Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: https://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/229353
Title: THE 'RURALISATION' OF PULAU UBIN: RETAINING AND REVIVING THE 'RURAL' CHARACTER OF AN OFFSHORE ISLAND IN SINGAPORE
Authors: TAN SI YUN
Keywords: ruralisation
landscape
urbanisation
Pulau Ubin
heritage
rural-urban dynamics
civil society
Issue Date: 10-Nov-2021
Citation: TAN SI YUN (2021-11-10). THE 'RURALISATION' OF PULAU UBIN: RETAINING AND REVIVING THE 'RURAL' CHARACTER OF AN OFFSHORE ISLAND IN SINGAPORE. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: Despite the burgeoning literature on Pulau Ubin, few have examined the island’s transformation by considering the interplay of rural-urban dynamics and civil society’s role(s) within it. To address these gaps, I mobilise the novel concept of ‘ruralisation’ and employ an ethnographic-style approach to uncover the complex ways urban-led and state-driven ruralisation is experienced by diverse stakeholders who are, in turn, driven to ruralise Ubin in alternative ways from below. I thereby unveil how Ubin’s trajectory from a thriving to hollow, to renewed rural landscape, is driven by urban elites who sought to ruralise and exploit the island variously to serve changing urban needs. This reveals how ideas of rurality are often evaluated not on their own merits but based on how they best serve pragmatic Singapore. While this urban-led ruralisation has hugely succeeded in offsetting urban stresses for visitors appreciative of Ubin’s materiality and ambience, its imposition has engendered significant material social changes that threaten islanders’ rural lifestyles. Unlike the meagre discomfort experienced by visitors who are selective about the rural they want to commercially enjoy, emerging issues and critiques gleaned from islanders speak to more fundamental and incompatible aspects of the state’s ruralisation approach, which is revealed to be non-consultative and generalising, rooted in urban-centrism and the material-symbolic. However, despite state hegemony, islanders assert their presence and agency by ruralising from below. They continue to embody, manifest and transmit their kampung values, lifestyles and knowledge while inventing new coping mechanisms. Civil society actors also actively sought to mitigate identified issues emerging from state-driven ruralisation process. Yet, while commendable, these personal bottom-up initiatives are not without limitations and challenges, and must not be romanticised. Despite best intentions to overcome state-driven ruralisation deficiencies, they not only face similar challenges in (re)invigorating rural Ubin, but may (sub)consciously reproduce specific biases plaguing state-led ruralisation.
URI: https://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/229353
Appears in Collections:Bachelor's Theses

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