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Jan 5, 2012

Ways Done in the Past - Sarong Island

Where in the world is Sarong Island (Pulau Sarong) in Singapore?

Sarong Island (formerly known as Pulau Selugu), a 5-acre isle just off Pulau Blankang Mati was a private resort owned by Mrs Christina Stone. She bought the island and the building in 1957 from a previous owner, an architect in the former Singapore City Council.

Sarong Island was the first Singapore tourist isle opened on 18 September, 1967.

[The 'Gateway' to Pulau Sarong - White House jetty photo as shown above. A mansion which began as a senate residence of a British civil servant. Pulau Sarong was converted into Singapore's first tourist isle. The building contains a restaurant and stands in the centre of the pleasure complex that includes an open air amphitheatre, patio, gift shop and an art gallery. It offers a breathtaking view of Singapore harbour and the great ships that pass in and out, day and night]. Source: Photos and description from National Archives of Singapore (NAS) as acknowledged with thanks.

What were the ways done 45 years ago to develop Sentosa and an integrated cable car system for the promotion of tourism in Singapore?

In the early 1970s, Pulau Blakang Mati (renamed Sentosa) was developed into a holiday resort. Sentosa Island was formed by Sentosa Development Corporation in 1971 and bought over Sarong Island to erect a cable car tower as an integral part of the cable car system linking Sentosa to Mount Faber on the mainland. The cable car system was completed in 1974.

Sentosa was once known as Pulau Blakang Mati (Chinese: 绝后岛) , which in Malay means the "Island (pulau) of Death (mati) from Behind (blakang)".

The island has gone through several name changes. Up to 1830, it was called Pulau Panjang ("long island"). The Malay name for this island is literally translated as "dead back" or "behind the dead"; blakang means "at the back" or "behind"; mati means "dead". It is also called the dead island or the island of the dead.

The island was renamed "Sentosa" in 1972, which means peace and tranquility in Malay (from Sanskrit, Santosha), from a suggestion by the public.

In 1974 the Singapore Cable Car system was built, linking Sentosa to Mount Faber. A series of attractions were subsequently opened for visitors including Fort Siloso, Surrender Chamber wax museum, Musical Fountain, and the Underwater World. The causeway bridge was opened in 1992 connecting Sentosa to the mainland.

In 2009, construction of a new foot bridge began. The Sentosa Boardwalk includes themed gardens, shops and eateries. There are covered walkways and travellators along the boardwalk for rainy days. It provide visitors an alternative mode of travel to reach the island. In 2010 They built Universal Studios Singapore and Resorts World Sentosa which is now a place for both locals and tourists to enjoy themselves.

I have never been to Sarong Island or heard about it then.

I have never been to Pulau Blakang Mati before it was converted to Sentosa as a tourist spot in Singapore.

However, over the years, I have observed the transformation of Sentosa and the ways done in the past. More and more facilities, attractive spots, amenities and transportation. It is now so convenient for everyone to reach Sentosa by air (cable cars), by water (ferry by boats) and land (by cars, buses, coaches).

I had been to Sentosa in the early days with friends a few times, especially for picnic at the lagoon.

Later, I brought my family for outing at Sentosa in the 1980s and 90s. Some of the memorable photos below:

May at the Cable Car Station at Mount Faber for a cable car ride to Sentosa in 1988.

May with Dad at Sentosa in 1988. This was our favorite spot where we could watch the best view of the sea with the ships berthed in Singapore.

May at Sentosa in 1992. Same person. Same place. Different times. Different experiences.

For more useful information about the latest attractive developments in Sentosa, please check it out at the following link to the Sentosa website.

Sentosa ...Asia's favourite playground.



Blogger Victor said...

Hey, they just held a foam party in Sentosa with lots of girls dancing, right? So, could it be here that the term "Sarong Party Girl" originated?

January 5, 2012 at 10:15 PM  
Blogger Thimbuktu said...

Thanks Victor.

I think the "Sarong Party Girls" from Sarong Island were there too...

Have fun!


January 5, 2012 at 10:57 PM  
Blogger Unk Dicko said...

Not many people would remember Sarong Island..esp not local people. Great that you managed to resurrect this little forgotten history, James. Nice and memorable photos of the past too !

January 5, 2012 at 11:05 PM  
Blogger Thimbuktu said...

Thanks for the memories, Unk Dicko.

This is part of the Singapore Memory which our young ones could know the pioneers and understand that our small island from a fishing village started little by little, bit by bit, how this little red dot on the world map is what we see Singapore today.

Even our Samsui construction workers, our "kachang puteh' men, our teachers who teach with chalks and blackboard (not computers), the nightsoil cleaners, immigrant workers, the ordinary men in the streets are helping to build Singapore over the many decades to contribute to our nation.

One people. One nation. One Singapore.


January 6, 2012 at 12:12 AM  
Blogger yg said...

james, i, with 2 other friends, have explored the place before. by then, it was already abandoned. we came across books and some pictures belonging to christina loke, the young wife of loke wan tho. i remember taking home some souvenirs from the place. they were those hot plates used for grilling meat. so, there would have been a restaurant serving western food on the small island.

January 6, 2012 at 9:08 AM  
Blogger Thimbuktu said...

Thank you YG for sharing with us additional info on Sarong Island where you have visited with your friends in the past and the isle (just the size of a huge rock) which was abandoned and found some souvenir items.

Nonetheless, the former owner and an entrepreneur, Ms Christina Stone, with other business ventures had planted an idea to transform the isle to become the first tourist isle to cater to tourists and travellers to Singapore. That was a innovative pioneer concept, which unfortunately was not found feasible because of the small size of the isle.

Sarong Island is now visible as one of the huge tower pillars in the sea, erected to link the cable sytem from mainland Singapore to Sentosa.

January 6, 2012 at 12:12 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

November 13, 2013 at 3:58 PM  

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