Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Ubin Adventure Part 2-Mak Itam House


Share with you a little story behind this picture. I remember when I was little, while I was on my weekly journey to my grandfather’s farm, I always pass this same kampong house. A routine scene that kept me company for almost 10 years. In primary school, “Kampung House” was always my choice subject during drawing classes (I was too little to comprehend why I chose this at every opportunity). According to elders, childhood memories burn deep into our subconscious minds, evolving our adult behavior traits thereafter.

Due to a small (lucky) “accident”, I had to stop right in front of this Kampong House and ask for help. The Owner, Mak Itam, who just returned home, welcomed us with her open arms. Mak Itam’s house looked 99% similar to my past drawings (I swear! Too bad that I do not have them with me anymore). It was so surreal to actually see one similar in front of me today.


Top, bottom (left): Mak Itam is big on nature and she has the skills to create “indoor nature” at every corner of her house. I personally like the combination of purple and orange flower tiles with the green floor matte.

Top (Left two & three): Everything inside the house remained the same. The only thing changed was that Mak Itam no longer occupied the house permanently. She returns every weekend to do house keeping and gardening. To her, she is happier to return to her Kampong House than staying in mainland. I totally agree with her.


I often lamented the modern coexistence between people, but do not know how to co-exist with nature.

Through a short conversation, both Mak Itam and I agree that modern advancements have disposed the morality importance in life. The "Kampong Spirit" era seemed to have slowly vanished.
Note: "Kampong Spirit" = neighbors living in harmony, helping each other all times and especially in times of need.

In large cities, people are often suspicious of each other. So, when Mak Itam graciously offered to allow me to visit her home, I was filled with gratitude.

Bottom (left, right): Mak Itam decorated each window with "clothes”. The flowers and trees outside the window embrace the carefree life in me.

Mak Itam and I share a lot in life. On this tiny island, she knows all her neighbors. She said: "We all take care of each other as a family, without distinction." This is so similar to life at my grandfather’s farm when I was little.

In her, I found a deep sense of togetherness and harmony that we should always strive. Even living in the city, one cannot forget the "Kampong Spirit."

Monday, May 2, 2011

Ubin Adventure Part 1

Where should I begin?
It's been almost 4 months since my last post, busy - can hardly be the excuse for not being persistent ...

I can't remember the first time I heard about Pulau Ubin. It was one of my foreign ex-colleagues who mentioned that she visited an interesting place that oozed Nature. Then, I was only interested in shopping malls rather than the natural world.
One day, my hubby suggested that we visit this island when he noticed my google-box taste switched to the National Geography from the usual Fashion TV.

Granite stone

Adventure location: Pulau Ubin, North East Singapore

Pulau Ubin/Granite Stone Island/ in hokkien Chioh Sua (stone hill) was named after the granite quarries which were abandoned years ago. Due to the modern amenities and conveniences on mainland Singapore, the most of the existing residents on this tiny island have relocated to mainland Singapore and there are only a handful of residents left on this 10.19 km² island.

▲ 6:30 Boarding from Changi Point Ferry Terminal with 2 friends

•Public bumboats daily operating hours: 5:30am-9:00pm
•S$2.50 per person for a one-way trip (maximum 12 passengers)
*for bicycles there will be a surcharge of S$2 each
*Important note: Boat will only depart when all (12) seats on one boat are taken up or you may charter the entire the boat for yourself at S$30

▲ Jetty
6:45am, it took about 15 mins to arrive at Ubin Jetty (was enjoying the warmth of the sun rise that I forgot to capture this beautiful scene!)

▲ Pondok/ Makeshift shelter
Pulau Ubin conjured a very surreal feeling of entering into a 1970's movie setting that I completely forget that I am on one of Singapore's most laid-back islands.

▲ Ubin town shop lots
I believe most of the income for Ubin residents are from the tourists and there are quite a number of restaurants, grocery shops and bicycles rental kiosks near the main Jetty.

▲ Ubin town shop lots
According to my friend, the town looked exactly the same since her last visit 5 years ago.

▲ Coconut welcome sign
Before the computer era, movie posters and advertisement ads were all painted by hand and I was pretty surprised to still see number of these hand-painted advertisements along the Ubin journey. It must have been done years ago by a painter with amazing skills.

▲ Seafood Sign
Vibrant sign with lenghty effort, I wonder how long it took to complete this advertisement board?

▲ In a small town surrounded by nature, it is hard not to pay attention at these hardworking ants who work 24/7

▲ Daisies made me smile like this ^_^

▲ No.8
Here, this is the place where you can sign up for a Kayak Adventure around Pulau Ubin Ubin Kayak

▲ Ubin Kayak
*There are a couple of activities that you can participate in Pulau Ubin, Wild Singapore has the best suggestions on what to see and do on Pulau Ubin

▲ Spoiled by choice with the selection of bicycles, the red one? pink? blue? ... *confused!*

▲ Final selection of my "bike of the day", a great deal at S$10 for both the bike and the lock

▲ 1980's kids' favorite drink - Kickapoo

▲ In 2 mins we will be reaching the "Meeting Point" in Pulau Ubin, can't wait to begin the journey!

to be continued...... look out for part 2 (soon, you have my word)