Thursday, July 17, 2014

Ubin Stamp Series

Source: Singpost News Release [PDF]
I grew up quite the stamp buff and spent many of my childhood days queueing up for first day covers at the post office. Although I have not bought any first day covers in a while, this beautiful (and of personal interest) first day cover makes me want to indulge again! I'm really glad that they have decided to do a stamp series on Ubin and such beautiful illustrations too. My favourites amongst the four must be the wayang stage and the jetty, for the little glimpse into Ubin's past they offers. This collaboration between Singpost and NHB also means that the news release is rich with history about the 4 landmarks featured on the stamps. For archive sake, I have reproduced the factoids below.

There were of course other stamp series inspired by Ubin before, such as the Chek Jawa nature series [PDF] from 2004 which celebrated the beauty of Chek Jawa's biodiversity. One does lament though that it hardly provides any glimpse of the Ubin landscape except for the faint beacon in the background, if you can spot it!
Source: Singpost News Release [PDF]
Well, you know the stamps have really captured my attention when I broke my one year silence on this blog to post about it! The new stamp series will be released on 18 July 2014, a date to remember. An event worth recording on Pulau Ubin Stories, for posterity!

Other Related Reads:
Singpost Press Release - A Glimpse into the Islands of Singapore - Pulau Ubin Through Stamps [PDF]

Four landmarks showcased on stamps: Main Jetty, Chek Jawa, The Wayang Stage and a Quarry
Channel News Asia, 17 Jul 2014

SINGAPORE: A series of stamps depicting Pulau Ubin’s iconic landmarks will be available from Friday (July 18).

The stamps, launched by SingPost and the National Heritage Board, feature images of four landmarks: The Main Jetty (2nd local), Chek Jawa (S$0.65), the Wayang Stage (S$0.80) and a Quarry (S$1.10).

The complete set is priced at S$2.87. Other products include a Pre-Cancelled First Day Cover affixed with the complete set of stamps, priced S$3.70, and a Presentation Pack with the complete set of stamps, priced at S$4.65.

The new stamp issue, Islands of Singapore – Pulau Ubin, will be available at all post offices, the Singapore Philatelic Museum and online at

A Glimpse into the Islands of Singapore - Pulau Ubin Through Stamps
Singpost News Release [PDF]

Singapore, 17 July 2014 - The boomerang shaped Pulau Ubin, Singapore’s second largest offshore island, lies on the Straits of Johor off the north-eastern coast of Singapore. It was once known as Granite Island. Four of its iconic landmarks are captured in this stunning new stamp issue, Islands of Singapore - Pulau Ubin. SingPost and the National Heritage Board (NHB) collaborated to launch this series of stamps which comes in four denominations - 2nd Local, S$0.65, S$0.80 and S$1.10.

Main Jetty (2nd Local)

The main jetty on Pulau Ubin was first built by the Japanese between 1942 and 1943, and rebuilt in 1965. In 1978, a new jetty was built which was upgraded in 1994 to include a shelter and a seating area. Ferry services between Pulau Ubin and Singapore are provided by licensed bumboat operators.

Chek Jawa (S$0.65)

Chek Jawa, located at the eastern tip of Pulau Ubin, is a natural beach that is teeming with marine wildlife. It is also one of Singapore’s richest ecosystems with six distinct habitats including mud and sandflats, mangrove, coastal forest, lagoon, coral rubble and a small island called Pulau Sekudu. The beauty of Chek Jawa lies in the fact that several different ecosystems exist in a small area. These ecosystems, the plants and animals found there, are no longer common in mainland Singapore. It is a popular natural heritage destination and boasts a visitor centre, over 1 kilometre of boardwalk and the Jejawi Tower.

The Wayang Stage (S$0.80)

The Wayang Stage on Pulau Ubin is located at the centre of Ubin village. The stage was originally a simple wooden structure with an attap roof but was rebuilt in 1939 and 1971. It was once a classroom for the children during the 1960s as well as a venue for election rallies. Today, it is still used for performances three times a year namely, during the fourth month of the lunar calendar, Vesak Day and Hungry Ghost Festival.

A Quarry (S$1.10)

Pulau Ubin was one of two main granite quarrying sites in Singapore and accounted then for approximately 25% of the granite reserves in Singapore. The mining of granite on the island started in mid 1840s and by the 1850s, government quarries were established and convicts were deployed to mine granite for the construction of historically important structures including Horsburgh Lighthouse on Pedra Branca (1851), Fort Canning (1858), Raffles Lighthouse (1855), Singapore Harbour (1913), the Causeway (1923), and Fort Canning Reservoir (1926). By 1934, there were at least ten operating quarries on Pulau Ubin. The mining of granite ceased in the 1960s with the last quarry on Pulau Ubin closed in 1999. Since then, all defunct quarries have become scenic lakes.

The complete set of stamps is priced at S$2.87. Other products include a Pre-Cancelled First Day Cover affixed with the complete set of stamps (S$3.70), and a Presentation Pack with complete set of stamps (S$4.65).

