Local Heart, Global Soul

January 3, 2017

The Tortoise And The Care…

Filed under: PHOTOGRAPHY,Pulau Ubin Island,SINGAPORE — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , , ,
(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

For my last installment about Pulau Ubin Island, Himself tells me that he and Velvetine got tired of walking so decided to hire some bicycles.

Most of the tracks are unsealed so this was easier going, at least for my Dutch husband who is completely used to cycling.

There were however rather a few jokes from Himself, and from me later, about  how our Singaporean friend’s derriere would be faring after this adventure since she is not a regular cyclist.

During their bike ride our friend “Velvetine” spied a tortoise that had gotten entangled in a fence, and not being people to leave a creature in distress, they carefully managed to help it to get free.

Once it was clear that the tortoise was only entangled and not actually injured in any way, Velvetine decided that it needed to be set free somewhere where there was no risk of getting snared again.

A suitable spot was found a short distance away, the tortoise making the trip in the basket of  Velvetine’s hired bicycle. After that the bike ride was without incident, just beautiful scenery.
Wikipedia tells me that “ The Singapore Government’s development projects on the island in the last few years have been controversial and debate has been able to find its way through government-controlled media.

Their main ideas is that the East West Line could be extended to Pulau Ubin from Pasir Ris. Although the government has highlighted the area for future development, the island is unlikely to be urbanised because many foreign tourists visit Ubin and it has become a tourist attraction.

Though recent government action has been limited to widening the paths for bicycles, building shelters for trekkers and other facilities for the growing number of visitors, it is already discreetly changing the face and nature of Pulau Ubin from untouched to planned, and paving the way for further developments. The future of the island is in the hands of Singapore Government, which may postpone its development in order to concentrate on re-developing existing space on Singapore island and nearby Pulau Tekong.

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

For now, Pulau Ubin is a haven as a former rural way of life will most likely disappear with its last “kampung” generation passing.

There are a few tarmac roads on Pulau Ubin but most roads are gravel. There are a number of minibuses, jeeps and motorbikes on the island, all bearing PU (for Pulau Ubin) numbered plates.

Although the locals try to keep the island un-urbanized, they need some small boosts of money to support them. On the island there are currently conservation projects for the Oriental pied hornbill,  monitoring of identified populations of seahorse (Hippocampus kuda) and pipefish (Syngnathoides biaculeatus).

One of the current popular tourist attractions on the island is Chek Jawa. A former coral reef 5000 years ago, Chek Jawa can be said to be virtually unspoilt, with a variety of marine wildlife comparable to other islands, such as sea hares, sea squirts, octopuses, starfishes, sand dollars, fishes, sponges, cuttlefishes and nudibranches. 

Ketam Mountain Bike Park which was built in 2007. The trail is approximately 8 kilometers long and features a wide range of terrain ranging from open meadows to thick jungle. There are numerous steep but short climbs and descents. The trail is well-marked with signs indicating the difficulty level of each section.

The rental price for bicycles range anywhere from S$2.00 to S$20.00 (for the entire day) depending on the condition of the bike, number of gears etc. People can also bring their own bikes to the island to ride.
 Getting here from the main island of Singapore  can be done via a 10-minute bumboat ride from the Changi Point Ferry Terminal (previously known as the Changi Village jetty). In 2015 the one-way ticket price was  S$3.00 per passenger.

Every bumboat can carry 12 passengers and the captain will wait till his boat has reached the maximum capacity before leaving. People who do not want to wait can pay S$36.00 for the whole bumboat and leave without waiting.”

After their walk and bike ride and before leaving Pulau Ubin, Himself and Velvetine decided to have lunch. I’m allergic to shellfish so it’s not often that Himself has someone to enjoy some with. Needless to say both of them enjoyed their slippery delights and afterwards made their way back to the hustle and bustle of mainland Singapore on one of the bumboats. I have been indebted to Velvetine for taking far more photographs than Himself ever would have done, it’s enabled those of us who weren’t able to go to enjoy the trip at least via through the photograph album.

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

Note the PU number plates on the vehicles… probably the rarest number plate series in Singapore.

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

Velvetine tells is that these floating communities on the water in front of the Singapore high rise skyline are Pulau Ubin fish farms…

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

Wikipedia: Palau Ubin

 

 

 

January 2, 2017

The Urbanisation And Desolation Of Pulau Ubin…

Filed under: Architectural Detail,ART,PHOTOGRAPHY,Pulau Ubin Island,SINGAPORE — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: ,
(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

The island of Pulau Ubin, just off the north east coast of Singapore is today largely uninhabited, but some of the  former buildings remain.

Our Singaporean friend “Velvetine” tells me that the building in her first photograph is a wash room, and that another of the buildings they came across has a quirky history.

Apparently built by a Scotsman who hankered after home, it was demanded that it be built in the Scottish style of the place of his birth, right down to the inclusion of fireplaces in the rooms.

