Palau Ubin

Located off the North Eastern end of Singapore, it has an area of 1020 hectares, in a rough sharp of a boomberang. Its core geological make up is  granite over five smaller islands,  interspersed by low lying mangroves and the tidal rivers. The tidal rivers were bunded for prawn breediing thereby connected all those smaller islands into a single  island known as Pulau Ubin.

Pulau Ubin, literally means Tile Island, according to the Malay and Indonesian dictionaries, where ‘ubin ‘ means  tile. It was also known as Pulau Batu Ubin ( Granite Tile Island ) to the local Malays and  “Chieo Suar” ( Stone Hill ) to the older Chinese generation in Fukien dialect. In the early 20th Century, the granite were quarried supplying to the building industry, in the  form of blocks , slabs and tiles for floors and walls.  The original  causeway from Singapore to Malaysia was built in 1923, using the granite from Pulau Ubin.

The mining of granite ceased in the 1960s and those defunct quarries became lakes and its vicinity colonised  by vegetation into secondary jungles.

Pulau Ubin has been a forgotten backyard for many years and finally came onto the radar for redevelopment by the government due to the limited land mass on the Singapore Island. Pulau Ubin was earmarked for redevelopment and the process of resettling the villages to the Singapore Island , commenced early 1980’s, There are remaining pockets of those who prefer to remain as long as they could on Pulau Ubin until the redevelopment commenced, particularly the older generation of inhabitants.

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