Tag Archives: Pulau Ubin

Singapore Heritage Festival 2016

The Singapore Heritage Festival 2016 was recently concluded on 15th May 2016, over a three weeks period starting on 29th April 2016. The heritage festival 2016 was packed with events, exhibitions, workshops, performances, guided tours, talks etc. I wasn’t able to attend all of them and I was only able to visit the weekend highlights on 29th April and 30th April – A Taste of Heritage at the National Museum of Singapore, on 14th May 2016, Movies Under the Ubin Stars and Music Performances @ Ubin.


For the two Singapore Heritage Festival events that I attended, they attracted quite a big group of visitors to the event. The Taste of Heritage was really great, bringing back the food stalls that once plied their food and trade outside the National Museum of Singapore. Their popularity can be seen from the steady lines of queue for the various food stalls. Visitors at the National Museum of Singapore were treated to traditional dance performances under the stars, with strings of colourful light bulbs providing the glamorous fun night out. I would really love to buy some of those food from the stalls during A Taste of Heritage, sit on the wooden stools/benches and enjoy a night out under the city star lights. However, it was too popular and quite packed for me to buy the food and a seat under the Singapore night sky. Nevertheless, it was a great nostalgic atmosphere that I really enjoyed.


During Singapore Heritage Festival 2016, P. Ubin played a significant role, with the island involved to be part of the Singapore Heritage festivities during 14th and 15th May 2016. During that weekend, it was an awesome opportunity for those who don’t know much about P. Ubin to visit the little island off the north-east area of Singapore and learn from the various activities and events organised for Singapore Heritage Festival 2016.


The highlight for me was Movies Under the Ubin Stars and Music Performances @ Ubin on 14th May 2016. I went over in the late afternoon, catching the music performances @ Ubin by a few young upcoming and also some established musicians too. During the intervals, I walked around the main village area, this area seemed to have stopped in time, most of them were pretty much still in their original design and decoration. I first visited P.Ubin in 1990 during my secondary school days, while some other parts of P.Ubin had changed (quite a lot for some parts of Ubin), the main village still remains iconic and nostalgic.


As dusk approaches, the wayang stage and the open area there came to life with visitors and the Ubin residents gathering there like the good old days watching an opera performance, except that we were watching a movie by Royston Tan, tittled “Homecoming”, a new film about Pulau Ubin by Royston Tan (world premiere). This new film is commissioned by the National Museum of Singapore for Singapore Heritage Festival 2016.


The settings were perfect, the venue was perfect to show the “Homecoming” movie, truly and authentic, Movies Under the Ubin Stars! The P. Ubin weather was just nice in the night, cooling, refreshing after the late afternoon rain. The visitors and Ubin residents were eagerly anticipating for the start of “Homecoming”, it meant something deep down, deep inside their hearts, it meant something special to the Ubin residents and it definitely struck a deep chord inside me. “Homecoming” connects the residents to their Ubin roots and Singaporeans to the history and heritage of P.Ubin and how P.Ubin played a part in Singapore’s early nation building years. When I was watching the movie from the back of the crowds, my friend Belinda introduced me to Royston Tan! I am a big fan of his works and it was a great honour to meet him in person!


When the movie “Homecoming” was being screened, we can hear the crowds shouting out their fellow Ubin residents’ names when their acting part came into play, acknowledging the community spirit and bonding on P.Ubin. Do we still have this community spirit and bonding in the modern Singapore society today? Would we able to bring this “Homecoming” back into our modern Singapore society?

As the movie drew to a close, the lights came up again, with a huge, loud and warm round of applause filled the Ubin village ground. This was really heartwarming! The cast and crew of “Homecoming” went up to the wayang stage, it’s like a meet the fans segment! The photography moments, taking group photos, celebrating the history and heritage of Pulau Ubin.

Leaving on the bumboat ride out of P.Ubin, on the night of 14th May 2016, this had been a great and wonderful Singapore Heritage Festival 2016, this was Homecoming to me.

Created with flickr slideshow.

“Experience OBS” Open House 2016

Outward Bound Singapore (OBS) organised an open house recently, with “Experience OBS”, giving parents and their young children, a day out outdoors experiential experience at OBS, participating in the different outdoor activities managed by OBS. I went along and visit OBS together with them for the morning session, understanding and knowing more about OBS facilities and activities.