It makes me wonder what the local builders must have thought when the concept of an open hearth fireplace was explained to them, especially since they were standing in a place where daytime temperatures are usually at least 33 centigrade (91.4 F) and nighttime temps around 29C (84.2 F).

Indeed, our Singaporean friend said that during the winter when the temperature falls to 25C (77F) the number one topic of conversation of the day is always how cold it is or complaints about suffering from the cold, comparing pullovers and sweaters.

That said everything is relative of course. When Velvetine visited us in the Netherlands I laughed at how lightweight her pullovers actually were, she was very nervous about how she would handle the cold  during our summer but luckily our part of Europe had a mini heatwave at the exact time she visited and she was completely at home in the 30C temperatures.

Wikipedia tells us: “In the 1880s, a number of Malays from the Kallang River area were said to have moved to the island thus began the thriving Malay community on the island.

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

Many of the former kampongs on Pulau Ubin were either named after the first person who settled in the kampong or by some feature in the area. Kampong Leman was named by Leman; Kampong Cik Jawa by a Singaporean named Jaw and Kampong Jelutong from people from Changi and from its jelutong trees.

During the 1950s and 1970s, there were 2,000 people living on the island and the Bin Kiang School was established in 1952 for the increasing number of children. Lessons prior to this were conducted on the village wayang stage.

With a student population that once numbered 400, enrolment fell as the Singapore mainland developed. The school closed in 1985, and was demolished on 2 April 2000. There was also a private Malay school around 1956 at Kampung Melayu, which closed in the late 1970s.

Pulau Ubin was found to be suitable for the construction of several campsites. Outward Bound Singapore (OBS) was established in 1967 , National Police Cadet Corps (NPCC) opened its 25-hectare site camp located between Kampung Bahru and Kampung Noordin. 

Camp Resilience is where Secondary 2 and 3 NPCC cadets have a 3-day 2 night stay for training. Secondary 2 NPCC cadets go to Adventure Training Camp (ATC) while Secondary 3 NPCC cadets go to Survival Training Camp.
On 3 June 2005, in the wake of the avian influenza the Singapore Government ordered that all the farmers rearing poultry on the island were to ship them to mainland Singapore and rear them in government-approved farms by 17 June 2005. 

In exchange, the local inhabitants were offered HDB government housing packages, although they could choose to live on the island.

Today, there are only a few people living on the island and Pulau Ubin is one of the few areas in Singapore that is largely free from urban development, preserved from urban development, concrete buildings and tarmac roads.

Pulau Ubin’s wooden house villages , wooden jetties, relaxed inhabitants, rich and preserved wildlife, abandoned quarries and plantations, and untouched nature make it the last witness of the old kampong Singapore that existed before modern industrial times and large-scale urban development.”

Himself attested that this non-developed style also extended to things like the lavatories: no “western” style loos, just the squat style ones where you are presented with two footprints to guide you where to put your feet and a hole in the middle, he laughed when he truthfully said our kids would have hated these, and for me, with only one functioning foot, using the lavatory may have taken some serious ingenuity… or desperation.

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

Wikipedia: Palau Ubin

January 1, 2017

Boardwalks And Stone Paths, Getting Around Pulau Ubin…

Filed under: PHOTOGRAPHY,Pulau Ubin Island,SINGAPORE — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: ,
(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

Following yesterday’s post: My husband hates heights, towers and platforms of any sort are strictly off limits.

Therefore I was not surprised to learn that when he and our good friend “Velvetine” came across an observation look-out tower on the island of Pulau Ubin that he stayed firmly on terra firma leaving Velvetine to climb up and get photographs.

Our Singaporean friend didn’t hesitate to clamber up the flights of wooden steps, giving me a birds eye virtual view later of what I consider to be a fabulous day trip.

One thing was abundantly clear: the distance they walked was way out of my range of mobility, and whilst the boardwalks would have been manageable in a wheelchair,  the rocky track certainly wasn’t.

Fortunately Velvetine was also in charge of the camera and she and I are two peas in a pod when it comes to taking photographs: the detail is everything: little things like shadows of railings on steps,  patterns in wood, stone or plants, give just as much pleasure as the photographs of the surrounding landscape.

Over the years we have gotten to know one another quite well, so before they left she was sure to make a joke about getting enough photographs of rocks and paving stones, except that to my delight she wasn’t just joking, she also delivered.

Texture, glorious texture was there to see, close up and beautiful, so I appreciated her photographic efforts more than she could ever know. It was also wonderful to take part. at least in a virtual sense of the day out, especially because I am more of the “picture” person than a words one, for me the visual representation of the world is everything.  It’s the way I learn and relate to things. One thing that I didn’t miss though, was the encounter with creepy crawlies, more specifically the huge spiders webs they saw and in one, a massive spider. Even for Velvetine, used to such things, the camera zoom was better than close quarters contact.

