Saturday, May 27, 2006

More Cookery Magic

This is coming a little late but perhaps there may still be vacancies... although knowing the popularity of ruq's classes, perhaps you can sign up for her mailing list instead!

Ruqxana wrote:
My next two Pulau Ubin classes are as follows. Email me if you are interested to attend any of them.

Cooking Class in a Kampong House on Pulau Ubin

28 May 2006, Sunday, 8.30am - 2pm; or
3 June 2006, Saturday, 8.30am - 2pm (only 2 places left)

Menu: Nasi Kerabu. We will go harvest the jungle herbs for the cooking. This is a hands on cooking class. You will also be served Lontong upon arrival.
1. Nasi Kerabu
2. Sambal Blachan

3. Butter Pepper Prawns
4. Ice Kachang.

Cost: S$82 per person (Cost includes ferry and taxi ride on the island)

Also, kindly forward this email to your friends who may be interested in attending my cooking classes.


Cookery Magic
ruqxana at cookerymagic dot com

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Answers to the Earth Day Quiz

On April 23 2006, we launched the new looks for Ubin Stories along with a quiz in conjunction with Earth Day.

Several readers have responded and hazzarded a guess at the identity of the 8 items in the banner on the top of the website.

From the left to right:

1. Oriental-Pied Hornbill (Anthracoceros albirostris)
2. Fallen Sea Hibiscus flower (Hibiscus tiliaceus)
3. Purple Tree Climbing Crab (Metapograpsus sp.) at the rocky shore facing Pulau Ketam, near German Girl Shrine
4. (top) German Girl Shrine banner
5. (bottom-left) Cross-section of a fig
6. (bottom-right) Pseudokarst Granite Boulder beside the Jetty.
7. Kekek Quarry, also known as Tianci (Heavenly Pool) at the lookout further north of the Thai Temple.
8. Bumboat heading out from the jetty towards Changi

How many did you get right?

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Jelutong Namesake

One of the main rivers of Ubin is the Jelutong River. From the Jetty towards the west of the island, the first river that one would cross is the Jelutong River. Previously, we have mentioned the coconut stall by the Jelutong Bridge that spans the river. It is indeed a rather well known river on Ubin but have you ever wondered what Jelutong was named after?

Observing fishes in the Jelutong River by the sluice gates at Jelutong Bridge. Photo by November Tan.

I have always known vaguely that Jelutong is the name of a tree found in this region but I have never seen the tree until last month. In fact, this specimen of the Jelutong Tree (Dyera costulata) was just across the Straits of Johor at the Changi Tree Conservation area. In fact, during the launch of the Heritage Tree Register, we were given a tour of the heritage trees in Changi where these last few remaining stands of giant dipterocarps are the only survivors of the Lowland Dipterocarp Rain Forests that had once extended from the interiors right up to the shores. (Read more)

Encountering the Jelutong Tree in the Changi Heritage Tree trail. Photo by November Tan.

The Jelutong tree is found in Peninsular Thailand, Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore, Sumatra, and Borneo. According to the USDA, Jelutong "may reach a height of 200 ft, with straight and cylindrical boles free from buttresses to lengths of 90 ft; trunk diameters up to 8 ft".

It is a species found in primary forests but has been reorded to regenerate readily in logged-over forest. It is popular for its latex and for timber, but much of the species is also lost due to conversion of lowland forests to agriculture. This was true also for Singapore as the primary forest at Changi was first cleared for rubber plantations before the British further cleared it for their army base around 1923. (Read more)

While IUCN list the tree as being of a Low Risk category, meaning that it is not endangered, the species has been reported to be threatened in Peninsular Malaysia! Such risk was already recognised 60 years ago. In fact, Jelutong is subject to a log export ban in Peninsular Malaysia, and special permission has been required to cut the tree in Thailand. (Source: UNEP Global Tree Campaign)

The Pulai Tree on Pulau Ubin, standing at 35m tall! Photo by November Tan.

If you have visited Changi recently, you would have noticed marker tags (above; 2nd photo) that not only identify the heritage trees but also tells you more about the tree. In fact, some of these trees species can also be found on Ubin, such as the Pulai tree (above; 3rd photo) which is the tallest tree on Ubin. Try to spot the pagoda-like tree on the bumboat on your way to the island. You can also visit the tree at Chek Jawa or look at one upclose amongst the heritage trees of Changi!