Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Faces behind the Chinese Opera (Pulau Ubin) - Part II

The Pulau Ubin Tua Pek Kong Temple Festival features the Chinese Opera troupe from 新新榮和潮州劇團 / Xin Xin Rong He / Sin Sin Yong Hwa Teochew Opera Troupe. Below are Part II of the photos i took backstage on the 21st of May 2016. Once again, I am thankful that the troupe allowed me to go backstage and to capture their private moments preparing for their big event.

Although personally, i don't really understand the going-on's that take place during the Chinese opera, but i am touched by the effort's the artisan's go back preparing for the "big" performance for the deity and the people that happen to be watching it as well.

Related Post

Faces behind the Chinese Opera (Pulau Ubin)-Part I, posted on May 23,2016
Ubin Temple Festival, posted on May 19, 2011


新新榮和潮州劇團 Xin Xin Rong He Teochew Opera, Facebook Group

Monday, May 23, 2016

Faces behind the Chinese Opera (Pulau Ubin) - Part I

The Pulau Ubin Tua Pek Kong Temple Festival starts from Friday, 20th May and ends on Wednesday, 25th May. The festival according to the regular temple goers is held annually around the same time as Vesak Day. My last temple festival visit was in 2011 and i thought it will be good to pay a visit again, this time to take some pictures of faces behind the wayang or Chinese opera scene that is. The Chinese Opera troupe performing this year is 新新榮和潮州劇團 / Xin Xin Rong He / Sin Sin Yong Hwa Teochew Opera Troupe. Below are Part I of the photos i took backstage on the 21st of May 2016. I am thankful that the troupe allowed me to go backstage and to capture their private moments preparing for their big event.

See next post: Faces behind the Chinese Opera (Pulau Ubin)-Part II, posted on May 24, 2016

Related Post

Ubin Temple Festival, posted on May 19, 2011

新新榮和潮州劇團 Xin Xin Rong He Teochew Opera, Facebook Group

Friday, May 20, 2016

Heritage Fest 2016 - Ubin

On May 14 and 15, i volunteered to be guide in Pulau Ubin in conjunction with National Heritage Board's Heritage Fest 2016.  The tour was called the Ubin Experience Tour and majority of the volunteer guides were also volunteer guides with NParks with the exception of myself. I have visited Ubin many times and explored the various nooks and corners but i never participated in an organised tour before, nor ever volunteered to be a guide in Ubin. So this was a first for me !

I also learned during my training by the National Heritage Board,  more insights on the history of the places that i brought my participants to. I decided to also do my own further reading and research of this places from an heritage perspective so that i can value add further. On May 15, one of the participants shared with me he was a supplier of quarry materials to Ho Mon Choo Quarry (now known as Pekan Quarry)

Ubin jetty all dress up for the Tua Pek Kong festival

Ubin jetty looking very pretty for the Tua Pek Kong festival 

Some of the places we brought our tour participants include the kampong house of Ahmad bin Kassim, No 1 Ubin (Tudor style house and now Chek Jawa Visitor Centre) , German Girl Shrine, Ah Ma drink store and former prawn farm) and finally Pekan Quarry (Municipal Quarry No. 1 or Ho Mon Choo Quarry). The entire tour was conducted via a van which stop at the various places providing a snapshot of heritage and nature of Pulau Ubin.

I will find time to blog about all the places i visited (if i not blog about it before, e.g. i wrote the German girl article back in February 2012) and post it up in the near future, however for this article, i will like to share some of the pictures of Ubin which i found interesting when i made my way there before the tour started.

Bum boat repairs and maintenance 

One of the first thing that caught my eye was the boat maintenance that was taking place during low tide near the jetty. The boat was tilting on its side and i could see it clean of barnacles that would have gathered or adhered to the hull of the boat. Too much barnacles will cause considerable drag on the boat slowing it down and for wooden boats, it may cause long term damage as well. When i arrived, a Malay and Chinese gentlemen who were working on the boats were taking a break in the wooden stilt house on the left. It is heartening to see that such traditional trades are still active in the offshore islands of Singapore. The last i saw boat repairs was at a river in Ubin overlooking Pulau Ketam.

Bumboat repairs and maintenance taking place

Bumboat repair man taking a well deserved break 

Hull clean of barnacles 

Reminders of Granite Mining at the Temple

Another place that i want to draw attention to is the Pulau Ubin Fo Shan Ting Da Bo Gong Temple, It's location is close to Ubin jetty on a hill called 佛 山 (Buddha Hill) and there is something that is so obvious here, but some people might have overlooked- a reminder that granite used to be mine in this area. Just behind the shrine of the Eath God (土地公), there is large granite stone and visible on its surface are cutting marks by machinery.

