Saturday, February 11, 2006

More than history

Rivertales at the Singapore History Museum recreates the everyday life that ebbed and flowed along with the Singapore River. And what an everyday life! A complex "ecosystem" of its own, all linked and interdependent upon the existence of another. There were merchants, boatmen, coolies, cart drivers, night watchmen and rickshaw pullers.

There were also letter writers, storytellers, and snake charmers, all of whom based their livelihood upon the leisure needs of man.

It is hard to imagine how our forefathers lived when they first arrived on the banks of the Singapore River. Most of them stayed in what was called a coolie 'keng' (below), which gives new meaning to the word 'dormitory'.

The exhibition recreates the tumultous scenes of strife and struggle that took place around the river itself. How would you have guessed that once upon a time, the Hokkien and Teochew clans were at loggerheads with each other? Some of the fighting that took place between these two clans were extremely violent. You can hear the audio recordings of men in both Teochew and Hokkien, relating these street clashes. Below is a ghostly depiction of the 'samseng' (professional thug) - one of the identities that thrived during a time of social unrest.

One shudders while hearing stories of those who lived to tell the tale of the "The Sook Ching" during the Japanese Occupation in 1942-1945. The model below depicts how the Japanese would screen all Chinese males to kill all those who were thought to be anti-Japanese.

I was fascinated by Royston Tan's 12-minute short film "The Old Man and the River", narrated in Hokkien by 78-year-old ex-coolie/road sweeper Chia Tiong Guan, sharing a lyrical and touching reminiscence of his old days and of life around the river.

Singapore History Museum is more than a walk down memory lane; it is about understanding how Singapore as a country developed from a riotous past to the stable present. More than nostalgia, what you'll leave with is actually an appreciation of life in the now.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Reflections at Bukit Chandu is 4!

To celebrate their 4th anniversary and to commemorate Total Defence Day, they are having an Open House on Wed, 15th Feb. Yup, that means FREE admission from 9am - 5pm.

Watch out for this special animation.

And DO take photos with the iconic RBC bronze sculpture:
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Read what RBC visitors had to say:

Monday, February 06, 2006

Something for the weekend:

Battle of Pasir Panjang Commemorative Walk
Sunday, 12 Feb 2006: 7am - 11am

Don’t miss this annual trek to commemorate the Malay Regiment's defense of the ridge. Guides will share stories about the Battle of Pasir Panjang as well as the geography, flora and fauna of the region.

More info at Habitat News

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

"As far as the trip is concerned, it focuses on the culture of different races that constitute the majority of S'pore. I initially doubted whether there is real "culture" here but it turned out to be a positive answer."
Aaron muses about his Singapore heritage and cultural spots jaunt.

"I found a hidden gem! ...It's located in the URA building behind maxwell market ...Can see the new casino, reservoir and marina south park. and many new buildings in shenton. my fav find was the skycam controller which allows control and viewing of the surrounding shenton way and chinatown and parts of singapore river."

Read about Mr Lee-Lin's recent discovery.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Stumped by where to go when the malls are closed during the Lunar New Year holidays?

Click on the image for a better view.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Read about Edwin's account of his visit to Power Dressing at Asian Civilisations Museum, Empress Place.
"We visited ACM for the special event Power Dressing. This special showcase presents textiles for Rulers and Priests from the Chris Hall Collection. Featured are the Chinese dressing of silken treasures from the 5th century BCE to early 20th century."

It was the last Sunday before the Chinese New Year. As with Chinese traditions, the guys should go for their haircut before the New Year. So, as if it was a calling from within I joined the crowd. Gone are the days when if you have long hair you might be served last.
Check out chinatown boy's interesting account of his visit to a "modern barber shop of the old, but not of the new generation type".


Do Chinese ceramics and the origins of kilns interest you? Come visit Museum, NUS Centre For the Arts.

This talk is your chance to learn more.

Fujian Export Ceramics
Speaker: Prof Li Jian An, Fujian Provincial Museum, China
Date: 24 February 2006 (Friday)
Time: 7:00 – 8:00 pm
Venue: Green Room, University Cultural Centre, NUS
Talk conducted in Mandarin

Chinese ceramics were once exported in large quantities to Southeast Asian, Japan and Europe. Fujian kilns were one of the main kilns where these export ceramics were made. What roles did these Fujian kilns play and the archaeological findings? What are the recent discoveries of Fujian export ceramics? What are the basic characteristics of Chinese export ware and how do we tell them apart?

Prof Li Jian An (Director of Archaeology Institute, Fujian Provincial Museum, China) will discuss the above topics with visual illustrations and selected ceramic pieces from the collection of the Museum, NUS Centre For the Arts.

Li Jian’an graduated from Xiamen University in 1982, in History and Archeology. In the same year, he joined the Fujian Provincial Museum and carried out many land and underwater archeological expeditions. Now, he is the Director of Fujian Archaeologcial Institute. Prof Li has participated in the archeological work of prehistoric, bronze, Jian kilns, xxx kilns, Zhangzhou kilns, Dehua kilns and many others. He has also written about 70 academic reports, and published ‘Zhangzhou Kilns’ and ‘Ancient Export of Fujian Ceramics – Discoveries from Underwater Archaeology’.


Here's what's happening at the Singapore Philatelic Museum during the Lunar New Year.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Our friends at Museums, NUS Centre for the Arts dropped by and told us more about the Tan Cheng Lock Baba House Museum.

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BABA HOUSE MUSEUM: Applauded at the Peranakan Festival.

Come September 2006, walk back in time with Museums, NUS Centre for the Arts to the era of babas and bibiks. Experience authentic Peranakan culture in perhaps the last remaining Peranakan house in Singapore.

Exhibitions and events held at the Baba House Museum will showcase fascinating aspects of Peranakan heritage that are best captured in its eclectic mix of artifacts, signature decorative ornaments, Peranakan cuisine, social customs and lifestyle in a living context. Listen to Peranakan stories and songs while enjoying ayam buah keluak, kueh kueh and rojak. View artefacts such as the beautifully restored wedding bed and ancestral altar table.

Stay tuned for more developments.

We've just received news that Singapore History Museum at Riverside Point is going to close in early March.

The official word.

"Closure of the Singapore History Museum & Rivertales exhibition at Riverside Point from 6 March 2006
The Singapore History Museum at Riverside Point will be officially closed to the public from 6 March 2006. The last day of operation at the Singapore History Museum is 5 March 2006. The Rivertales exhibition at Riverside Point was launched in August 2003. The closure will enable the preparation and setup for the opening of the new
National Museum of Singapore at Stamford Road.

The new National Museum of Singapore at Stamford Road will be officially open to the public in December this year. From April to November 2006, the various event spaces at the new Museum will be opened in succession. A series of film, visual and performing arts events have been scheduled to allow our local and international visitors a preview of the new National Museum."

It'll be a good idea to catch them before they close.

It might very well be your last chance to
perform heroics in a national museum...

and get a photo with Ju Ming's Living World Series Sculpture by the river side.

Looks like Vanessa Tan had fun at Reflections at Bukit Chandu recently.

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