Sarin is an upper primary school student. He has a brother, Hairu, and a younger sister, Fatimah. They are both lower primary school students. They live in Simei HDB flat with their parents.
A HDB flat is a high-rise block of home units built by Housing Development Board (HDB)and the aim is to provide affordable housing to the majority of the Singapore families. Sarin’s father bought a unit at the highest floor as he had hopes that he could see Ubin Island when he looked out from the window. Of course, he finally realise that he is not able to see the island as Ubin Island is too far from the main Singapore Island. He can not even see the top of the coconut tree plantation on the island.
Sarin’s parent were born and bred on Ubin Island. The island is a place that their parent will never forget and it brings lots of sweet memories. Because of the rapid development of the nation, Ubin Island is earmarked for redevelopment, and thus their parents have no choice but to leave the island and settle down in Simei.
Neither Sarin nor his siblings have any deep feelings of Ubin Island as they have not been there before. They are born in Simei and are not the kampong boy or girl as said. Their parent had told them stories about what life was like on the island but that sounded too farfetched for them. Coconut trees? Farm lands? Zinc houses? Water well? Shit holes….. What are all this stuffs?? Where is my big Mac, i-phone? Shopping malls? Auto-sensing water tap……
The family now lives on this island, Sarin and his siblings are bought up under the Singapore modern education system. They are assured of six years of primary school education and this is where they start their venture on the journey of exciting mathematics learning…….