To Mr. Lim, Pulau Ubin is not just a tourist destination, he was born here.
His grandfather and father moved to Ubin from China when his grandfather was 30.
As a young man, Lim worked in the granite quarries on the island until the last one closed in 1999. By this time, his family had moved to an HDB in Simei and it seemed like his relationship with Ubin could be at an end.
“Why did you move away?”
“It was the mosquitoes!”
He is now 58 and has been back for 6 years, working at one of the bike rental shops. A few of his neighbours in the town shops are also natives… but there aren’t many left. Most left for good when the quarries shut down.
With some luck, he will be here for a long time to come. He has some impressive longevity genes (“My grandfather died at age 108”) so the odds are good.
It all just depends on the fate of Ubin.