Monday, April 15, 2013

The Legend of Pulau Ubin

"The Legend of Pulau Ubin near Singapore." 15 Apr 2013 

The story I chose to consider was about one of the small islands that surround Singapore, Pulau Ubin. This is a small island whose main industries are mining and tourism, including trails for biking and hiking. The island has an interesting past, and as a result it now has many legends and myths revolving around it. During the occupation of the Singapore by the Japanese, it was said to be where they had brought soldiers to be tortured. That is a significant reason why people believe it’s haunted. 

The person from whom I heard the story is one of the students who lives across the hall from me on the 7th floor in La Plata. His family comes from India, but he lived in many places since birth, one of them being Singapore, and now his family lives in New Jersey. Also, he is nineteen years old. I collected the story on the afternoon of October 14th, it was right after we had all finished classes. When I asked the storyteller if he knew any ghost stories or urban legends and myths, he first attempted to respond with, “Casper”, but I told him no I need real things you have heard. After that he jumped right into the story from Singapore about Pulau Ubin: 

Ok, when I lived in Singapore, its an island and there were all these surrounding islands, and one was Pulau Ubin. Like it’s not ghetto, but not with fancy resorts. People would go there for hiking and biking, stuff like that. Before, there used to be animals, like tigers, but now there aren’t any. So you would hear about every year, no every two years like you hear of a family disappearing while they went there for hiking, the whole family. They would send search parties and stuff out, and later they would find pieces of meat, like human meat. They’ve searched the island many times for any signs of animals, but they never found any. 

Pulau Ubin is the site of many supernatural activities from what I gathered, ranging from ghost sightings, to hunts for spiritual burial grounds and graves. Singapore is a place with a great deal of concentrated wealth. Along with this is a massive wealth gap, which often leads to many interesting beliefs and ideas. The way the person I interviewed, told the story with such seriousness that I could tell he believed it. When I saw him the next day I was asking more things about his travels and he said that the stuff he had told me was, “No joke”. I tried to find articles directly related to this, but I was unable to find something that exactly matched it. While searching though, I found many other stories regarding supernatural occurrences. The island seems to be the center of many strange activities. One story is about a red ghost that had been seen on the perimeter of a training academy on the island, and the cadet reported what he had seen. The officers told him that this wasn’t the first time I had happened. Another story I obtained concerned 6 men who stayed on the island over night and had many encounters throughout the night: the first thing that happened was the door got blown off its hinges by nothing, then the sky turned dark red at 12 am, and there was a constant howling throughout the night. An interesting side note to the story is the one person who had been directly involved with the most sightings had a bad fall while going back to the boat to leave. The storyteller’s tale fit within a history of this allegedly supernatural activity occurring on this island. 

Even thought the story I chose is from Singapore, it can still be related to our own society. When one area becomes associated with a certain haunting others can develop. The Bermuda Triangle is associated with ships being lost there, as well as many other stories such as navigational systems that ships have becoming disabled. Also certain woods are said to be haunted, and that’s what lead to the Blair Witch Project. When one story is told about an area, it opens up the possibilities to others being created. Reoccurring ideas, such as certain colored appearances, like the color red in the two other stories often link the stories, lending them credibility. The search for the mysterious killers of the people and the flesh and meat being left over also lends credibility, because there is a solid material that is left over. So the one idea, leads too many others is a reoccurring theme.
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