Balik Pulau (Back To The Islands)


Temple 2

It was by chance that I was able to join in a tour to the southern islands of Singapore, organised in conjunction with the latest exhibition held at the National Museum of Singapore – ‘Balik Pulau: Stories from Singapore Islands’. That was about a month ago, on one hot and sunny day. The journey took us from the Marina South Pier to St. John’s Island, followed by the Lazarus Island and then finally to the Kusu Island.

These offshore islands are like time capsules – they bring us back in time to revisit Singapore during the early 20th century – a period of time when her piers and harbours were already busy with incoming and outgoing sampans, bumboats, lighters, as well as huge steamships that docked nearby. Although the epitome of these islands is long gone, it is not difficult to imagine the liveliness and the hustle and bustle of exchanges and activities that must have gone on at these islands back then since most of their landscapes have remained unchanged till this day. Well, most of them, except for the few which have seen recent developments, such as the newly reclaimed parts of the Lazarus Island.

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