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Cakap Heritage: Schooldays in Bras Basah

Date: Sat, 28 June 2014
Time: 3-5 pm
Venue: The Private Museum, 51 Waterloo Street, Singapore 187969
Registration: Free and open to all. Register at: http://goo.gl/3A3XWC

The Bras Basah district presently houses several museums and national monuments, some of which were previously top educational institutions. Former St Joseph Institution (SJI), Tao Nan School and Convent of the Holy Infant Jesus (CHIJ) have all been conserved and reused as social landmarks. Other schools that were in the area have not been forgotten. St Anthony’s Convent, Catholic High and Anglo-Chinese School were all located within this area as well.

What were school days like in this area in the past? What do people remember about studying in the Bras Basah area and some of the popular hangouts for the students – like the Magnolia Milk Bar at Capitol Cinema? The Indian Rojak stalls next to the St Joseph’s Institution school field? The row of bookshops along Bras Basah Road? The former National Library Building?  What were some of the activities that took place on the streets around their schools?

This CAKAP HERITAGE session is organised by SHS and URA for past students of the old schools in Bras Basah to get together and also to those who wish to relive the past. Share your memories with us during the session and keep them alive for future generations! We will transcribe and record your memories in order to share them via URA’s Conservation Portal. We also encourage you to share old photos of you and your friends from your old school days with us and other participants.

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Awaken the Dragon 2014 – an on-site Workshop

Awaken the Dragon 2014 – an on-site Workshop. Saturday, 14 June 2014/ 11am – 1pm
Location: Jln Bahar Clay Studios, 97L Lor Tawas

The Singapore Heritage Society thanks Tote Board and Singapore Turf Club for their generous support.
Date/ Time: Saturday, 14 June 2014/ 11am – 1pm
Fee: $30
Location: Jln Bahar Clay Studios, 97L Lor Tawas

  • 20min: Introduction to ceramics and Singapore’s dragon kilns; slab pot demonstration
  • 40min: Participants make their own pinch pots
  • 15min: Photo of each participant with their art work.

Min. 20 pax; priority to SHS members + guests.
To register, email shs.secretary@gmail.com

Awaken the Dragon is a community art project surrounding Singapore’s last two Dragon Kilns. The project aims to invite 3,000 members of the public to participate in making a collective sculpture from clay and fired in the Dragon Kiln. This is a unique opportunity for the public to use and experience an important part of our heritage.

Awaken the Dragon has 3 phases: Workshops, Festival and Exhibition. The first Awaken the Dragon in early 2013 reached an estimated 10,000 participants. Awaken the Dragon 2014 is now underway. From May to October, a series of clay workshops will be held around Singapore to:

1. Educate the community about Singapore’s history and heritage in ceramics by sharing the story of the dragon kilns, as well as the basics of ceramics making.

2. Explore the arts, as each individual will be given clay to create their own art work that will represent them in the sea of other art works.

3. Engage the community as they learn to make their own pots that will be placed together with all the art work of the other 3,000 participants, inside the dragon kiln for the biggest ceramic firing in Singapore, in November.

Awaken the Dragon is produced by Michelle Lim and Post-Museum. It is an independent effort that is endorsed by National Arts Council and National Heritage Board.

Cakap Heritage: All About Chinese New Year in Kreta Ayer / Chinatown

The Singapore Heritage Society and Urban Redevelopment Authority proudly present:
Cakap Heritage: All About Chinese New Year in Kreta Ayer / Chinatown
a CAKAP HERITAGE session

Saturday 25 January 2014
3-4pm: photo sharing
4-6pm: “Cakap Session”
The URA Centre. 45 Maxwell Rd, 5th storey
Free
Limited to 60 participants
Registration: http://sn.im/chnewyear
Queries: Ms Eileen Teo eileen_teo@ura.gov.sg
63218132
This event is multi-lingual: we welcome sharing in any of the common languages of Singapore. When registering, please indicate if you need translation so we can prepare. Thank you!

