Pulau Tekong: Memories of an Island Community

Ms. Asmalina Saleh
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In the 20th century alone, millions of individuals have experienced displacement from their communities. Communities are broken up either through voluntary or involuntary resettlement, causing networks of families and friends to disintegrate. When individuals are resettled in a new area, they will naturally retain their memories of the past, but according to circumstances, they may either attempt to hold on to these memories, or they may find it easier to let go of them. Sometimes, there may be ambivalence about the past.

In Singapore, the policy of resettlement is undertaken to maximise land use in Singapore. This essay is about the islanders of Pulau Tekong (an offshore island), who were resettled in the 1970s and 1980s. Unfortunately, they were no longer able to return to the island since the military has since obtained the land and converted it into a training ground. The essay attempts to highlight their strategies of remembering and how they commemorate Pulau Tekong, paying particular attention to generational differences and the transmission of memories. The social nature of memory means that even private recollections are shaped by the influences of the past and may even be contested in the present. As such, the tensions between the past and the present may also mean an unpredictable future for the continued remembrance of this island community.

Keywords: Social Memory, Transmission
Stream: Sociology and Geography
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.

Ms. Asmalina Saleh

Masters student, Department of Sociology, National University of Singapore

Ref: I06P0271