Ubin kakis team walking on the jetty towards Pulau Ubin.
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Hello, We are Ubin Kakis!



18 April 2023

It’s been about 4 months since our first team visit, and time really flies by so quickly! My time on this CSP so far has been fruitful—it’s filled with nothing but ever-increasing curiosity, joy and gratitude.


From our first time meeting the residents to help with CNY decorations and spring cleaning… A team picture we took with Auntie after helping to put up some CNY decorations at her provision shop back in January

A team picture we took with Auntie after helping to put up some CNY decorations at her provision shop back in January

…to going on a hike at Puaka Hill and exploring the beautiful places at Pulau Ubin, I believe the whole team has discovered a lot more about Ubin and can’t wait to learn more as we come back from our examination break this April. The team looking over the horizon at Puaka hill

The team enjoying the spectacular view at Puaka Hill

About 7 months ago, I remember being quite afraid of how the residents would respond to our community service project, led by students who have a deep interest in the cultural heritage of their island home, but are still learning how to engage in truly impactful conservation and documentation efforts that would be of help to the residents. Drawing of Ubin Kakis concept. Coconut tree, smiley face and an old wooden house.

A little random doodle I found in my notes while planning the project haha. I guess it illustrates the kind of excitement I felt as much as I was afraid of what the future might hold

I continued to pick up the pace on my learnings about Pulau Ubin through books and documentaries, but at the end of the day, nothing can really compare to a face-to-face interaction with the residents themselves—speaking with them and spending time with them made me realise that there is actually nothing much to worry about! They are always so willing to share their experiences and stories on the island, and this is something I will always be grateful for as it spurs me on to help them in all possible ways that I can.


Last month, we also had the opportunity to join a descendant, Syazwan, at his monthly Project Gotong Royong. It was such an insightful experience as he shared so much about his family’s experiences growing up on Ubin, kampong architecture and even how we can recognise different types of trees like durian trees (which was very cool!). Personally, that was a really memorable day as I reflected a lot more on how I can trace my own family lineage and learn more about the history of Singapore from the perspective of my grandparents. Tracing family roots and documenting these stories aren’t easy, and I really respect Syazwan for that! 4 of the team members with Syazwan pulling weed from an old house on Pulau Ubin

4 of us had such an enjoyable and insightful experience

Indeed, time is of the essence for Ubin and the residents themselves. Many of the already few residents have moved to the mainland as they’re getting on in age and were encouraged by their children to be near accessible health facilities, but Ubin still remains so close to their hearts. Once again, I’m reminded that documentation and conversations are so important, otherwise we may really lose their precious relationships, stories and experiences, and these may be reduced to a mere faded memory in Singapore’s history. View of Pulau Ubin Jetty in the sunny afternoon. A boat is docked to its left side.

The very first of many unique views that will welcome you to Pulau Ubin!

I hope, then, that this project can do something to elevate public awareness and interest in Pulau Ubin. May this project convey our hopes for Pulau Ubin to continue to be a cherished island home with thriving communities, and to be greatly appreciated by generations of Singaporeans for years to come. I can’t wait to meet the residents again and I’m sure the whole team feels the same way—having genuine conversations with the community there always warms our hearts. I am excited to see what we can do in the coming months and at the end of our one-year run, it’ll definitely be heartwarming to look back on what the Ubin Kakis have documented in this little journal we’ve created. Till then!