Life on Ubin - Full Version

As part of the Pulau Ubin Cultural Mapping Project, the National Heritage Board has produced a 25-minute documentary titled “Life on Ubin”, which presents the memories and experiences of current and former residents of Pulau Ubin.

“Rustic”, “Nature”, “in danger”; these are popular words people use to describe Pulau Ubin, an island off Singapore that appears to be in decline. The NHB commissioned a Cultural Mapping Project to study the island’s community and social network. The year-long project, which started in April 2015, documents the well-loved island’s living heritage through oral history accounts and lifestyles of its residents and former residents. The project took place from April 2015 to April 2016 and it tells us that Ubin is anything but in danger of being in decline.

The findings from the Cultural Mapping Project challenges this and informs us that Pulau Ubin’s kampong-centred social network is a thriving one, and has evolved to extend beyond residents living on the island, to non-residents and regular visitors. The kampung lifestyle endures on Pulau Ubin and the island’s unique cultural events like the week-long Tua Pek Kong festival continues to strengthen local bonds of friendship. The festival, which features spirit medium processions, rituals, opera, getai performances and lion dances, also attracts thousands of visitors to the island offering a platform for the renewal and expansion of the social network that spans from Ubin to Singapore Island. Visitors to Pulau Ubin are drawn into the network by their diverse connections with the island, whether through work, family-run businesses, informal apprenticeships, religious activities, or fitness and leisure. The constant flow of non-residents to the island, and their induction into the existing network, reflects an evolving kampong community.

Learn more about Pulau Ubin.

Published by
Heritage Research & Assessment, National Heritage Board
Published Year
2016