09 August 2005
A Visit To Pulau Ubin
I have not written for more than a month now. Chris very kindly informed me that my blog had spider webs growing on it. "Guess that's why it is called the World Wide Web", I thought to myself. I shall not bore you with the details of my 'disappearance act' here - it is actually quite interesting, meaning that I feel it is worthy of a separate post which I will do in due course. (Patience, Chris). But briefly, besides being preoccupied with other more pressing issues, I had another reason for not writing for some time - my computer had difficulty connecting to the Internet. After personally carrying out about a week of diagnostic tests and troubleshooting, I finally managed to identify the cause to be a noisy Singtel line which carried my ADSL signals. Singtel finally rectified the problem on 6 Aug 05 and I am back in action again.
So this post is part of my BackLOG (hehe, no pun intended).
On 24 Jul 05, my family of four visited Pulau Ubin. It was a trip organised by the Sports Club of my wife's office. We took a ferry (the more correct terminology is a bumboat) from Changi Village ferry terminal at about 9 am. The ferry could take a maximum of 12 passengers. It would normally not leave the terminal until it was filled to capacity. However this was not a problem that morning as there were scores of trip participants in addition to the usual Sunday crowd.
No one in my family can remember ever visiting Ubin although we have come across much media information about this idyllic island before. The media has always emphasized that this island is one of the last countryside places in Singapore where one can enjoy peace and serenity away from the hustle and bustle of Singapore's hectic city life. The nature lovers have always been clamouring that the island be left in its present pristine natural condition. They do not want the island to undergo too much development and commercialisation like Sentosa. If it were so, the island would lose it main attraction that is its natural charm and become just another tourist attraction.
My personal impression of the trip was that it was indeed quite an experience for all of us. For example, I can't remember when I last did a 4-hour walk, much less my younger son. At one point, he complained that he can't feel his legs! But the trek must go on for there was no transport provided - we had chosen to go on foot rather than on bicycles and daddy had left the car at home. It didn't help when it started to pour.
When we reached Noordin beach in the 'Noorth' of the island, we could see Malaysia across the straits. We even felt that we were in Malaysia - our phones started receiving smses welcoming us to Malaysia. We were careful not to call each other indiscriminately then because we would be charged double trunk call rates if we did - once for routing the call back to Singapore because the called party was a Singapore subscriber and another time for re-routing the call back to Malaysia where the called party had been falsely detected to be roaming. Yes it was that complicated. Even on the idyllic island, we could not run away from this technological intrusion which was evident from the ringing of mobile phones every now and then... unless we had purposely left them at home.
On the walk back to the jetty, we visited a prawn farm. The prawns were intensively bred in huge cement tanks some distance away from the sea. This high-tech agro-industry was set up on the island only about 2 years ago. If the industry proved to be successful, it would be able supply relatively cheaper live prawns for the local market.
Overall, it was an enjoyable experience for all of us but we are not so sure if we would want to make the 4-hour walk again anytime soon. Maybe the next time we visit the island, we would either be on bicycles or on one of those 'PU' registered vans which abound on the island.