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Jin Han's Reflections

Jin Han


29 December 2023

There are very few places that invokes the feeling of nostalgia the same way as Pulau Ubin. I am reminded of the importance and fragility of community, especially in a place where the remaining population is dwindling. There were many aspects of the culture on Ubin that were unique, such as the politics at play with the different residents. The environment where they had to forage and be resourceful. Their farms had to be fenced up to prevent wild boars from enroaching and destroying their crops. Monkeys were a pest. And the inconvenience of shipping goods to the island also increases their daily expenses.

In our visits, I was intrigued by the relationship between people and nature. In many ways the residents knew the forest and the mangroves. An example would be Uncle Satay and his catching crabs. Or the malay villagers and their knowledge of building houses with nature. Much of the old houses were vernacular. It was not something you can see in mainland.

In addition to the memories that were shared by the villagers, I'm so fortunate to have made my own memories in the process of rememberance, which I can imagine passing down to the many people I'll meet, young or old. I particularly liked the Tua Pek Kong festival where the Island was bustling in festivities. The experience of being brought around by Uncle Azman on his taxi, and listening to his stories about his family fishing and then quarrying was enlightening.

Overall, the project was a wonderful and eye-opening journey. I am deeply grateful for my teammates who were enthusiastic and forthcoming in our cause.