The Chinese Lunar New Year is when Kreta Ayer and therest of ‘Greater Town’ (or ‘Toa Poh’, being its colloquial reference) come alive with activities relating to this most important festival of the Chinese community. Kreta Ayer is the key shopping area, and nearby temples are thronged by worshippers from all over the island. The shophouses were homes to thousands of families, who celebrated in similar and different ways over the 15 days of the New Year.

What are your memories of shopping, new clothes, new year goods, hairdos, spring cleaning, reunion dinner, temple visits and firecrackers?

Also in this part of ‘Chinatown’, are two important Hindu and Muslim landmarks – Sri Mariamman Temple and Masjid Jamae. What are the stories of interaction between the communities during this festival?

SHS and URA are organising this first CAKAP HERITAGE session in 2014 for past and present residents and friends of Kreta Ayer / Chinatown to get together to remember this festival!

Your memories are important, and sharing them will keep them alive for future generations! We will transcribe and record your memories, for more to understand our shared history via URA’s Conservation Portal.

We are also looking out for family photos of you and your friends in Kreta Ayer/Chinatown in the old days! Do you have any to share with us and the rest of the participants? Bring them along! All are welcome!

Future CAKAP HERITAGE sessions:Apr: Easter & Churches | Jul: Ramadan & Hari Raya | Oct: Deepavali | Dec: The New Year

“How Much is an Old Book Worth?” by Robert Yeo and Alex Teoh

Select Books and Singapore Heritage Society are pleased to invite you to a talk on old books by Robert Yeo and Alex Teoh, on Saturday, 11 January 2014, at 3:30pm.

Talk: “How Much is an Old Book Worth?”
What is the value of an old book? How much is a book worth after its contents have been read and absorbed?
Come join other book lovers at Select Books for an afternoon of informal discussion on the theme of “Old Books”. Veteran Singapore writer and educator Robert Yeo and book conservator Alex Teoh will share their knowledge and experiences of book collecting and upkeep. View books from their personal collections, some dating back over a century, that show that the stories behind the books are sometimes as important as the stories in them. Find out more about the tangible and intangible value of old books, even as younger readers continue to migrate to electronic platforms.
Bring your own old books and share your questions and stories!

“Apart from the pleasure of reading, buying a book and later finding it on my bookshelves help me remember the occasion, down to the exact day the book was purchased and where. I remember as clearly, the occasion when I bought the collected poems of Walt Whitman in a Bras Basah bookshop as a schoolboy in 1957, as I do that June in 1967 when i bought the Cantos of Ezra Pound in the famous Oxford bookshop, Blackwells. I still have these books and return to them ever so often, the simple pleasure of reading augmented by the remembrance of buying them.” — Robert Yeo

About the Speakers
Robert Yeo
Published poet, playwright and novelist Robert Yeo is an alumni of the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa (1978). For more than a decade beginning in 1977, he was Chair of the National Drama Advisory Committee, which helped to develop theatre in Singapore’s four languages. His three connected plays were published in 2001 as The Singapore Triology. In 2009, his second libretto ‘Kannagi’, a short chamber piece based on an Indian epic poem, was staged in Sri Mariamman Temple. His first libretto, a full-length work titled ‘Fences’, was staged in 2012, with John Sharpley as composer.

Alex Teoh
Alex Teoh is a paper and book conservator, providing restoration and collection care for rare manuscripts, collectible prints, antique maps and antiquarian books. He has been involved in various conservation and exhibitions projects in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei. Paper and books, being products of nature, deteriorate over time. Causes include light, acidity, pest infestation, mishandling and poor storage conditions. This is accelerated by our warm and humid environment. Alex will share some understanding of the nature of paper and books and some tips on collection care.

