Pulau Ubin Stories

Stories, old and new, about Pulau Ubin, Singapore

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Chinese village

Excerpts from Waller (2001)

"The population of Pulau Ubin was 2,028 in the 1970 census, 1,242 in 1980 and an estimated 500 in 1993, comprising about 200 families of which two thirds are Chinese (Teochew) and one third Malay. Since that time it has probably halved again. This exodus has been described and discussed by Edna Low (1995). Most of the original settlements have now vanished."

[Editor's note: This number is even lower today)

"Of those surviving, the most important is Pulau Ubin Village. This is the commercial centre of the island and is almost totally Chinese. It is the only traditional Chinese village remaining in Singapore today. It is built on each side of a road leading from the island's main jetty which widens out to form a village square where the two main buildings, the temple and the wayang (traditional Chinese opera house), face each other across the open space of the square."

'There are a handful of general provision shops, but in the last few years most of the shophouse occupants have taken to renting out bicycles so that there are perhaps a thousand available for hire on weekends and holidays. An art gallery opened up in 1998 [Editor's note: Is this still there?]. Students of the School of Architecture, The National University of Singapore, measured up most of the central village buildings, in July 1998 (Huang, 1998).'

Waller, Edmund (2001) "Landscape Planning in Singapore" (Singapore: Singapore University Press) pp.165-171

Low, E. (1995) "Pulau Ubin: The Exodus" Unpublished B.A. thesis, Department of Sociology, National University of Singapore

Huang, Y.C. et al. (1998) "Pulau Ubin: Sustaining the Rural Episodes" Unpublished 2nd year elective. School of Architecture, National University of Singapore.


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