28 May 2014

Share your ideas for Pulau Ubin on the Pulau Ubin Project site

"What does Ubin mean to you?" asks this brand new Friends of Ubin website just launched by the Ministry of National Development.
They urge: "Share with us your heartfelt memories, ideas and impressions of this alluring island. Tell us what we can do collectively to enhance this island’s natural environment, biodiversity and history. Join us as we work together to crystallise some of these ideas as a commemoration to our future generations!"

What is the the Project about?

From the website: "Its rustic charm, rich history, lush greenery, and varied biodiversity make Pulau Ubin a unique sanctuary. Recognising the value of the island to Singaporeans, the Government has been working with the community over the years to preserve its natural environment. We are committed to retain Ubin in its rustic state for as long as possible. We want to build on our efforts and further explore ways to sensitively enhance the island, so that it remains an enjoyable destination for all Singaporeans –the old, the young and the young at heart – alongside the flourishing biodiversity."

Mr Desmond Lee, Minister of State for National Development also spoke about the Project in Parliament today and said: "The Ubin Project, which I announced during COS and which is mentioned in the MND addendum, is structured for such open dialogue. Our purpose is to see how we can sensitively enhance the natural environment of Ubin and protect its heritage and its rustic charm.

Over the past two months, we have formed a broad network of stakeholders, who are passionate about Ubin and keen to share their ideas. They include biodiversity experts, conservation activists, history buffs, socio-anthropologists, students, volunteers and Ubin community leaders and residents. They come from organisations as diverse as Nature Society, Singapore Heritage Society and Raffles Museum of Bio-Diversity Research, or join us in their own personal capacities. We call this the Friends of Ubin Network, or “FUN”. It is diverse, but we can open up even more. I am excited by the many interesting ideas shared by our Friends of Ubin thus far.

The discussions at the Network centre around 5 broad themes: Biodiversity conservation, Heritage, history and community, Sustainable design & practices, Education & research, and (e) Nature-based recreation. Instead of discussing each of these topics in silo, where there is a risk of echo-chambers forming when people of similar interests come together, we decided to discuss all 5 in sequence and have broaden participation - so that for every theme about Ubin, we get a broad range of views from people with different perspectives. I think we will get better outcomes this way. So, this is not just about Ubin, which is important to many of us, but also about the way in which we try to engage across the spectrum of society.

Our consultation will not be limited to the Friends of Ubin Network. In fact, we will be reaching out to an even wider spectrum of Singaporeans, through a microsite which will be launched later today. This microsite will provide updates on our Network discussions and our agencies’ engagement efforts, and allow everyone to submit ideas on what they think and like Ubin to be. We will also go out and about to talk to people and gather their views. Madam Speaker, the Ubin Project is another good opportunity for the government and the community to work together on something close to our hearts. And, I encourage all Singaporeans to participate in the process because it is much about the process than it is the outcome."

What are some of the Pulau Ubin Project events?

I was glad to be a part of the early events for the Pulau Ubin Project. Such as a visit to Pulau Ubin on 31 March 2014 led by Mr Desmond Lee. Together with "a group of heritage and nature advocates as well as experts in various fields such as architecture, education and design. The visit was part of the wider plan to initiate a conversation with Singaporeans on how we can all play a part to sensitively enhance the natural environment of Pulau Ubin. Many thoughtful ideas and insights were shared by the group contributing to the Ubin conversation revolving around themes such as heritage, nature, education, adventure, sustainability, etc."
Shortly after that, the Leafmonkey Workshop organised a special Imagine Ubin Workshop on 27 Apr which led brought together Ubin enthusiasts from all walks of life. We went on a working visit around Ubin, followed by lunch and brainstorming of ideas. This inspired productive discussions and creative ideas which were compiled and shared with the Ubin Project. I was in one of the several groups, each group doing a different topic. Here's my experiences at the wonderful workshop.
I was also excited to be at the Inaugural Friends of Ubin Network (FUN) Meeting on 9 May 2014, where "members of various heritage and nature groups, volunteers, youths, and interested members of the public gathered together for the inaugural Friends of Ubin Network (FUN) Meeting. As the name suggests, the group had much fun brainstorming for ideas on how we can further enhance the island and the ways to get more Singaporeans involved in the project. The participants also discussed many exciting ideas submitted by members of the public. The passion these participants have for the island was clearly evident, as they shared with the group their memories, common vision and aspirations."
After the FUN meeting, Chua Ai Lin and Victor Yue started an open Pulau Ubin community page on facebook. Stop by there to find out the latest happenings and interesting information about our beloved Pulau Ubin!

Share your ideas for Ubin!

From the website: "Efforts to enhance Ubin’s wildlife habitats are underway. What more can we do? Do you hope to see more nature and wildlife on the island? What ideas do you have to enhance the island’s sense of discovery and adventure? How can we tap into what the island has to offer and enhance the recreational options? Do you have suggestions that can help to revive the kampong life and its activities? Do you see Ubin as a green living educational laboratory? Join us in this conversation to shape Pulau Ubin into a natural, rustic gateway treasured by all. Share with us your ideas on how we can continue to enhance Ubin as a rustic sanctuary that is both charming and unique. Share your ideas with us at https://ideas.ecitizen.gov.sg/a/pages/ubin"
The website also has a gallery of photos about Ubin, as well as background information about Pulau Ubin's history and Pulau Ubin today.
This upcoming June school holidays, visit Pulau Ubin for these fun family nature activities! Including a guided walk at the Sensory Trail with NParks volunteers, free Chek Jawa boardwalk tour with the Naked Hermit Crabs, and birdwatching and Pulau Ubin Ramble with Nature Society Singapore. Register now! More details here.

More on how to get to Pulau Ubin.

Links to more about Pulau Ubin (thanks to the Leafmonkey Workshop)

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