S'pore's 'lost' and redeveloped islands

S'pore's 'lost' and redeveloped islands
Housewife Fu Liwen, 39, with her daughters, Wan You Ning (left), eight, and Wan Pei Jie, six, viewing the displays on Kusu Island at the National Heritage Board’s new exhibition in the National Museum’s Stamford Gallery.

Before Sentosa became Singapore's premier getaway spot, locals looking for a nearby break headed to Pulau Damar Laut, an island off the western tip of the mainland that is now no more.

The island paradise of 1950s and 1960s Singapore boasted water-skiing facilities and holiday bungalows with names such as Passion Pit and Wine House.

But recreation gave way to redevelopment in the 1970s, when port and industrial developments in Jurong expanded and took over nearby islands, including Damar Laut.

However, its story is not lost forever. An exhibition called Balik Pulau: Stories From Singapore's Islands was launched by the National Heritage Board yesterday.

Pulau Damar Laut was one of more than 70 islands that once made up Singapore's archipelago, though redevelopment and land reclamation mean there are now about 40.

Ms Angelita Teo, director of the National Museum of Singapore, where the exhibition is held, said: "Although the islands are small in size, their stories are anything but that. They are big in heart and soul, and speak volumes of island life back in those days."

The free exhibition runs until August. Each of its nine sections represents a different island - such as Pulau Ubin and Kusu Island - or island cluster, such as the Islands of Coral, which include Pulau Hantu and Pulau Satumu.

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