The Islands of Singapore - Pulau Ubin stamp issue is available from tomorrow, 18 July 2014 at all post offices, the Singapore Philatelic Museum and online at Please refer to Annex 1 for more information.

Pulau Ubin Commemoration Efforts

The Ministry of National Development (MND) has recently launched The Ubin Project to gather public feedback and work with the community to preserve and sensitively enhance the island, so that Pulau Ubin remains an enjoyable rustic destination for all.

In May this year, a broad network of stakeholders was formed to share their ideas on how to continue to enhance Ubin as a rustic sanctuary that is both charming and unique. Called the Friends of Ubin Network (FUN), it included members of various heritage and nature groups, socio-anthropologists, students and volunteers.

The Ministry has also launched a microsite for Singaporeans to share their ideas on how to enhance the island’s natural environment, biodiversity and history. The Ministry has received a number of good feedback thus far and will be studying these suggestions in detail. Members of the public who wish to find out more about the charming island and join in the Ubin conversation may visit the microsite at

On its part, NHB produced a documentary on the boat operators of Pulau Ubin as part of its Heritage In Episodes series and developed a virtual tour of Pulau Ubin’s main hub (around the jetty area) as part of its Walking Through Heritage series (

In addition, NHB collaborated with National Parks Board to showcase Pulau Ubin as part of the “Stories from Singapore’s Islands” exhibition currently on display at the National Museum of Singapore from 2 June to 10 August 2014.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Hungry Ghost Festival 2013

Pulau Ubin will be celebrating the 7th lunar month this evening (wed, 21aug) and tomorrow (thur, 22aug) with performances. too late for today's performance, grab your chance tomorrow!

Thanks to Alan Tan for always entertaining my requests for updates from Ubin every major festival!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Ubin Wayang Schedule 2012

It's time for the yearly lunar 7th month hungry ghost festival performances to the "good brothers" that are out from the underworld for a month of enjoyment again!

The schedule for this year's teochew opera "wayang" performed at the free standing stage in the middle of Ubin town has been announced. Performances will be on 31 August and 1 September 2012.

There will be complimentary boat services on these two nights - Changi to Ubin from 6.30pm to 10pm and Ubin to Changi from 8.00 - 11.00pm (8.30pm on 1 Sep).

Thanks to Alan Tan for the information!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

News Feature of Ubin's "Ah Lian"

ubin ah lian

 Many of you may recognise her as "Ah Lian", the lady boss from the seafood restaurant by the sea on Ubin. She is the daughter-in-law of Hai Liang who owned the groccery shop that my mom frequented when she was a young girl on Ubin in the 1950s. Hai Liang passed away in 2009 but the family still lives on the island.

Island's remaining resident count: 38

Lianhe Wanbao the Chinese tabloid is now doing a series of interview features with Ubin residents. Look out for it! Translation of this article will follow. Thanks to Alan Tan for the alert!
Source: "陪读妈妈 20年风雨无阻 带孩子过海上学” Lianhe Wanbao, 25 Jul 2012

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Wild Malayan Porcupine found on Ubin

In 2006, the Malayan Porcupine (Hystrix brachyura) was caught on film by a camera trap on Pulau Tekong, an island just east of Pulau Ubin. Prior to that, Malayan Porcupines were never before reported on Pulau Tekong, and hardly seen since the 1970's. Habitatnews cited a study by Yang, Yong & Lim in 1990 that suggested while the Malayan Porcupine (Hystrix brachyura) was once common in forested areas between 19th century to the 1960's, and was "sometimes found in secondary forests" by 1973, by 1990, it "must be very rare if it still exists in Singapore".

Fast forward to 2012, the Malayan Porcupine was yet again spotted, but this time on Pulau Ubin! Robert Teo from the National Parks Board (NParks) shares a video on youtube of a Malayan Porcupine that had wandered into a ubin resident's compound in late Jan 2012. It was cornered by the resident's dogs, subsequently caught and caged. The NParks Forest Patrol discovered the little guy and helped to release him back into the forest.

It's great to know that the wild Malayan Porcupine population seems to have thrived despite the rapid disappearance of their natural forest habitats in Singapore.

Happy Earth Day everyone!

Update @ 23 April 2012
 Robert shared more on this first official sighting of the Malayan Porcupine on Ubin:

"During our regular Forest Patrol on 30 Mar 2012, my staff and volunteers found a Malayan Porcupine (Hystrix brachyura) caged in a resident’s home. It measured about 60-70 cm from nose to base of tail and appeared to be a female. The porcupine entered the resident’s compound in late Jan 2012 and was cornered by her dogs. It was subsequently netted and a cage was constructed to house it. The resident fed it with apples, carrots & kangkong.

The resident was reluctant to let it go as she thought it would not be able to survive on its own. She even asked that we send it to the zoo. We explained that the porcupine is a wild animal and would be able to fend for itself, and that the right thing to do was to return it to the wild. She requested to keep it over the weekend to show her relatives. On the morning of 2 Apr, we transported the cage to the forest nearby and released the porcupine."