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People of Pulau Ubin

Get to know the locals residing on this tiny island

Written by
Sofiana Ramli
Tan Leong Kit, Ubin

Tan Leong KitPhoto: Donn Tan

Tan Leong Kit, 86
Owner of ‘Y u so like that!’ drink stall

How long have you been living in Ubin?

I’ve been living here since 1989.

What do you do every day on the island?

I live on the island on weekdays and go back to Singapore on the weekends to stay with my family. While I’m in Ubin, I usually make sure I keep myself fit by either exercising or gardening, apart from taking care of the shop. I encounter different types of people every day, who come by the store, especially expats and tourists.

Favourite part of Ubin?

I enjoy every part of the island because the air is really clean here.

Ubin, Mdm Ng Ngak Heng, Yak Hong

Mdm Ng Ngak HengPhoto: Donn Tan

Mdm Ng Ngak Heng, 67
Owner of ‘Yak Hong’ food and drink stall

How long have you been living in Ubin?

I’ve been living on Ubin for 40 years now.

What’s it like living in Ubin?

Every day is a pretty easy life. Living here is stress-free. As you get older, it’s harder to find jobs, and Singapore can get really competitive. Shop rentals are high, too. I watch television programmes from time to time as I run the shop and attend to customers. However, business here isn’t too great and I still have to pay my shop’s $1,700 electricity bill each month.

Favourite part of Ubin?

[Laughs] My shop, lor.

Ubin, Mr Lim

Mr LimPhoto: Donn Tan

Mr Lim, 61
Owner of a rental bike shop (25 Pulau Ubin)

How long have you been living in Ubin?

I was born and raised here in Ubin. I’ve been living here for almost all my life.

What has changed since then?

Previously, there weren’t any bicycle shops around. Instead, there were a lot of shops selling groceries, such as fruits, vegetables and meat. Bicycle rental shops like my own only started opening about ten years ago because we’ve realised that the loaning of bicycles could earn us a lot of money.

Favourite part of Ubin?

I grew up here so I can’t really pick one – they’re all great to me. But, if I were to recommend a place to visitors, it’d definitely be the Chek Jawa wetlands.

Read our Pulau Ubin area guide for more things to do. 

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