Date and Time
Saturday, 11 January 2014, 3:30pm

Location
Select Books
51, Armenian Street, Singapore 179939
Tel: 6337 9319

Posted in Activities, Talks | Tagged ,
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Talk: Globalising the Local: World Heritage in Singapore (10 Nov 2013)

Join us for this forum and meet with expert speakers on the meaning and significance of these developments. Please register early as seats are limited!

The Singapore Heritage Society is pleased to announce our forthcoming forum entitled: “Globalising the Local: World Heritage in Singapore”

Date/ Time: Sunday 10 Nov 2013/ 2pm
Place: Asian Civilisations Museum (Ngee Ann Auditorium)
Limited seats; click here to register:
http://worldheritageinsg.eventbrite.com

In December 2012 the historic Singapore Botanic Gardens became a nominee for UNESCO World Heritage site status. In October 2013 Bukit Brown was selected by the World Monuments Fund to be included in the 2014 World Monuments Watch list. Two equally deserving heritage sites on different pathways towards international recognition.

What does it mean to be recognised as a World Heritage site or to be on the World Monuments Watch list? Are these new ways of thinking about the significance of heritage in Singapore? Can heritage give us insights into what being global means for Singapore and Singaporeans?

Join us at the Forum where we will hear expert speakers explain the meaning and significance of these developments. Please register early as seats are limited.

Moderator: Dr Chua Ai Lin. President, Singapore Heritage Society

Speakers:
Dr Kevin YL Tan. President, ICOMOS Singapore
Dr Ian Chong. Political Scientist
Ms Faizah Jamal. Nominated Member of Parliament
Dr Lai Chee Kien. Architect

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Book Talk: East Indies: The English East India Company and the Founding of Singapore

Join us for a book talk / signing by Ian Burnet on 9 Nov 2013. Registration now open!

The Singapore Heritage Society is pleased to announce our forthcoming talk entitled: “East Indies: The English East India Company and the Founding of Singapore” to be delivered by Ian Burnet. This talk is given in conjunction with the publication of his new book “East Indies” which follows the trade winds and the trade routes to the ports across the East Indies and the Orient.

The book documents the struggle for trade supremacy between Portugal, Holland and England for over 200 years. The story is told by the history of the port cities of Malacca; Batavia (Dutch Jakarta); Singapore and Hong Kong. Following the talk, Ian Burnet will preside over a book-signing session.

Date and time: Saturday 9 November 2013 @ 3pm.
Venue: Select Books, 51 Armenian Street.
Admission is free. Kindly register your name through:  https://eventbrite.sg/event/8926390073

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Book Launch-Discussion: Controversial History Education in Asian Contexts (3 Dec 2013

Registration now open!

You are invited to a discussion on Controversial History Education in Asian Contexts, a newly published book by Routledge. The panel discussion will be chaired by Associate Provost (Student Life, NTU) Kwok Kian Woon.

Event Details

Venue: the Possibility Room, Level 5, National Library Building

Date/Time: 3 Dec 2013, 5pm – 7pm.

The event is open to all and admission is free, but due to limited space, please register at http://controversialhistoryeducation.eventbrite.com. Registration ends on 1 Dec 2013.

Many thanks to the National Library for sponsoring the venue. More information on the event can be found in the poster attached here.

For more information on the book, please go to http://www.routledge.com/books/details/9780415833523/

Public Talk: Geylang Serai: The Making of a Malay Emporium

To most Singaporeans, Geylang Serai is Singapore’s principal ‘Malay area’. Indeed, Geylang Serai has been associated with the Malay community for so long that most people do not realise that the area did not start up as a Malay kampung but had in fact been opened up by European planters like Dr Joachim D’Almeida, TO Crane and Thomas Dunman. For the longest time, Geylang was Singapore’s eastern junction, the principal village and the terminus of Singapore’s early tramway system. It was only towards the latter half of the 19th century that with the acquisition of much of the land around Geylang by the Alsagoff family that it began to be settled as a primarily Malay area. This talk traces the historical development of Geylang Serai and its key personalities and sheds light on a forgotten part of one of Singapore’s most important historical and cultural areas.

