It seems St John’s island will see some changes in the years to come. The last four residents of the island, who have lived on the island for decades, will have to move back to mainland Singapore by 2017.

For those too young to know, back in the 1800s, St John’s Island has a rather happening history.


Did you know St John’s Island is also the place where Sir Stamford Raffles was believed to have anchored his ship in Feb 1819, before going to mainland Singapore the next day? Yah, we didn’t either until now.

The island was then used as a quarantine station for immigrants coming to Singapore suspected of having cholera. It later became a place to house victims of including leprosy, beri-beri, and then even later housed a drug rehabilitation centre.


Today it is more of a leisure / camping getaway type of place, though there still exists a detention centre for illegal immigrants as well as a Marine Aquaculture Centre.


Of course with such colourful history, there is bound to be stories of ghosts, and St John’s Island is no exception. You may want to steer clear of the human chess board (above) which supposedly was where WWII prisoners of war were made by Japanese army to pose as chess pieces, and if they were ‘eaten’, they got beheaded on the spot…

Anyway, managing agent Sentosa Development Corporation will hand over the Southern Islands to Singapore Land Authority (SLA) in March 2017. SLA didn’t say what they are going to do with it yet, and will reveal their plans when ready.

Hope they manage to keep it as-is, like Coney Island. No need to bring in a cow, but please don’t bring in fancy casino or Universal Studios. Places like Ellis Island in New York, where many immigrants entered the US, are doing well to attract tourists just using their historical and cultural value. St John’s Island with its rich history can be something like that, no?