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

These are planted in the sea to stop soil erosion on the coastline…

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

Looking out over the water, this is the boarder with Indonesia…

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

Bamboo…

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

Wikipedia: Palau Ubin

December 31, 2016

Visiting The “Stone Hill” Close To Singapore…

Filed under: PHOTOGRAPHY,Pulau Ubin Island,SINGAPORE — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: ,
(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

Following yesterday’s post, Himself and our good Singaporean friend “Velvetine” are visiting Pulau Ubin.
Pulau Ubin is an island just off the north east of Singapore.

Granite quarrying supported a few thousand settlers on Pulau Ubin in the 1960s, but only about a hundred villagers live there today.

One of the last rural areas to be found in Singapore, with an abundance of natural flora and fauna, the island forms part of the Ubin–Khatib Important Bird Area (IBA), identified as such by BirdLife International because it supports significant numbers of visiting and resident birds, some of which are threatened.

The name Pulau Ubin literally means “Granite Island” in Malay, which explains the many abandoned granite quarries there. Pulau means “island”, and Ubin is said to be a Javanese term for “squared stone”.

The rocks on the island were used to make floor tiles in the past and were called Jubin, which was then shortened to Ubin.

The island is known as tsioh sua in the Taiwanese Romanization of Hokkien, which means “stone hill”. The highest point is Bukit Puaka (Puaka Hill) at a height of 75 m.

The granite from Pulau Ubin was used in the construction of Horsburgh Lighthouse. Tongkangs ferried the huge rock blocks (30 by 20 feet) from the island to Pedra Branca, the site of the lighthouse, in 1850 and 1851. Later, the granite was also used to build the Singapore-Johor Causeway. Most of the quarries are not in operation today and are being slowly recolonised by vegetation or filled with water.

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

Information boards give an idea of the local flora and fauna…

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

Mango swamps…

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

Velvetine’s selfies (well sort of)…

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

Wikipedia: Palau Ubin

December 30, 2016

Pulau Ubin: Himself’s Day Trip With Our Local Guide…

Filed under: PHOTOGRAPHY,Pulau Ubin Island,SINGAPORE — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , ,
(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

Regular readers of my blog will know that for reasons of privacy (this IS the internet after all) I never blog about our travels in “real time”.

Nothing would be worse that revealing that we were in “(name) Hotel enjoying the sunshine“,  giving details whereby strangers could figure out who my children were etc, let alone advertising that our house was empty at home.

The secondary factor is of course that my medical levels are high and my concentration levels low, so I tend to do something  in the house for fifteen or twenty minutes and then sleep or rest for a few hours.

It’s difficult to accomplish much even on a good day, the bad days.. well …the less said about them the better.

Sorting photographs also takes time, but I tend to get there (eventually) which is why this post is approximately three years late.

The 2013-14 Christmas holidays saw us jet our way across the world to New Zealand, but of course I can’t manage back to back flights either, so we  break the trip by staying over in one of our favourite places: Singapore.

I have a good Singaporean friend, famous in the pages of this blog from our previous visits to Singapore, and the summer holiday that she spent travelling around Europe with us,  therefore you know her here as “Velvetine”.

When we first travelled to New Zealand and back, we generally spent a day, maybe two in Singapore, Velvetine was a friend made on the Internet and so we would touch base, eat dinner and do some sightseeing together.

(photograph © Velvetine)

It soon became apparent that we really “clicked” and even though we usually only saw each other every two years, the moment we met again it was like we picked up from yesterday.

Then came my accident and foot injury and our stops needed became a little longer, which turned out to be a very popular choice with the rest of the family, so on our last trip we had four days on the way to New Zealand and almost a week on the way back.

I of course spent the first few days sleeping off the effects of the flight with ice packs (my foot chooses to swell up like a balloon).

The kids decided that they wanted to spend time in the pool (we have gotten to know the lifeguards who keep a watchful eye on them even though both kids are confident swimmers and I joined them at the pool later).

After the first day Himself was feeling energetic and so Velvetine suggested a day trip to the nearby island of Pulau Ubin.

Himself was under strict instructions to please take lots of photographs so that the kids and I could enjoy a “virtual” version of their day upon his return and knowing that Velvetine and I share a click-a-holic addiction, he did the wisest thing possible: he handed the camera to Velvetine for the day.

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © with Thank You to Google Maps of course…)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

A photograph is as close as I want to get to this web inhabitant…

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

Velvetine even takes photographs of the ground… now you know she is a good friend of mine…

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

I edited the following two photographs for family privacy, but Himself was very much enjoying the sea views…

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

Velvetine also gets into the photo but it’s not really a selfie … or is it?

(photograph © Velvetine)

(photograph © Velvetine)

Wikipedia: Palau Ubin

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