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In 2018, I had a dream of rebuilding and restoring our Malay kampung. Today, I take that first step in turning this dream into a reality and am asking for your help.

We're seeking to form a group of volunteers for the restoration of House 6J in Kampung Sungei Durian, Pulau Ubin — into a community gallery and Muslim prayer space for the residents and visitors here.

Background

House 6J is a traditional Malay kampung house in Kampung Sungei Durian, Pulau Ubin. Once vacant, the Singapore Land Authority (SLA) handed over the house to the National Parks Board (NParks) in 2015.

In 2018, NParks has identified five kampung houses that would be restored for community use; of which included House 6J. Wan's Ubin Journal has since reserved it and is excited to follow through with our community-centric proposal!

Community Gallery

To complement other cultural exhibit sites such as Teck Seng's Place and House 22E, the community gallery aims to showcase personal anecdotes, stories, and memorabilia of the Ubin Orang Pulau community.

This space would allow visitors to learn more of our way of life, and for the community to own a sense of custodianship in reclaiming the narrative of their island home.

Muslim Prayer Space

Following the demolition of the Pulau Ubin Mosque, the Ubin Orang Pulau community — as well as Muslim visitors to the island — does not have a communal space to perform their prayers over the past two decades.

The establishment of a Muslim prayer space will help to address this.

Project Leads

Nor Syazwan Bin Abdul Majid

Nor Syazwan Bin Abdul Majid — Wan — is a descendant of the Ubin Orang Pulau and advocates for the conservation and celebration of his community's culture and heritage through his social platform, "Wan's Ubin Journal". Fascinated by the rich sociocultural elements of island living on Pulau Ubin from his mother, he calls for the continued protection of Singapore's last surviving kampung for her Orang Pulau community. Wan is currently a full-time undergraduate pursuing a Bachelors in Social Work and Minor in Sociology.

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Raja Mohd Fairuz

Raja Mohd Fairuz graduated from the National University of Singapore with a Bachelor in Arts (Architecture) and holds a Master of Architecture from the National University of Singapore. Raja Mohd Fairuz has been a full-time lecturer with Ngee Ann Polytechnic since 2012 teaching Architecture in the Diploma in Design course. He is also the founding co-chair of etc.lab, a design research and consultancy arm of the School of Design & Environment, which aim to use design to effect social, environmental and economic change in the community they work with both locally and overseas.

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How can you help?

We are looking for youth volunteers (16 - 35 years old) who could support us in any of the following three aspects:

Spatial Planning and Design (Architecture)

Volunteers in this aspect will be introduced to traditional vernacular architecture by reviewing and studying the construction of House 6J. With placemaking as a guiding principle, volunteers will then engage with the Ubin Orang Pulau community to identify their needs and wishes and involve them in the designing of this new community space. The team will then work together to draft out the design, in which it will be submitted over to NParks through the Friends of Ubin Network, and the relevant construction authorities for approval and reconstruction.


Volunteers who have experience in architecture (or are presently pursuing an education in architecture), CAD, and Adobe Creative Studio are preferred.

Curation of Stories and Artefacts (Research)

Volunteers in this aspect will be engaging with the Ubin Orang Pulau community to gather their stories, personal anecdotes, as well as memorabilia and artefacts which they would like to donate to be showcased in the Community Gallery. The team would also work together in designing these showcases and exhibits.


Volunteers who have experience in Visual Communication (or similar), and possess good people skills are preferred.

Media Documentation (Publicity)

Volunteers in this aspect will assist in documenting the project from the engagement to the completion of the community space. These media would also be used as publicity to be placed on WUJ's socials and website to keep the public updated on the project's progress and development.

Project Timeline

The project is expected to last from September to October 2023.

1 - 15 Aug

Open Call for Volunteers

16 - 30 Aug

Selection of Main Committee

1 - 14 Sep

Research & Documentation of Building and Engagement Sessions with Ubin Orang Pulau Community

15 - 28 Sep

Framing Insights and Co-Design of Spaces and Initial Cost Estimates

29 Sep

Presentation to Friends of Ubin Network

1 - 31 Oct

Refining Design Proposal

If you are keen and available, we humbly seek for you to apply as a volunteer with us. 

As we can only accept a limited number of volunteers to form the group, please be advised that only successful applicants will be informed towards mid-August.

In Conclusion

Ultimately, this placemaking project will take on an interdisciplinary approach where youths of different field and strengths can come together in keeping Singapore's last kampung for her Orang Pulau community alive, and in giving back to a community which has almost been forgotten.

Your involvement (even if it means by just sharing this open call on your socials or with your friends) will inspire hope and confidence not just for our indigenous community, but for all Singaporeans — that we, as the next generation, hone a social responsibility in keeping our shared heritage and spaces alive and are capable in doing so.

Thank you for your time and support.

Let's restore the dignity of our kampung, together.

Photo by: NURIA LING

6 Aug 2023 | TODAYonline | TAN MING CHUAN

Descendant of Pulau Ubin islanders on a mission to preserve heritage, culture of Muslim community there

Last updated: 07/08/2023

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