Details of the talk:
Title: Geylang Serai: The Making of a Malay Emporium
Speaker: Dr Kevin YL Tan
Date: Saturday, 28 Sep 2013
Time: 3:30pm – 5:30pm
Venue: Possibility Room, Level 5, National Library
Free but registration is required at this URL: http://url.ie/ikfa

Public Talk: Maya Gallery’s artConversation Sunar Sugiyou’s “Home”

An open conversation about Sunar Sugiyou’s solo exhibition “Home”, speaking of memories of old Singapore at a time when our visual history is slowly disappearing. How does art play a part in the understanding of our nation’s history? Do artists share the social responsibility of the preservation and evolution of our cultures and heritage?

The Singapore Heritage Society and Maya Gallery are pleased to invite you to “Art Conversation” – an open chat on art and heritage with Sunar Sugiyou and Prof Kwok Kian Woon on Friday, 6th Sep 2013, 7pm, at The Fullerton Hotel, East Garden Foyer. Do join us!
Enquiries: event@mayagallery.com.sg

About Sunar Sugiyou
Sunar Sugiyou, a third generation Singapore artist, is best known for his distinct style of painting which explores his Javanese roots. His ouevre for the past three decades have extended across what matters to him – heritage, our multiracial cultures, festivals, everyday scenes, social themes, even the touch, tastes and smells of Singapore. His visual language has been consistent, sending messages of cultural celebration and erosion. Yet this language has evolved with the exploration of different mediums and materials, and the many significant events in his life journey.

About Prof Kwok Kian Woon
Prof Kwok Kian Woon is a sociologist, art collector and the second president of the Singapore Heritage Society. Currently Associate Provost (Student Life) at the Nanyang Technological University (NTU). Prof Kwok served in the leadership of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences since its inception. He has been Chair of the new NTU Museum Committee since September 2008 and Advisor of the Centre for Asian Art and Design since January 2011. His teaching and research interests relate to the historical and comparative understanding of modern social transformation and contemporary social change. He has been actively involved in civil society and the public sector, including as Honorary Chairman, National Archives of Singapore; Past President, Singapore Heritage Society; Member of the National Heritage Board and the Singapore Art Museum Board; Member of the Steering Committee on the National Art Gallery (and Chair of its Museological Advisory Group during its first phase of development); Co-Chairman of the Steering Committee for the Singapore Biennale 2006; and Member of the Arts Advisory Panel, National Arts Council.

Public Talk: entitled Eye of the Beholder: The Malay Aesthetic by Khir Johari

Take a walk with Khir Johari, collector and independent researcher on the history and culture of the Malay world. Khir will showcase some examples from his personal collection in order to illustrate the aesthetic aspect of nature, shaped by imagination and reflecting the harmony that exists between man and the world he lives in.
Therefore, traditional Malay culture does not distinguish between an object as a work of art and its function as a utensil. This fusion is represented in a wide range of mediums – textiles, decorated cloths, pottery, plaiting, silverware, jewellery, word carvings, brassware, book illustrations and weaponry. The talk will discuss the role of space, colour, symmetry and motifs and the meanings they convey in various artefacts and will also serve as an introduction to the terminology used in the discourse about the Malay aesthetic. Ultimately, Khir hopes to link ‘form’ in Malay art with ‘soul’ – the attitudes, views on life and the values of Malay culture itself.
Date: Saturday, 21 September 2013
Time: 10.30am
Venue: The Play Den, Arts House, 1 Parliament Lane
Admission is free but places are limited. Please register at: aestheticsmelayu@gmail.com
Organisers:
Dept of Malay Studies, NUS, The Arts House, with the suppport of the Malay Language and Learning Promotion Council (MLLPC, MOE), the Singapore Malay Language Council, and the Malay Heritage Foundation

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Home@Centrestage: Inquiring into our Built Heritage & the Memories that make up our Home

Programme and other details now available for Home@Centrestage Seminar: Inquiring into our Built Heritage & the Memories that make up our Home

The Singapore Heritage Society and the Singapore Association for Social Studies Education, along with support from the Urban Redevelopment Authority, proudly present Home@Centrestage: Inquiring into our Built Heritage & the Memories that make up our Home, a seminar by educators and students.

