ANNOUNCEMENT: WUJ wishes everyone a Happy Ubin Day 2020! WUJ launches "WUJ Wan Go Jalan? (Virtually)" in conjunction with Pesta Ubin 2020 and Ubin Day 2020 celebrations Play your part in fighting COVID-19: Be socially responsible, uphold strict personal hygiene and social distancing measures

About Me

Hello, and welcome to my blog!


THE "WAN" BEHIND "WAN'S UBIN JOURNAL"

My name is Nor Syazwan Bin Abdul Majid, 23, and I am one of Sulong Bin Yunos' (Awang Minyak) and Jariah Binte Salim's many grandchildren (24, to be exact). They were once residents of Pulau Ubin residing in House No. 818K, Kampung Surau (کامڤوڠ سورو) from the late 1950s - 1989. However, both my grandparents have passed away years before I was born, so the only way for me to know them was through the stories shared and passed down to me by my mom, Noor Riah Binte Sulong (Net).

My late grandparents

My late grandparents' kampung house, House No. 818K Pulau Ubin. Photo was taken circa the 1980s.

I went on a quest to trace my family's roots and heritage through my mom's recollection and photos and after a month and two failed attempts, I was finally able to find my late-grandparents' house (or what's left of it, anyway) deep inside the forest on April 21st, 2018.

However, my time and adventures on Ubin didn't stop there.

Wan's Ubin Journal (WUJ) will be filled with many pictures, stories, thoughts, reflections, memories, findings and other documentation as I continue to learn more about the lives that my late grandparents lived here on Ubin, as well as the lives of everyone else within the Pulau Ubin community who grew old together with them.

In early 2019, I have also started on a community outreach initiative on the island called "WUJ Kampung Clean-Up", a monthly clean-up project where we focus on helping our residents in cleaning up their courtyards and houses so that they may continue to feel proud and happy at how beautiful their kampung is. 

In September 2020, WUJ's second community outreach initiative was launched in conjunction with Pesta Ubin, titled "Wan Go Jalan?" where I bring participants on a tour around the Malay kampungs of Pulau Ubin; namely Kampung Sungei Durian and former Kampung Surau. Throughout the tour, I relay stories that have been passed down to me by the residents as well as explore the historical sites that once existed there such as Sekolah Melayu Pulau Ubin, Pulau Ubin Mosque etc. Given the COVID-19 situation, this tour is conducted virtually online on WUJ Facebook Live.

I hope that through my blog, more people would come to learn and love what the rich heritage and diverse community of this island have to offer and with Pulau Ubin being home to Singapore's final authentic offshore kampung, I hope that we can all play a part together in preserving, protecting and celebrating our kampung culture, tradition, spirit and heritage and to recognise our kampungs as an invaluable part of our national identity.

WUJ IN THE MEDIA

I am also very happy to see how far Wan's Ubin Journal has grown in support and recognition since it was founded on July 24th, 2018, and I am humbled to share with you the media coverage that I have been featured in thus far:

Updated: 08 Sep 2020


Mustsharenews
Feb 19th, 2021

Mothership
Feb 19th, 2021

联合早报 (Lianhe Zaobao)
Feb 18th, 2021

联合早报 (Lianhe Zaobao)
Sep 8th, 2020

Mothership
Aug 15th, 2020

联合早报 (Lianhe Zaobao)
Jul 28th, 2020

Mustsharenews
Jul 27th, 2020

Mothership
Jul 27th, 2020

Mothership
Jun 22nd, 2020

Site Visits
Sep 30th, 2019

Berita Harian
Aug 13th, 2019

Mothership
Jul 17th, 2019

The Business Times
Jul 5th, 2019

BERITAmediacorp
Jun 17th, 2019

The Straits Times
Nov 21st, 2018

The New Paper
Oct 15th, 2018

BERITAmediacorp
Aug 18th, 2018

Our Grandfather Story
Jul 17th, 2018


TESTIMONIALS

I'm also very touched to have received encouragement, support, blessings and other positive feedback from the people I have come across throughout my time with WUJ so far. Here's what some of them have to say:

"Syazwan is doing really important work interviewing more former residents and piecing together the social history of Pulau Ubin. [...] Syazwan is doing the kind of work that I hope to see more of. More power to you, Syazwan!"