Pulau Ubin Fo Shan Ting Da Bo Gong Temple

Pulau Ubin Fo Shan Ting Da Bo Gong Temple caretaker checking me out 

The Granite stone behind the Earth Deity

Cut marks on the granite

After the short exploration, it is back to my guiding duties. I enjoyed myself and sincerely hope that for those i guided enjoyed themselves too and for both dates managed to gather everyone to take a group picture of the participants along with the guides.

May 14th  (9:30 am tour participants and guides) 

May 15th (4:30 pm tour participants and guides) 

Singapore Heritage Fest  2016 in Ubin

Related Articles

Heritage Fest 2016 -Ubin, posted on May 20, 2016
Qing Ming in Ubin (April 10, 2016), posted on April 10, 2016
German Girl Shrine, posted on February 5, 2014
Ubin Island- one of the World's most secret island, posted on January 01, 2012
427 Pulau Ubin and the former village head, posted on November 16, 2011
Ubin Temple Festival, posted on May 19, 2011

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Dr. Lim Eng Hae (Mount Vernon Columbarium)

Dr. Lim Eng Hae, J.P. (November 11, 1899-December 12, 1939) is a well known eye specialist in Singapore. He is the second son of Mr. Lim Chean Hock (a prominent planter and merchant in Penang). Born in Penang and receiving his early education in St. Xavier's Institution, Lim Eng Hae went on to further his studies in Hong Kong University for medical studies and graduated in 1922. He obtained the Ho Fook scholarship and was in charge of ophthalmic work at Tung Wah Hospital.

Dr. Lim Eng Hae 

Lim Eng Hae studied in London at the Royal London Ophthalmic Hospital where he gained his D.O.M.S (R.C.P. & S., Eng) 1926. He did Post Graduate work at the Charite Hospital, Berlin and while he was in Brussels, he studied at St. Jean Hospital, At Paris, Lim Eng Hae worked under Prof. Lariboisiere. He also studied in the Punjab on eye operations under Rai Bahadur Mava Das. While taking the Rockefeller Foundation scholarship in 1924, he worked at Peiping Union Medical College under Professor A. Fuchs.

A Public Worker 

Dr. Lim started his Penang practice in 1927 and came over to Singapore in December 1929 and opened his practice at 9 Hill Street. He was appointed a Justice of Peace in 1935 and was for many years connected with both the Child Welfare Society and with the St. Andrew's Mission Hospital. He and his wife also contributed actively in aid of the China Relief Fund. He is a member of the committee of S.C.B.C.A ; Vice President Child Welfare Society; Vice President of the Rotary Club; President of the Community Service Guild

Discharged from Bankruptcy

Dr. Lim Eng Hae face a very difficult year in 1936-1937 and he was made a bankrupt on his own petition on August 21, 1936 , submitting s statement of his liabilities amounting to $16,489,76 that was due to 11 creditors. His residence was listed as 128 Sophie Road. The reason for his financial struggle stem from him standing surety for his mother ($12,000) and brother ($29,000). Because of the stigma on being a bankrupt, he reported in court to say that his monthly income of $1000 decline to $480. The article gives more insight of his lifestyle, which i will not write in detail here. Dr. Lim Eng Hae was discharged from bankruptcy and ordered to pay to the Official Assignee quarterly anything over $300 of his net income per month and also submitting his accounts quarterly.


Dr. Lim Eng Hae passed away at the age of 40 at the General Hospital on December 12, 1939. He was buried in Bidadari Cemetery. At some point in time when the Bidadari Christian Cemetery was reclaimed for development, the remains of  Dr. Lim was moved to Mount Vernon Columbarium Complex. With the impending development of Mount Vernon, he will have to move home again.

Dr. Lim Eng Hae


Wife: Helena Lauw 
Dr. Lim Eng Hae married Miss Helena Lauw, eldest daughter of Lauw Tjeng Kit,(a well known tea and rubber merchant in Java. Helena Lauw was herself educated in Holland and America.

They had 6 children, 4 sons (Lim Ewe Cheang, Lim Ewe Huat, Lim Ewe Hin, Lim Ewe Yang) and 2 daughters (Lim Keow Sian, Lim Keow Cheng). First born in London, Second in Java and 3rd in Penang. The rest were born in Singapore. Mrs Lim Eng Hae nee Helena Lauw has also been active in social work.  Vice President Child Welfare Society, President of the Chinese section of the Y.M.C.A. and a member of the Po Leung Kuk.

Mrs Helen Lim Eng Hae passed away on Oct. 31st 1978. She leaves behind her daughters: Elsie Quahe and Cynthia Tchou, sons: Lim Ewe Cheang, Lim Ewe Huat, Lim Ewe Hin, Lim Ewe Yang;  Son-In-Law: Beng Chuan and Peter, and Daughters-in-Law: Marilyn, Evelyn, Phee Hong and Lily, and grandson-in-law Graham and 11 grandchildren.