A few months ago, I started to know more about OBS and the various activities they conduct. Firstly, it was the SGFuture Visit to Coney Island with a group of young students, to learn, share and discuss about nature, environment, conservation, wildlife protection. Thereafter, I joined in one of their March school holidays activity, the OBS Nature Appreciation Programme – Ubin Trail. Both activities were fun and engaging, it was great to see the younger generation engaged in outdoor recreational activities, whereby they can learn many skills and gain invaluable experiences that would help them in their personal development into young adults.



During the visit to OBS for their Experience OBS Open House, I finally got to visit OBS facilities and take a look at their different facilities, challenge courses and ropes courses. Let me share my experiences (from the sidelines) and photographs that I took during their Open House! There were rock climbing, tripod challenge ropes courses and kayaking.

Tripod Challenge Ropes Courses

This is a custom built tripod climbing element with varying types and level of difficulties at the ground, mid level and top level segments. We observed a group of parents and their children participating in the mid level sgement. They were given a safety briefing by the OBS instructors before putting on their safety harness. Once they were ready, they climbed up to the mid level of the tripod challenge, stepping out of their comfort zone, overcoming their fears and limitations, by crossing from one point to the other, marking an achievement. The participants put their trust and faith in the safety team below them, that do the belaying, encouraging the participants, watching over their safety, were alumni of OBS, coming back to pay it forward and help out in OBS activities.




When the OBS instructors mentioned about triyak, I was totally lost. Having learn to paddle many years ago in a single and double canoe, the word triyak, initially is a mystery to me. The truth came to light when I went to the beach near the jetty, saw it with my own eyes and I realised that a triyak is an open deck three seater kayak!



Kayaking is a very fun activity, it teaches teamwork, cooperation and trust in your fellow kayakers. The triyak is also good for the family with young children to come together onto a triyak, have a good family bonding time together in the sea. The triyak would be ideal for different participants to interact with each other, establish new friendships and camaraderie on a triyak.

In the afternoon session, there were more activities organised, however due to time constraints on my part, I did not stay back for the afternoon session activities.

With the new OBS campus on Coney Island, MCCY will develop OBS @ Coney by 2020. This will expand OBS’ existing premises and expand OBS’ capacity to provide additional spaces for training opportunities for up to 45,000 youths every year. Getting all secondary three students to attend OBS is an excellent idea in my personal humble opinion.

The current generation of young children, their lifestyle, interests and mindsets are very different from my generation, our parents generation. More children are into computer games, smartphones, tablets and gadgets, they are not into the outdoors, sometimes missing life skills such as interaction and building relationships with people. Sending all secondary three students to attend OBS, they can learn many things, new skills, knowledge, build up their confidence, love for outdoors and environment, teamwork, interaction, making new friends, bonding, active and healthy living.

At the end of Experience OBS, I got to know more about OBS facilities, and the outdoor activities that they organise. The OBS Open House is a good idea and a great family outing event for parents to visit with their children and the opportunities to try it out and experience it for themselves!


Created with flickr slideshow.

OBS Nature Appreciation Programme – Ubin Trail

The March one week school holiday break is a good time for the children, teenagers to have a good break and rest from their studies. This school holiday break is ideal for outdoors activities for the young adults, teenagers, young children and their families too. During the March 2016 holiday break, Outward Bound Singapore (OBS) organised a number of nature appreciation programme from 14th to 18th March 2016, there were all interesting and I managed to set aside time to join one of their nature appreciation programme, the Ubin Trail. The Ubin trail is a short, interesting, interactive and experiential nature walk, covering aspects of Ubin’s history, geography and ecology. The Ubin trail is very experiential in nature, with participants learning through sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch.

We boarded the boat service from Punggol End jetty to OBS, it was a short ferry ride across the sea from mainland Singapore. Upon reaching OBS, I took a good look at the OBS facilities because this was my first time to OBS! Thereafter, we went into one of the training rooms for a short introduction and briefing on the Ubin Trail programme. At the training room, I was surprised to see a friend, Hang Chong, it was good to see him again! During our chat, I got to know that he would be one of the two instructors for the Ubin Trail. Immediately, I knew that the participants will be in good hands because Hang Chong is very experienced and knowledgable in nature and conservation. The other instructor is Mr Wong, very knowledgable and experienced in nature and conservation too!


