A day on Pulau Ubin

Singapore is a small island country with over 60 smaller islands. Pulau Ubin is one of them and one of the more accessible ones.
It used to be a fishing and farming village and is now totally transformed. Some villagers took up the government offer to resettle on the main island, a few stayed behind.
The interesting history can be found here: http://ubin.mnd.gov.sg/MS/PulauUbin/About/History_Of_Pulau_Ubin.aspx
I first visited the island when I was 15 in early 1980s. I was there for a 3-day school camp and I loved it immediately. I loved the rugged terrain, the palm trees, the wildlife and the friendly villagers. We drew water from the well by dropping a bucket on the water surface, swinging hard in one direction to tip the bucket into the water and scooping it up.
It was a skill I quickly learned and got quite good at. We scooped for taking showers and for boiling to drink. It was usually icy cold and very refreshing in the hot and humid climate. After the hikes and obstacle courses we went through, it was something most of us look forward to, albeit gingerly.
The bathroom was a 4-sided zinc enclosure and one was often afraid of peeping toms. The toilet was out on the jetty where the discharge went straight into the sea! From a distance along the jetty, the discharge could be seen plonking into the water. It was a chilling experience but when one has to go, one has to go.
There were no paved roads, maybe granite bits scattered here and there. Granite was plentiful, which comes as no surprise as the island is ‘granite island’ when translated from Malay.
The clouded monitors seemed bigger back then. Perhaps only so in my memory, when I was a wee student and everything appeared bigger.
The jungle sounds are as I remember, but is almost drowned out by the weekenders, the cyclists, campers. One can only hope that the animals get five days of peace before the crowd comes on the weekends.
There were people everywhere when I was there on 30/4. To fully enjoy the jungle feel, I suppose I need to go off-peak.
Still it was not too bad, I managed to see quite a bit of wildlife. Unfortunately, the forest was quite thick so bird watching was not too easy. Perhaps for the better.

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