Folklore From Singapore Week-2

As we continued our exploration in Singapore we traveled to Sentosa Island.

11. Singapore week 2

The former name of Sentosa was Pulau Blakang Mati, where Blakang Mati means “behind the dead” in Malay.

No one knows exactly how the name of the island came about, but there were many legends about its origin. According to one version, the island was once a place of piracy and bloodshed in the past. The victims of the murders haunted the island so much that it was given this not-so-auspicious name. Another account was that the island was located “behind” Pulau Brani, which was the burial ground of many ancient Malay warriors.

Nevertheless, Pulau Blakang Mati was renamed as Sentosa (which means “Isle of tranquility”) in 1972. With the island becoming a favorite beach resort among Singaporeans and the tourists, the unhappy legends were soon forgotten.

We next traveled to Kusu Island, there is a legend that a giant tortoise miraculously appeared to save a group of Chinese and Malay fishermen, who were on the verge of drowning after their fishing boats sank in the stormy weather.

kusu island

The tortoise turned itself into an island so that the fishermen could climb ashore. In order to remember their gratitude to the holy tortoise, the fishermen built a Chinese temple and a Malay shrine on the island.

At last we went to Sister’s Island, lying south of Sentosa, Sisters’ Islands refer to Pulau Subar Darat and Pulau Subar Laut.

Many years ago, there was a pair of sisters Minah and Linah living by the southern coast of Singapore. Being very attached to each other, the sisters vowed to marry two brothers so that they could live together always. However, fate could be cruel sometimes, as one night Linah ran into a group of pirates by the sea.

Stunned by her beauty, the pirate chief was determined to marry Linah. When the dawn broke, the pirates came and abducted Linah to their ships. Weeping over the loss of her dear sister, Minah came swimming after the boats.

Sister's island

The stormy waters were merciless, and she was drowned eventually. In a desperate attempt, Linah broke free and dived into the sea.

The next day, a pair of islands appeared at where the sisters had drowned. They were named Sisters’ Island by the villagers in memory of the two ill-fated girls.

Finally before we boarded our flight, we were shown the currency notes from Singapore. The plastic currency notes of Singapore were very fascinating, especially the notes that were printed to celebrate 50 years of Singapore.

With beautiful memories from Singapore I now sign off….


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