Pulau Ubin’s kampung houses to be restored to their former glory

Photo: William Cho / Flickr

Pulau Ubin’s kampung houses will soon see a new lease of life. The National Parks Board is set to begin the restoration of at least five disused kampung houses, which are said to be in a state of disrepair ever since they were returned to the state in 2000 as part of years-long restoration efforts led by NParks and community groups.

The restoration project was announced yesterday by Second Minister for Home Affairs and National Development Desmond Lee, and will “sensitively enhance Ubin’s tangible living cultural heritage”, TODAY reports.

“Moving forward, we are exploring the possibility of allowing groups and individuals to use and manage unoccupied kampung houses that have been restored if they can demonstrate that they can work alongside the existing village community to contribute to our larger vision for a rustic and nostalgic Pulau Ubin,” Lee added.

Friends of Ubin Network (FUN) — comprising of Ubin residents, naturalist heritage experts and researchers —  had been in talks and discussions with NParks for some time, developing proposals on which houses to restore and how to do it.

One of the houses, House 63C, was home to Tan Bak Tee and his family for half a century. The nephew of its former owner, 63-year-old Tan Chee Kiang, said that he’s happy his childhood home is being restored after years of abandonment left it in a dire state.

NParks director Wong Tuan Wah told the media that restoration efforts are in “preliminary discussions”. “Once the first pilot is done, we will see how the community takes to it. The community will deliberate and decide what kind of activities will take place,” he added.

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