was why it could not be left on its own. The country needed eyes and ears on the inside but every spy we sent in the past 4 years had all disappeared. Never to be heard of again. They tripped. Something about them didn’t click. It was not the colour of their hair, the tattoos or their acting skills.
It had nothing to do with that.
The District was a brutal place and only the brutal would survive.
Meng sat quietly in the vehicle as he composed his thoughts. The last time he saw his friend Ruixiang was 2 years ago. They had graduated from the academy together. Ruixiang had volunteered to go into the District after the last spy lost contact.
A steady stream of intel flowed smoothly for the first couple of months before it stopped altogether. The intelligence pulled back the shroud on the mysterious city, telling the authorities the layers and structures within that walled fortress. From who was at the top of the pecking order, to the daily mundane activities the residents got up to.
One moment Ruixiang seemed to have it all worked out and set up. Communications were smooth and a supply route was established by day visitors. Then the next moment, he was gone. Just like that.
For 2 years since, there had been no credible intel on what the District had become.
It was going to be up to Meng now.
Ruixiang was a tough guy but he was also one of the nicest chaps that Meng knew. The District was not a place for good and nice guys. The District was a place for bastards and those who would do anything to survive.
Meng took another sip of the water and looked at the 3 men sitting in front of him. Aside from those 3 men, no one else would know about his identity and his role.
Tung, the chief of police handed a piece of paper to Meng.
“Memorise it and give it back to me.” He said. “It’s the number for your contact inside the District.”
“He trusthworthy?” Meng asked.
“It’s what we could find, you have to be the judge of that, his wife is on death row for drug charges, I agree to let her go if he helps us. Has been on our payroll for years. Always delivered.”
Meng looked at the name and number and committed the information to memory.
Arif, head of the coast guard patrolling the waters in between Singapore and Malaysia, briefed Meng about the establishment of a new breach point from the water’s edge.
“The docks are controlled by the triads, I need you to find a possible landing spot if we need to launch a full assault. The roads in are a no go and we cannot fly in there. Coming from the docks are our best shot.”
“I’ll see what I can do.” Meng said as looked at the digital display of the docks taken off the satellite feed.
The last man sitting quietly by the side was Meng’s handler, who also happened to be Ruixiang’s brother, Charles.
Charles reminded Meng that he would be going in naked. Not without clothes, it meant he would be going into the District without support, money, or weapons.
“Everything you can bring will be what you can grab off the police vehicle you are in after it crashes. Do it fast.”
He was known as the mad dog of the police force but only a handful could put a face to that nickname. And most of them were in the vehicle with him. Not everyone knew who the mad dog was because Meng was always masked, but they knew there was one in the police force.
A mad dog that hunted down its prey using whatever means necessary.
A brutal, violent man who if not serving the force, would most likely be in jail.
When Meng stepped out of that vehicle, he would no longer be their colleague. He would no longer be the man that trained teams of the finest officers the home team ever knew. The moment he put his foot out of that vehicle, he would be hunted like a criminal.
His old identity had been scrubbed clean. If anyone looked into the database, all they would see was a hardened criminal with a rap sheet a few pages long. From assault, to arson, to attempted murder and rioting, Meng had done it all.
Those however were not enough.
He needed a better entrance or rather, a better introduction. The residents of the District needed to know that there was someone new in town. Someone brutal, someone with nothing to lose. Someone of his skillset would be welcomed in the ever expanding organisations in the district. The attrition rate among men was high in there.
The planned introduction would be a spectacular one. Meng would be crashing a police vehicle into the very walls of the district. Not only that, he would be murdering the officers in the car right in front of everyone.
Would be his introduction.
Sheer madness and chaos.
It would offer the residents of the District a glimpse of what was about to befall their crime haven.
*As story progress, more detailed maps of individual zones & connections will be released accordingly.*
Episode 3 & 4 updated – 3/12/21
Episode 5 updated – 10/12/21
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