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Andy's Reflections



29 December 2023

Key Takeaways

This project highlighted the importance and power of leveraging diverse skill sets within a team. One key takeaway was how effectively we could accomplish our goals by utilizing each member's unique abilities. For instance, Adele and Victoria's knack for connecting with residents significantly broadened our outreach. Their approachable demeanor made the residents feel comfortable and more willing to engage with us.


Jin played a crucial role as well, using his skills to make our interviewees feel at ease. This comfort allowed them to open up, sharing personal experiences and stories that enriched our project. Meanwhile, Jiayee's expertise in editing and translation was indispensable. She meticulously sorted and stitched together hundreds of our footage, weaving them into a cohesive and beautiful narrative.


Beyond the technical and interpersonal skills, this project offered a rare opportunity to delve into the lives of Ubin's residents. It was an enlightening experience to listen and learn from those who have spent significant portions of their lives on the island. Their stories and experiences provided us with a unique perspective, adding depth to our understanding of the community.


Additionally, being a part of Project Ubin Kakis was an immensely rewarding experience. It not only demonstrated the value of teamwork and skill-sharing but also allowed us to gain a deeper appreciation of the island's residents and their way of life.


The project has also brought into focus the imminent risk of the disappearance of Ubin's unique way of life. The aging population of the island's residents, coupled with the murky political dynamics surrounding land reclamation, paints a concerning picture. The rich tapestry of stories, cultures, and traditions of Ubin seems to be on the brink of vanishing alongside its current inhabitants. Additionally, the subtle but persistent conflict between the residents and city officials has led to numerous challenges. These range from the insecurity surrounding monthly property leases to the difficulties in protecting crops and pets from wild boars, a problem exacerbated by regulations against harming these animals. This situation has laid bare the complex and often tense relationship between the traditional ways of the island and the encroaching pressures of urban development.


Beyond these struggles, our project also illuminated the other, more positive aspects of life on Ubin. The residents' simple yet rich lifestyle, steeped in community spirit and traditional practices, was truly remarkable. My understanding of cultural heritage, though still evolving, has been deeply influenced by this experience. I perceive it as twofold: firstly, it's about the people and the culture they've nurtured, characterized by a supportive, "kampung" spirit. Secondly, it's about their traditions, such as the Tua Pek Kong festival. This event not only draws a large crowd from various places but also highlights the resourcefulness and cooperation among the residents. It's a testament to their ability to maintain and celebrate their long-standing beliefs and stories. Such traditions offer a window into the rich cultural heritage of the island, encapsulating both the tangible and intangible aspects that make Ubin unique.

Special memory

One of the most memorable experiences during our project was an interaction with Uncle Satay. In the midst of our interview with him, he extended an invitation to his residence, offering us an authentic glimpse into life on Ubin. This visit opened our eyes to the stark differences between island living and our daily life on the mainland. We saw firsthand the islanders' use of generators, fishing gears, living space, and their sleeping arrangements. What struck me most was not just the self-sufficiency of their lifestyle but also the tranquility, independence, and quietude that it offered.


This encounter was particularly fascinating because it contrasted with the more polished and familiar shophouses in Ubin's more frequented town areas. It's not every day that one gets to see the unvarnished reality of the residents' daily lives. While there were many impactful experiences during our project, this particular memory with Uncle Satay and the insight it provided into the simple, yet profound way of life on Ubin, stands out prominently in my mind.

Fav video and ig post

Favorite Video - Tua Pek Kong Festival with Aunty Dorean. My favorite video from the project is the one covering the Tua Pek Kong Festival featuring Aunty Dorean. The quality of the video itself isn't what makes it my favorite, but rather the entire process of creating it. This experience was incredibly enlightening, as we learned about the festival's motivations and ideals. Aunty Dorean's inclusive mindset, welcoming individuals from all walks of life and religions, as long as they approached with openness and a willingness to learn about the culture and traditions, was particularly inspiring. We spent an entire day on the island, from early morning till night, assisting with the event and witnessing the impressive flow of people throughout.

Favorite Instagram Post - Rangoli Design during Diwali

My favorite post is the one showcasing participants engaged in rangoli design during the Diwali event. The creativity and intricacy of the designs were truly impressive. What stood out to me was the participants' immersion in the activity. Their dedication and enthusiasm were evident, as they frequently approached us for specific colors of rice to perfect their designs. This engagement, despite the rice lice made the experience both enjoyable and memorable.