After the introduction and briefing, the participants were split into two equal size groups. Since I knew Hang Chong personally, I decided to follow his group, consisting of a mix of teenagers, young children and their parents. The Ubin Trail was indeed experiential, the group had a number of hands on learning, through looking, hearing, smelling and touching the natural surroundings. Hang Chong was really awesome with the young children, they were attentive, participating and asking Hang Chong many questions on nature and conservation. From learning about the mangrove swamp, its importance and significance to finding rubber trees, tapping the rubber trees to see the sap flowing out from the tree bark, spotting spiders, civet cat poo and wild mushrooms, listening to the birds chirping inside the forest area. It was indeed an experiential nature experience for the group of teenagers, young children and their parents.



Around 2 hours of experiential Ubin Trail, the group headed back to OBS grounds, into the training room for a short debrief session. This was the time for a rest and tea break, to mingle and chat with friends. Being an outdoors person myself, it felt good to be back in the outdoors, enjoying the peace and tranquility of the nature and outdoors.



The Ubin Trail, is just one of the Nature Appreciation programmes organised by OBS for the school holidays. For parents with young children and teenagers, the Nature Appreciation programmes for the school holidays are definitely something to look out for, join in, participate and enjoy outdoors/nature activities! Keep a lookout for OBS events and programmes on their website! Here are some of the photographs that I took during Ubin Trail, go check them out on my Flickr photography collection!


I would like to thank OBS and NYC for inviting me along for the Ubin Trail programme, it was great, fun and enjoyable to be back in the outdoors, along with a mix group of teenagers, young children and their parents!

Created with flickr slideshow.

Combined Scout Groups Pulau Ubin Hike on 22nd Aug 2009

It had been quite some time since I went hiking, a few days ago, Dave Koh called me and asked if I would be keen to join in with his 23  Eagles Scout Group combined hike at Pulau Ubin on Saturday 22nd August, along with Henry Park Primary School cub scouts and help to capture scouting moments. After checking my schedule, I was able to join Dave Koh for this combined scout group hike !

The schools involved in the hike were

(1) Bukit Merah Secondary School

(2) New Town Secondary School

(3) NUS High School

(4) Henry Park Primary School


I woke up early in the morning, around 0600 hrs, washed up and made my way to Bukit Merah Secondary to meet Dave and a group of scouts around 0715hrs, took the bus and joined up with the rest of the other schools at Changi Village Ferry Terminal to catch the bumboat across to Pulau Ubin. For my readers who haven’t heard of Pulau Ubin before, Pulau Ubin is an island situated off the Northeastern coast of Singapore, a laid back area, like Singapore in the 1960s, more information can be obtained from National Parks website and Wild Singapore website and it’s quite a popular destination with tourists and locals too !


Once the entire contingent were across, they would began their hike before stopping for outdoor cooking lunch at Kampung Noordin, the Henry Park Cub Scouts were split into their patrols, led by Ventures of 23 Eagles Scout Group attached to each patrol and strongly supported by volunteer adult leaders from Henry Park Primary School. The fun began and we hiked from the Southern area to the Northern area of Pulau Ubin. Along the way, there were checkpoints for the patrols and fun activities, along with history and science lessons from their adult volunteer leaders especially on the old wooden houses and wild fruit trees.


At Kampung Noordin, the contingent rest and relax, preparing to try out outdoor cooking, with their mess tins, solid fuel, instant noodles and can of hot dogs. Looking at them, the young primary school children, trying out their hands on outdoor cooking, it brought back a lot of wonderful memories when I was a young Boy Scout in Dragon Scout Group, learning how to do Outdoor Cooking ! The feelings were great, happy and it was always a family feeling whenever I am back and involved in Scouting, especially with my alumni mata, Gan Eng Seng Dragon Scout Group, and being involved today with other fellow Scout Groups and friends, we belonged to a worldwide movement – A Brotherhood of Scouting around the world. More photos of today’s combined hike can be found in my Flickr !


Soon, it was time to call it a day and returned back to mainland Singapore. Weather was great except it was quite hot and arms were slightly burned. On the bumboat mainland bound, stood on the back and watching Pulau Ubin behind us, the waves and ripples of the sea.


Happy Scouting folks !