FOR THE LOVE OF UBIN

Location : The Living Fisher Village, Pulau Ubin (otherwise known as Ah Kok's house)

Duration: 1 month

It was my second time there but FIRST in really going over to the house where the resident lives.  This visit last year was a collaboration with Artsolute which runs a community project in line with Pesta Ubin to give awareness to the mainlanders and outsiders of the beauty of this island that still has its old kampong charm.   As I just finished my project in Chinatown, I figured the timing was right for another project and had always been curious about this island.  

The wall was not originally the intended project but as we went along talking with the residents that Terence Tan (who is the head coordinating this project) mentioned to me that I could do the wall at Ah Kok's house which was about 20-30 minutes walk from the entrance of the island and roughly about 8-10 minutes by bicycle. 

As I had not ridden on a bike for some years since the accident, I told myself I just had to get on to riding it again.  There were helpers who assisted to meet me at the entrance on Day 1 and also sweet Jodie who helped carried my haversack on her bag.  We settled for the duo bike as I wasn't confident enough to ride on my own.  

When I started with the wall, I realised then I had to ride on my own on days when there was no one around and I did not want to depend on anyone for help.  I then resolved and picked up the courage and rode the bike on my own the remaining days I was there till the end of the project.  Without this experience, I won't know when I would be able to ride the bike again and I am thankful that this happened. 

 

 

 

 

 Can you feel the happiness and a feeling of accomplishment here that I finally got to ride on the bike all the way to the house? This pic was taken the first day I became independent on the bike! 

Can you feel the happiness and a feeling of accomplishment here that I finally got to ride on the bike all the way to the house? This pic was taken the first day I became independent on the bike! 

 And so the work began and I started off by first washing off the grime off the old rusted wall that's made of aluminium and the surface was jagged and undulating so it was pretty challenging to paint on such a surface.  I took a pic of the mother's face from one of the pictures hanging in their rooms and I chose this one cos she was smiling and wanted to keep her spirit alive by portraying her as being eternally happy. 

And so the work began and I started off by first washing off the grime off the old rusted wall that's made of aluminium and the surface was jagged and undulating so it was pretty challenging to paint on such a surface.  I took a pic of the mother's face from one of the pictures hanging in their rooms and I chose this one cos she was smiling and wanted to keep her spirit alive by portraying her as being eternally happy. 

 Ah Ma looking out of the window from inside which is like a hall where the guests sit.  It is a large  living space where the kayakers and visitors sit and hang around and have their meals there. Behind her lies the fridge and florescent lights above on the ceiling.  With her being there, makes it seem like she is still around always smiling away -- that's how she was - a happy free spirited being filled with love especially for her family. 

Ah Ma looking out of the window from inside which is like a hall where the guests sit.  It is a large  living space where the kayakers and visitors sit and hang around and have their meals there. Behind her lies the fridge and florescent lights above on the ceiling.  With her being there, makes it seem like she is still around always smiling away -- that's how she was - a happy free spirited being filled with love especially for her family. 

 The wall as it is.  I already had a picture in mind then to fill this wall up.  Wanted to bring back happy memories for Ah Kok who's the sole occupant in this large house!  His siblings have all moved out. 

The wall as it is.  I already had a picture in mind then to fill this wall up.  Wanted to bring back happy memories for Ah Kok who's the sole occupant in this large house!  His siblings have all moved out. 

 From the mother, I then moved on to populating the wall with figures of children.  I had to do an interview with Ah Kok on how many siblings he has and what they did as children in this house.  Altogether, there are six children and I tried to depict them playing games we used to play when we were young.  Had to hold certain sections of the wall down as the surface was uneven and the wall was held by nails.  Understand these residents had been living there around 40 years or more. 

From the mother, I then moved on to populating the wall with figures of children.  I had to do an interview with Ah Kok on how many siblings he has and what they did as children in this house.  Altogether, there are six children and I tried to depict them playing games we used to play when we were young.  Had to hold certain sections of the wall down as the surface was uneven and the wall was held by nails.  Understand these residents had been living there around 40 years or more. 

 That's Ah Kok and his beloved mother who I believed paid special attention and more love to him than the others cos he was a special child.  I felt sad to learn that she had passed on one morning only a few years ago when she fell while collecting water from the well nearby.  There is a bond between them that I could feel when I was there.  It made me miss my own mother and grandmother when I was doing this too. 

That's Ah Kok and his beloved mother who I believed paid special attention and more love to him than the others cos he was a special child.  I felt sad to learn that she had passed on one morning only a few years ago when she fell while collecting water from the well nearby.  There is a bond between them that I could feel when I was there.  It made me miss my own mother and grandmother when I was doing this too. 

 There was a photoshoot.  It seemed word got around and we had visitors especially on weekends who wanted to catch a glimpse of the wall.   The little boy standing was trying out a bit of paint onto the pyjamas hanging on the pole.  

There was a photoshoot.  It seemed word got around and we had visitors especially on weekends who wanted to catch a glimpse of the wall.   The little boy standing was trying out a bit of paint onto the pyjamas hanging on the pole.  

 Ah Kok told me he used to play football which was his favourite game so here this boy is a metaphor of him as a child with his sister who's into five stones.  The monkey was added after I saw him coming over to visit around noon or lunchtime almost every day in search of food. 

Ah Kok told me he used to play football which was his favourite game so here this boy is a metaphor of him as a child with his sister who's into five stones.  The monkey was added after I saw him coming over to visit around noon or lunchtime almost every day in search of food. 

