Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Another facelift for German Girl Shrine

Photo by Faizah Jamal

It appears that Datuk Guniang at the German Girl Shrine will be getting a new temple face lift. Faizah Jamal reported on 10 Feb 2015 that the altar is now residing in a temporary shelter while the old hut of a temple has been demolished. In its place, a new brick and mortar temple is being constructed.

Photo by Faizah Jamal

Faizah wrote:
"Was at Pulau Ubin last weekend with a group of students and as has always been my practice, to take visitors to the German Girl Shrine as an example of the living culture of Ubin important to people beyond the island's residents. Horrified to find that the shrine as I knew it is no longer there. Instead there is to be a newly constructed - and what looks to be much bigger and modern- shrine."
This is not the first facelift that the temple has had at its current location. 10 years ago in 2004, we reported a change in the facade of the temple as well. Even before that, the shrine was relocated in 1974 from its original site on a hill to its current location when the original site was required for quarry expansion. From a crumbling wooden structure to a bright airy spruced up shrine, to a more permanent brick structure, the german girl shrine is still very much a symbol of cross-cultural 'fusion' in Singapore that holds a special place in many of our hearts.

Last reported change on Pulau Ubin Stories in 2004

Facelift aside, and more importantly, I hope the large granite boulder that, according to stories from my mother, marked the temple when it was on the hill, will continue to stand guard at the new temple when it is completed. I do recall seeing it previously at its current location, outside the shrine and appearing to be rather significant to devotees. It is definitely something worth checking out when the new temple is completed.

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Ubin Day: Past, present and future

Past: 2002 and 2003

Ubin Day was first held in April 2002 organised by Grant Pereira with the Singapore Environment Council (SEC). Activities consisted of educational workshops, talks and performances at the wayang stage. It focused on teaching participants on how to conserve natural resources and to appreciate the beauty of nature.

Dikir Barat at the Wayang Stage
SEC Tent
Can Sculpture by Students
Images by Juliana Yasin

Revival: Ubin Day 2014, 30 November

Ubin Day Badge design by Rebecca Lee,
Graduate of School of the Arts

After a decade of hiatus, Ubin Day has come a long way since 2003 due to the support of 31 organising groups. Thank you to all that contributed activities and without whom Ubin Day 2014 would not have been possible! A day dedicated to celebrating the natural heritage of Pulau Ubin, it was a Sunday for all to have fun and leave their troubles behind on the mainland.

The programme board designed by Rebecca Lee and Sankar Ananthanarayanan.
List of the types of activities:
  • Art
  • Birdwatching
  • Cycling
  • Exhibitions
  • Fly fishing demonstration
  • Guided tours
  • Mountain biking
  • Kayaking
  • Performances
  • Photography
  • Stargazing
  • Talk on Kampong Houses
  • Workshops

The day was officially opened by PM Lee who spent the day engaging in various activities around the island!
Opening speech
The PM looking at a baby dugong
PM engaging in conversation with one of the founders of
Ubin Day 2002, Grant Pereira from the Green Volunteers
Photos by Sumita Thiagarajan 

You can watch the highlights of the PM's day in this video:

Here's a glimpse of what happened on Ubin Day 2014:

Thank you for the Storify, Kenneth Pinto!

More details can be found on the official website and the Facebook page.

Future: 2015 and beyond...

Efforts to preserve and improve Pulau Ubin have been picked up by MND through the Ubin project. Hopefully this will become a yearly event for all to enjoy! If you would like to contribute, watch the Facebook page for updates.

Other related links:

SEC Newsletter (April 2002) - Elements - April 2002 Newsletter issued by Singapore Environment Council [PDF]

TAV Archives - Ubin Day (20 April 2002)

The Ubin dogs: The friendly, furry mascots of Ubin

Have you met the friendly Ubin dogs? Free from the stress of city life, these four-legged sweethearts are first to greet you when you step on Ubin Jetty. If you are not too comfortable with dogs, do not fret as these dogs are well-behaved and there is no cause for concern. Also known as Kampong dogs, these furry ambassadors encompass the true meaning of the Kampong spirit through their wagging tails and friendliness towards anyone and everyone that steps on the island.

A day in the life of an Ubin dog is often tasked with greeting visitors, playing amongst themselves, running around the island and taking a dip in the sea.

Most days are spent soaking up the sand and sun and resting under a coconut tree.

More belly rubs please!

These pups will accompany you on solo bicycle rides, run alongside your vans and keep you company on the whole island. However, this can get tiring and these content fur-balls are often seen taking a nap to recharge their paws for another day of the glorious island life and hours of playing under the sun.

Tudor style housing, my favourite. - Spotted at House no.1 

I would greet you but I'm too tired! - Spotted at House no.1

This little one didn't even realize I was there. - Spotted at House no.1

Have you come with food? - Spotted at House no.1

Some of these resident dogs are so good at being ambassadors, they are often given names by Ubin folk or those that frequent Pulau Ubin.
One of the well-known resident dogs, Bytyy (pronounced as Bitey),
frequenting his favourite spot at the HSBC Volunteer Hub or Assembly Area

Looking for a tasty housefly to snap!
More details on these Kampong dogs here.

Photos by Sumita Thiagarajan