Lost villages of Pulau Ubin

Armed with only his mother’s photographs and directions from an old friend, Mr Syazwan Majid goes in search of an abandoned village where his grandparents used to live.

SINGAPORE - Mr Syazwan Majid grew up listening to his mother reminisce about her lost kampung in Pulau Ubin.

"It was like a broken record," the 22-year-old full-time national serviceman said.

But the repeated stories gradually piqued his curiosity in both the island and his family's heritage.

Mr Syazwan began to wonder if his family's old house was still standing in Ubin, since the island had yet to undergo a large-scale development.

In March this year, armed with just his mother's old photos of her kampung, he decided to make a trip to Ubin to answer the niggling question in his mind.

"I was a fool. I just remained stubborn and thought that the house could still be standing even though it had already been abandoned for 20 to 30 years," he said.

His journey to trace his family's home has come a long way since.

Other than finding his ancestors' house on Pulau Ubin, he also found friends in former and current residents of Ubin. 

The process culminated in the Balik Kampung event on Nov 10, which had about 12 former residents and their family members gather on the island for a reunion.

"For many years, these former residents of Pulau Ubin had not returned, so I thought I should do something about it," he said.

"This homecoming is really just a celebration for all these people to come back, and to celebrate the Ubin community."