Domestic Occurrences. (1939, December 13). The Singapore Free Press
Death of Dr. Lim Eng Hae. (1939, December 13). Morning Tribune
Dr. Lim Eng Hae (1935, July 7). The Straits Times, page 13
Debts Due to Standing Surety for Mother. Dr. Lim Eng Hae Discharged. (1937, June 19). The Straits Times.
Deaths. (1978, November 1). The Straits Times, page 25

Monday, May 09, 2016

Tan Lay Ho (Mount Vernon Columbarium)

Madam Tan Lay Ho's niche caught my eye while i was exploring the pagoda tower of the Mount Vernon Columbarium Complex. Her niche identifies her as Mrs Lim Chong Kuo. Mr Lim Chong Kuo, whose tomb is in Bukit Brown was the eldest son of Mr. Lim Nee Soon and Madam Tan Lay Ho herself comes from a distinguished family, being the second daughter of Mr and Mrs. Tan Kah Kee.

Mrs. Lim Chong Kuo nee Madam Tan Lay Ho 

Mr Lim Chong Kuo married Miss Tan Lay Ho in September 1923. He worked for the Lee Rubber Co. He passed away  in Leysin, Switzerland on 23rd Feb 1938 at the age of 36. His ashes was flown back to Singapore and was buried beside his mother in Bukit Brown on March 13. He left behind his widow, a son (Lim Eng Leng, Victor) and a daughter (Lim Seok Lan, Betty).

Mr. and Mrs. Lim Chong Kuo
Mr and Mrs Lim Chong Kuo

Wedding of Mr. Lim Chong Kuo and Miss Tan Lay Ho at Garden Club, Tanah Merah (1923)

Lim Chong Kuo's tomb in Bukit Brown 

Thursday, May 05, 2016

A Japanese Memorial Tomb (near Mount Faber)

Erected by the Imperial Japanese Navy for 小本江笠 is a solitary memorial tomb that greets the explorers who makes their way uphill from Keppel Hill Reservoir. It is the tomb of a Japanese Civilian Naval staff whose name could be Omoto Egasa. The story of the person is not totally lost to us, as the Chinese inscriptions carved on the stone tell us the story of this person.

The other sections describes 小本江笠 as a Civilian Naval Engineer who lived to the age of 47. Born in 1895 March, he graduated in March 1920 from the Tokyo University with a shipbuilding course. In August 1920, he started working for the Mitsubishi Kobe Ship Construction Company. He was sent to Singapore (Syonan) in February 1942 to develop the shipping construction industry in Singapore, He died in July 1942, just 4 months after he arrived due to illness.

Whatever role 小本江笠 played, the fact remains that there was a huge memorial built for him on the slopes of Mount Faber overlooking Keppel Harbour and it was built at a great expense with proper foundation and brick shoring to ensure his memorial stone will last the test of time.

Name:  小本江笠 / Omoto Egasa / Komoto Ekasa

Solitary Japanese Memorial tombstone on the slopes of Mount Faber 

This memorial tombstone tells the story of 小本江笠  

The start of the brick stairway 

Brick stairway going uphill

Alexandra Brick (local sourced brick from the former Alexandra Brickworks)

Brick shore to prevent soil erosion of the Japanese Tomb area

A Stone Marker 

While exploring the area, we came across a stone marker that in the past was possibly use to inform anyone in the area that the land they are on, belonged to a person described on the marker. This stone marker has the initials N.H.D.  The initials are of the New Harbour Dock Company. In this case, the land belonged to a company.

Stone Marker with initials N.H.D. 

Related Article

Keppel Hill Reservoir(The Lost Reservoir), posted on January 22, 2015.

Keppel Hill Reservoir


Picture of 小本江笠  made available with assistance from Raymond Goh. The article comes from Society of Naval Architect. Issue 248 Nov 1942  pg 601 and 602. (online)
Initials N.H.D identified with thanks to Mok Ly Yng and Charles Goh.

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Birdwatching in Pasir Ris Park (April 30, 2016)

I was hoping to see the Pied Fantail chicks in their nest, but when i arrived all i saw was an empty nest. Later i found out that they have already fledged. That is indeed happy news for the proud parents who continue to feed and protect them until they are fully independent.

Fledged Pied Fantails still dependent on parent for food

Pied Fantail parent keeping an eye on its young

Another similar story of renewal takes place is this Park, with sightings of 2 juvenile Oriental Pied Hornbill accompanied by an Adult Pair (presumably their parents).

Adult Oriental Pied Hornbill 

Juvenile Oriental Pied Hornbill 

Parent and Juvenile Oriental Pied Hornbill

On my way out of the Park, the sound of the Lesser Flame-back Woodpecker's reminded me they are also thriving here.

Two female Lesser Flameback Woodpecker 

Male Lesser Flameback Woodpecker