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."


  1. hello, may i know how can i get to Pulau Ubin?

  2. 我觉得今年的国庆短片拍得很好,主题也就是甘榜精神,是不是因为他们意识到现在的社会已经离这样的精神很远很远了?如果是这么一个短片可以起多大的作用?我们也不知道。


  3. To艾佳,
    You can board from Changi Point Ferry Terminal

    There are 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

    Hope you enjoy the trip!

    To Juju,