Learning about Singapore on a walking trail at Pulau Ubin

LIM MIN ZHANG, THE STRAITS TIMES The New Paper 10 Aug 17;

For the past four years, teacher Tan Huili's family spent National Day watching the parade at home.

But this year, Ms Tan's young family of four, together with her parents-in-law, woke up as early as 6am to catch the bumboat to Pulau Ubin.

They were among more than 100 families who took part in a walk to celebrate Singapore's birthday.

"Visiting such places gives us a sense of rootedness and identity," said Ms Tan, 35, whose children are aged four and seven.

During the event, organised by the Siglap division of East Coast GRC with the National Parks Board, some 520 Siglap residents, many with children aged 12 or younger, learnt about the early years of Singapore's independence.

Taking part in activities at six stations along a 2.6km round-the-island trail, they found out about the challenges Singapore faced in the past.

For example, at Teck Seng's Place, one of the conserved landmarks on Pulau Ubin, they learnt about the 1961 Bukit Ho Swee fire, a key event that led to the Government's shift to the public housing programme.

They were also treated to traditional food such as gem biscuits, ice lollies and jagung urap, or steamed corn with coconut shavings.

Limousine driver Melvin Koh, 31, who was with his wife and their eight-year-old boy, said: "It was something new for my son, and an interesting and meaningful experience, especially on National Day."


More than 100 young families visit Pulau Ubin to learn about nation building
Lim Min Zhang Straits Times 10 Aug 17;

SINGAPORE - More than 100 young families celebrated National Day at Pulau Ubin on Wednesday morning (Aug 9) with lessons from the early years of Singapore's independence.

Some 520 Siglap residents, many with children aged 12 or younger, took part in activity stations along a round-the-island trail. They learnt about challenges Singapore faced in the past, such as racial riots and the need for water conservation.

For example, at Teck Seng's Place, one of the preserved landmarks on Pulau Ubin, participants were taught about the Bukit Ho Swee fire of 1961, which was a key event that led to the Government's shift to the public housing programme.

They were also treated to traditional food such as gem biscuits, ice lollies, and jagung urap, or steamed corn with coconut shavings, at the station.

Some of the participants had woken up as early as 5am to catch the 10-minute bumboat ride to the island.

The whole trail was 2.6km long and included six stations.

The event was organised by grassroots leaders and volunteers from the Siglap division of East Coast GRC, in collaboration with the National Parks Board.

Chairman of the organising committee and businessman David Tan, 50, one of the more than 200 volunteers involved in running the event, said: "Even though this was hard work, we felt it was worth it to have these activities to gel the older and younger generations together, regardless of age."

Limousine driver Melvin Koh, 31, took part in the trail with his eight-year-old son and 31-year-old wife.

Mr Koh said: "It was something new for my son, and an interesting and meaningful experience, especially on National Day."

Another parent, teacher Tan Huili, 35,went with six other family members- her husband, his brother, her parents-in-law and her two children, aged four and seven.

"It was my children's first time in Ubin. They were disappointed not to see any monkeys and wild boars, but they enjoyed walking on the mud and gravel trails, which was something they never did in mainland Singapore."

Adviser to East Coast GRC Grassroots Organisations Maliki Osman joined the families in the morning's activities, which ended with an observance ceremony to commemorate 50 years of national service (NS).

Fourteen father-son pairs who had both done NS were given recognition packages for their contributions. The Siglap residents also stood up to give a salute to thank past and present servicemen.

"The whole day's celebration is really about looking back and reflecting, and not just celebration, but also asking ourselves what it means to be a Singaporean," said Dr Maliki, who is also Senior Minister of State for Defence and Foreign Affairs.

"Hopefully, the younger generation will then say, 'I have a role to play in making Singapore succeed' in the many years to come."

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