- Dr Imran bin Tajudeen, Assistant Professor and Visiting Senior Fellow, Department of Malay Studies, National University of Singapore

"Even more precious than the Pulau Ubin villagers and the heritage and life that they embody, are youths who are passionate to revive and rebuild the Ubin kampung community. I support Syazwan's initiative to bring life back on Ubin and urge all who love Ubin to encourage and support him too."

- Ms Ria Tan, Blogger, wildSingapore 

"I am in awe in the steps taken by Mr Syazwan because he wants to know and really understand his family roots. We want to improve in ourselves and I believe that is the main point of this heritage tour; where we dwell into our culture (and) history, to instil confidence (and) ability (into ourselves) so that it can guide us into facing the challenges of today." 

- Mr Amrin Amin, Former Senior Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of Health, Former MP for Sembawang GRC

"Who will tell the stories of other Singapores, the ones beyond the mainland, the bright lights and skyscrapers? Wan's outreach and efforts to the revival of Pulau Ubin is an important, inspiring work that has given me glimpses and windows into the Singapores we don't often see; his project reminds us that we all can do our part in helping to preserve other memories of our island home."

- Mr Choo Ruizhi, Writer, Singapore Stories 

"Some people believe that genes skip a generation. I met Syazwan, a third-generation descendant of an "Ubinite". He is a young man full of zest and life who also possesses an old world courtesy and wisdom. While Ubin wasn't the island that Syazwan grew up in, his bond with the islanders were unmistakable. A gentle respectful greeting followed by short exchanges of pleasantries very quickly connected this young man with people who are at least three times his age. I am humbled by Syazwan's passion and drive to do good to the community that was almost forgotten in the face of rapid development. Just like the kind deeds that Awang Minyak had accomplished more than half a century ago, we see his grandson providing Ubin with that similar sense of hope as he plants the seeds to keep a large part of these memories alive. In his words, "we do not have to ponder about our past when we live it in the present.""

- Mr Yuen Kah Mun, Master Teacher, Ministry of Education (MOE)

"I have been impressed with Syazwan’s passion for fostering community spirit, respect of the elderly and his keen enthusiasm for promoting cultural heritage to others.  He shows a deep pride in being Singaporean, helping others and working hard towards what he believes in.  I strongly recommend Syazwan in work that involves the community as he is a motivated individual, willing to learn and contribute to society in whatever way he can."

- Dr Adrian Loo, Group Director for Conservation, National Parks Board (NParks)

"Wan never grew up here, and his mother had not lived on Pulau Ubin since 1989. Still, the value of his grandparent’s role in the community has endowed him with such a powerful sense of urgency for retaining the community that he has run his website for over a year now with constant posts and community outreach. He knows the island is short on manpower, so the best thing he could do for the remaining residents is to find that help. By inviting us to this spirit of assisting on another, Wan invited us to experience the Kampong Spirit for ourselves, which in itself was an invaluable gift. What Wan’s community outreach demonstrates is how embracing modernity can save the Kampong. By using social media to share the kampong experience, he can bring in outsiders and residents alike to help keep what matters most about the Kampong spirit; the people."

- Mr Andrew Campbell Nelson, Architectural Photographer and Writer, Site Visits

"I was just here just two weeks ago for Pesta Raya@Ubin, one of the highlights of this year’s Pesta Ubin. More than 350 former islanders returned to celebrate Hari Raya over makan, games, and fellowship with each other. It was very heartwarming and wonderful to see so many Ubin families of all races coming together, bringing their children and grandchildren along, reconnecting with their shared heritage on his island. The event was organised by Mr Syazwan Majid, who is a Friends of Ubin Network (FUN) member, and whose family members are also former Ubinites. Over the course of three months, Syazwan worked closely with NParks and FUN to organise this homecoming for the Ubin families." 

- Mr Desmond Lee, Second Minister for National Development, Minister for Social and Family Development, MP for Jurong GRC

"Thumbs up to Syazwan for his effort to preserve Pulau Ubin. A young man who  is enthusiastic, energetic and possesses a "never say die" spirit. As someone who was brought up on the island, my heart is always with Pulau Ubin and having our island preserved is the best that I could hope for. (You can) help Syazwan's dream come true by showing your support, sharing his vision and be part of the team. May his dreams of preserving and restoring Pulau Ubin become a reality." 

- Mr Khairuddin Ahamad, Pulau Ubin resident

UPDATED: 02 Mar 2021 12:00 PM

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