 As the floor surface was also not smooth, I had to sit at an uncomfortable angle in order to reach and with one hand holding down the wall, that was how I drew the chickens... You don't see any roaming around nowadays but there were a familiar sight those days so just had to add them. 

As the floor surface was also not smooth, I had to sit at an uncomfortable angle in order to reach and with one hand holding down the wall, that was how I drew the chickens... You don't see any roaming around nowadays but there were a familiar sight those days so just had to add them. 

  Another pix someone took of me doing up Ah Ma...

 Another pix someone took of me doing up Ah Ma...

 Viola! The handsome pair immortalised on the wall minus their little brood (due to lack of space). 

Viola! The handsome pair immortalised on the wall minus their little brood (due to lack of space). 

 The sketch of the house before I proceed to paint.  The top part was scrapped as the ground floor didn't provide a safe space for me to stand up to paint and I didn't want to risk any fall or injury.  

The sketch of the house before I proceed to paint.  The top part was scrapped as the ground floor didn't provide a safe space for me to stand up to paint and I didn't want to risk any fall or injury.  

 Closer look of the monkey a regular visitor to the house. 

Closer look of the monkey a regular visitor to the house. 

 Next on the left side - I added the other siblings. Total 3 girls and 3 boys.

Next on the left side - I added the other siblings. Total 3 girls and 3 boys.

 One of the younger brother who was there on a weekend.  It was such a heartwarming sight to see them standing by their mother...

One of the younger brother who was there on a weekend.  It was such a heartwarming sight to see them standing by their mother...

 Decided to paint the extreme left wall at the end of it all to blend in with the forestation at the back and the family dog needs to be there too since it's part of the family and Ah Kok's constant companion. Hat and sickle drawn by Ethan who was one of the volunteers. 

Decided to paint the extreme left wall at the end of it all to blend in with the forestation at the back and the family dog needs to be there too since it's part of the family and Ah Kok's constant companion. Hat and sickle drawn by Ethan who was one of the volunteers. 

 The entire wall Hope and trust this brings Ah Kok and his siblings much happiness and consolation and a feeling that their mother is always there keeping watch over them. 

The entire wall Hope and trust this brings Ah Kok and his siblings much happiness and consolation and a feeling that their mother is always there keeping watch over them. 

 This is a the left section of the entire land space where the bedrooms and toilets are and where many family pictures are forming precious memories for them. 

This is a the left section of the entire land space where the bedrooms and toilets are and where many family pictures are forming precious memories for them. 

 The living space when you arrive to the place.  Notice the dugong which forms part of the landscape.  An exhibition was held here to commemorate the end of the project. 

The living space when you arrive to the place.  Notice the dugong which forms part of the landscape.  An exhibition was held here to commemorate the end of the project. 

 Volunteers helping to varnish the wall at the end. 

Volunteers helping to varnish the wall at the end. 

 Visitors to the exhibition. 

Visitors to the exhibition. 

 Follow Your Heart - one of the four artworks displayed during the exhibition.  Acrylic done on canvas - Available for sale 20" x 16" unframed

Follow Your Heart - one of the four artworks displayed during the exhibition.  Acrylic done on canvas - Available for sale 20" x 16" unframed

 UBIN My Love - 20" x 16" acrylic on canvas.  This one depicts the view as you approach the island from the bumboat. The attap houses land a charm and beauty to the place and gives a very kampong and rustic feel...

UBIN My Love - 20" x 16" acrylic on canvas.  This one depicts the view as you approach the island from the bumboat. The attap houses land a charm and beauty to the place and gives a very kampong and rustic feel...

 Ubin My Home - 20" x 16" acrylic on canvas done en pleinair right there by the shore...It was a blissful afternoon as I sat in the sun soaking up the peacefulness around me just doing what I love most...

Ubin My Home - 20" x 16" acrylic on canvas done en pleinair right there by the shore...It was a blissful afternoon as I sat in the sun soaking up the peacefulness around me just doing what I love most...

 The Living Fisher Village - 20"x 16" acrylic on canvas.  Ubin is the last known living fisher village there is in urbanised Singapore and it's time to do something about preserving this island and hope it won't give way to modernisation...Restoration is more the word...Long Live Ubin!

The Living Fisher Village - 20"x 16" acrylic on canvas.  Ubin is the last known living fisher village there is in urbanised Singapore and it's time to do something about preserving this island and hope it won't give way to modernisation...Restoration is more the word...Long Live Ubin!

 My very first sketch when I visited Ubin - from inside looking out from a home that serves cold drinks in Kampong Durian. 

My very first sketch when I visited Ubin - from inside looking out from a home that serves cold drinks in Kampong Durian. 

 Looks different when not out in the sun, doesn't it? Final after touching up at home. 

Looks different when not out in the sun, doesn't it? Final after touching up at home. 

 Another sketch this time of the temple which is not far from the house.  You won't notice it till you walk or cycle right in.  The flags add color to the place and it was very quiet on a weekday.  Thats the beauty and lure of Ubin - once you go there, you want to return...

Another sketch this time of the temple which is not far from the house.  You won't notice it till you walk or cycle right in.  The flags add color to the place and it was very quiet on a weekday.  Thats the beauty and lure of Ubin - once you go there, you want to return...

 And now the Ubinites I got to know during my time there.   Their faces are so interesting.  

And now the Ubinites I got to know during my time there.   Their faces are so interesting.  

 Found this one which I did of the kelong that belongs to Philip Lin the owner and founder of Living Fisher Village. 

Found this one which I did of the kelong that belongs to Philip Lin the owner and founder of Living Fisher Village.