Pulau Anak Bukom



A tiny islet, Pulau Anak Bukom (Malay for “child of Bukom”)1 lies next to the much larger and heavily industrialised Pulau Bukom Besar.2 Pulau Anak Bukom is noted as a nesting and roosting site for resident shore birds.3

Location
Pulau Anak Bukom is an islet lying off the southeastern end of its ‘parent’, Pulau Bukom.4


A much bigger islet near Pulau Anak Bukom is Pulau Bukom Kechil, which is located alongside the southern flank of Pulau Bukom Besar.5 Pulau Bukom Kechil was merged with Pulau Bukom Besar in 1973 through land reclamation, and the resultant island was renamed Pulau Bukom in 1995.6 In 2006, reclamation work was carried out at Pulau Busing, Pulau Ular and Terumbu Bayan, which are located to the west and southwest of Pulau Bukom, to accommodate the construction of an Ethylene Cracker Complex. However, Pulau Anak Bukom was not included in the reclamation plans because the environmental impact assessment identified the islet as a sensitive ecological receptor with mangroves, seagrass and a nesting colony of herons.7

Pulau Anak Bukom was so small that it was not included in the list of islands published in the annual Singapore Facts and Pictures 1979, nor was it depicted (or not named if depicted) in most official maps. It is probably smaller than the tiny Pulau Biola (approximately 4 sq m).8

Etymology
It is believed that the island was named after a shell known as rangkek bukom in Malay. The shell, which is wide at one end and tapers to a narrow point, resembles the shape of Pulau Bukom Besar prior to the manmade changes enacted to it.9


The name “Bukum” is said also to come from hokum,10 which is Malay (of Arab origins) for “order, command, judicial decision or sentence”.11 This meaning connotes the piratical past of the southern islands,12 and/or the tradition where the rajah (Malay ruler) used the island as an isle of laws to try cases there, hence the name emerging probably through its intermediate form, berhukum13 or beri hukum, meaning “to give an order”.14


Anak
is Malay for “child, offspring, issue or the relationship of a component part to the whole”.15


Bird sanctuary
The Nature Society (Singapore) (NSS) considers Pulau Anak Bukom to be an important nesting and roosting site for resident shore birds. One of Singapore’s worst oil spills took place in its vicinity in January 1997, from a tanker at Pulau Busing terminal. Eight months later, the NSS assessed the extent of ecological damage on the shores of the western group of the Southern Islands, focusing on the birdlife. They found that, while the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore had done a good job containing the disaster, the spill had spread up to Pulau Bukom and coated the shoreline. Birds such as the little egret and the pied fantail were found to be coated with oil, and that there was a marked scarcity of migratory shore species and resident shore species. The society urged for priority to be given to cleaning the shorelines as it was the onset of the migratory season and the spill could cause more deaths of birds that relied on the shoreline for feeding. One of the sites they highlighted for cleaning operations was Pulau Anak Bukom, an important nesting and roosting site for resident shore species.16



Author
Khor Kok Kheng



References
1. Dunlop, P. K. G. (2000). Street names of Singapore. Singapore: Who’s Who Publishing, pp. 249–250. (Call no.: RSING 959.57 DUN-[HIS])
2. SNP Corporation Ltd. (1998–1999). Singapore street directory 1998/1999. Singapore: SNP Corporation Ltd., p. 12. (Call no.: RSING 959.57 SSD-[DIR]); One Map Singapore. (n.d.). Retrieved April 18, 2018, from https://www.onemap.sg/main/v2/
3. Oil spill: Do more to save birdlife on islands. (1997, November 1). The Straits Times, p. 66. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
4. SNP Corporation Ltd. (1998–1999).Singapore street directory 1998/1999. Singapore: SNP Corporation Ltd., p. 12. (Call no.: RSING 959.57 SSD-[DIR])
5. SNP Corporation Ltd. (1998–1999).Singapore street directory 1998/1999. Singapore: SNP Corporation Ltd., p. 12. (Call no.: RSING 959.57 SSD-[DIR])
6. $356m Shell boost: Project to reclaim foreshore land. (1971, December 3). The Straits Times, p. 1; Singapore islands get new names. (1995, November 22). The Straits Times, p. 3. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
7. Lye, I., et als. (2014). Sustainability matters: Asia’s green challenges. World Scientific. Retrieved from Google Books.
8. Ministry of Culture. (1979). Singapore facts and pictures 1979. Singapore: Ministry of Culture, p. 255. (Call no.: RSING 959.57 SMCFFS-[HIS])
9. Savage V. R., & Yeoh, B. S. A. (2004). Singapore street names: A study of toponymics. Singapore: Marshall Cavendish Editions, p. 306. (Call no.: RSING 915.9570014 SAV-[TRA])
10. Haughton, H. T. (1889). Notes on names of places in the island of Singapore and its vicinity. Journal of the Straits Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, 20, p. 78. Retrieved from JSTOR via NLB’s eResources website: http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/
11. Wilkinson, R. J. (1957). An abridged Malay English dictionary (Romanised). London: Macmillan & Co Ltd., p. 84. (Call no.: RCLOS 499.230321 MAL-[RFL])
12. Dunlop, P. K. G. (2000). Street names of Singapore. Singapore: Who’s Who Publishing, p. 250. (Call no.: RSING 959.57 DUN-[HIS])
13. Haughton, H. T. (1889). Notes on names of places in the island of Singapore and its vicinity. Journal of the Straits Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society20, pp. 75–82. Retrieved from JSTOR via NLB’s eResources website: http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/
14. Wilkinson, R. J. (1957). An abridged Malay English dictionary (Romanised). London: Macmillan & Co Ltd., pp. 26, 84. (Call no.: RCLOS 499.230321 MAL-[RFL])
15. Wilkinson, R. J. (1957). An abridged Malay English dictionary (Romanised). London: Macmillan & Co Ltd., p. 6. (Call no.: RCLOS 499.230321 MAL-[RFL])
16. Oil spill: Do more to save birdlife on islands. (1997, November 1). The Straits Times, p. 66. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.



The information in this article is valid as at 2017 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.

 

Subject
Singapore offshore islands
Geography>>Geographical Areas and Countries>>Singapore Offshore Islands
Law and government>>National development>>Land use
Islands--Singapore