48 Singaporean Seconds: Just call this Singaporean Mr Ubin

Singapore celebrates its 48th birthday on Aug 9, and to tie in with this, The Straits Times Photo Desk has put together 48 Singaporean Seconds, an audio-visual tribute to Singaporeans who have made this little red dot their home.

We are releasing their stories and videos in the next few weeks. In the 20th instalment of our series, we talk to development manager Ubin Khoo.

Ubin Khoo, 34, business development manager

Once people hear his name, they don't forget it. After all, Mr Ubin Khoo is named after the rustic isle, Pulau Ubin, which means "granite island" in Malay.

His father once owned a zinc-roofed vacation house on the island. Mr Khoo, a business development manager in a private education firm, remembers spending school holidays there doing what kampung kids do: running in the rain and catching fish in streams.

"We had a well in front of the house where my brother and I would shower," he says. "The joke of the day was that if you wanted hot water, you use the red bucket. And if you wanted cold water, you use the blue bucket."

Even though the house was sold in the mid-1980s, the family still heads to the island to enjoy the fresh seafood.

Mr Khoo, whose father is Chinese Singaporean and mother Irish, believes these childhood memories keep him rooted to his country of birth.

The father of two sons says he gets a lot of questions about his background. "But the one thing I did while growing up was to remember I am a Singaporean," he says.

- Photos and videos by The Straits Times Picture Desk