It is past midterms and I have so many stories to tell about my time here in Singapore! I will start with one of the first trips we took! On the 4th day in Singapore, we had a trip to an island off of Singapore called Pulau Ubin. We had a tour guide named Darius and he was telling us facts about Singapore all the way to the island. Did you know that the national language of Singapore is Malay? Other languages spoken here include English, Mandarin, Cantonese, Malay, and Tamil.
Some interesting facts about Pulau Ubin is that it is one of the only rural places left in Singapore and is home to about 38 natives who get most of their supplies and resources shipped from the main island. Darius told us that there were actually no cases of Covid-19 reported from Pulau Ubin which was interesting to hear. We got in vans and headed inland to explore the Chek Jawa Wetlands that is on the island. We were joined with a local who is said to be a boar whisperer. He has a specific boar family that he is friends with and he called them by whistling and calling out 來 (lái) in Mandarin which means “come here”. While waiting for the family we hiked and climbed the Jejawi Tower which is a 20 meter viewing tower and we climbed the Puaka Hill that overlooks the Ubin Quarry.
To make it back to the vans we walked along the 1.1-kilometer boardwalk. It was high tide so we did not see much wildlife but the view was amazing. We also walked by House No.1 which is now the Chek Jawa Visitor Center. It was built in the 1930s by the Chief Surveyor of Singapore Landon Williams. It is a Tudor-style house and it is popular for its original fireplace.
When we came to the vans, we were met by a family of boars. They were all surrounding the boar whisperer and he was even petting one of them. We didn’t get too close but the boars were so cute and there were also babies. When we went to leave the boars were sad to see their friend go and they chased down the van that the whisperer was in! When we got back to the main part of the island we had a really delicious lunch that consisted of rice, fish, squid, chicken, and more.
Then we got back on the boats to head back home. Overall, Pulau Ubin offered great views, good food, and rich nature and history.
By the way, have you ever heard of Singlish? Singlish is an informal, colloquial form of English that is used in Singapore. I will be adding Singlish words that I have learned so far! The first is “Chope” which means to save a seat. It is similar to leaving your phone on a table in Phelps except here you can leave a napkin or tissue packet. You often see this often in Hawker centers.
Stay tuned for more stories!