Pulau Ubin is an island in the shape of a boomerang which is located just off the coast of mainland Singapore to the north east. It used to be a collection of 5 separate islands which were cut o! from each other by tidal rivers, but structures have been built to facilitate prawn fishing in the area and the islands have been united to form one, single, larger island.
Pulau Ubin translates from Malay as ‘Granite Island’ which relates to the series of granite hills which make up the island’s surface. In the past, the granite mining industry was enough to sustain the lives of a few thousand inhabitants and workers on Pulau Ubin. Most of the native vegetation was destroyed to make room for farms to grow profitable crops such as rubber, coffee, pineapples and coconut.
Today, you can see the granite mines which have now been abandoned and which tell the story of Pulau Ubin’s not-so-distant history. Grasslands and forests have grown back to replace the destruction caused by the farms. There are still roughly 100 people living permanently on the island, they have to use wells to Pulau Ubin, access clean water and diesel generators for their electricity. A trip to Pulau Ubin is almost like going back in time.
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