Monday, September 02, 2013

Of days gone by and confronting fears

Taxi uncles on Pulau Ubin. There are taxis on the island, ready to ferry visitors who don't fancy cycling around the island. (Photo taken with Fujipet Thunderbird.)
When Terence said he'd like to bring me cycling on Pulau Ubin on my birthday, I was pretty sure I'd have a horrible time. I don't cycle well. There were occasions where I've been reduced to a sobbing, snivelling wreck while cycling as I was convinced I'll crash and kill myself.

It's an issue of confidence or lack thereof.

So. I was surprised by how enjoyable it was to cycle on Pulau Ubin, and how nice it was to see the island again. I didn't crash into a tree. I didn't fall. I didn't kill myself or anybody else. All I got were mosquito bites while riding to Chek Jawa.

Bumboat uncle ((Photo taken with Fujipet Thunderbird.)
If you are unlucky, you can end up waiting a long time for a ferry to and from the island because the ferry operators have to wait for enough people before they'll power up their engine. It costs S$2.50 per ride.

Everything's broken down. (Photo taken with Fujipet Thunderbird.)
I kind of forget how backward Singapore was in the 70s. But we were really backward. I remember collecting the colourful SBS bus ticket stubs from all my bus journeys. And how Chinatown really smelled. You can get a glimpse of those colours in Pulau Ubin.

A broken-down jetty points to the mainland. (Photo taken with Fujipet Thunderbird.)
Even then, I can see how progress has caught up in Pulau Ubin. There were actually people manning the remote information kiosk at the entrance to Chek Jawa. There were bins right smack in the forest for your trash, and a few wild boar would walk pass them without even lifting a curious snout.

Seriously?! The National Parks Board sends people to clear trash and answer questions in the middle of nowhere? Wow.

This experience is a little poetic. I confronted my fear of cycling on a not-so-backward island. I kind of missed the old Singapore but I was glad to be back in the air-con comfort of my room. :p

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