There are four panels discussing a multitude of issues addressing the central question – what is the relationship between heritage and making Singapore a home.

The full programme can be downloaded Here

A handout for Ian Tan’s talk, Evoking Our Shared Memories: Preserving our Heritage through Singaporean Poetry, scheduled for Panel 4: ‘How Do We Create a Sense of Home?’ can be found Here

Date: 14 September 2013 (Saturday) / 9.00 am to 2.30 pm

Venue: Function Hall, 5th Storey, URA Centre, 45 Maxwell Road

Admission is free and open to all but registration is required due to limited seating. Please register at https://www.eventbrite.com/event/6629277347

We hope to see you there!

 

Session notes from the event.

Panel 1

Panel 2

Panel 3

Panel 4

CFP for Home@CentreStage: A Seminar on Singapore’s Built Heritage

Home@Centrestage – Calling all Students and Teachers!

A Seminar on Singapore’s Built Heritage

Singapore Heritage Society and the Singapore Association for Social Studies Education would like to invite educators and students to present their views and experiences as they inquire into Singapore’s heritage in the following seminar: ‘Home at Centrestage: Inquiring into our Built Heritage & the Memories that make up our Home’

We are seeking teacher and student presenters for their views and experiences in exploring our built heritage at primary, secondary and tertiary levels (for presentations of about 10-15 mins each). Presenters can speak on the following suggested topics: Heartland as Heritage, Conservation and Development, Heritage Sites in Singapore, Deciding on Heritage, Forgotten Places and Places of Younger Generations. More information and application form is available in HERE. A Word Document version of the application form is available HERE.

The deadline for proposal submissions is 26 July 2013.

The Seminar will be held on 14 September 2013 at the Function Hall, URA Centre.

Public Talk: Sacred Sirih-Traditions and Symbolism in the Malay World

Public talk by Mr Khir Johari, organised by the Singapore Heritage Society and the National Library Board.

The Singapore Heritage Society and the National Library Board invites you to a public talk by Mr Khir Johari.

Sacred Sirih: Traditions and Symbolism in the Malay Word

Regional museums abound with sirih (betel) sets. We marvel at their beauty, and the considerable variation in style and decorative form. As we admire the loving skill of distant craftsmen, we sense that lurking beneath, are interesting stories about traditions and belief system.

This talk is about the culture behind the objects. We will also trace a path through time. How did the simple practice of chewing betel leaf become a central meme of Nusantaran civilisation? While sirih chewing is generally no longer practised in urban settings, we continue to celebrate not just the ornate receptacles, but also their medicinal properties and their role in traditional wedding ceremonies.

So just where does the sirih culture come from? What are the beliefs associated with it? Among other things, it is considered important in fostering social relationships. It was at once today’s tea and coffee, also tobacco smoking, and in addition, functioning as an aphrodisiac. It appears prominently in the language, folklore, and poetry of the region. Each ingredient in a “quid” of sirih, and every manner of its presentation signifies a message to the culturally attuned. Through learning more about this seemingly humble practice, we hope to leave with a deeper understanding of Malay culture.

About the Speaker

Khir Johari is a collector and an independent researcher on the history and culture of the Malay world. He was born and grew up in Gedung Kuning, in Kampong Gelam. Khir obtained a BSc in Mathematics from the Santa Clara University and a Master in Education from Stanford University. His 7 year stint teaching mathematics in the American public education system was marked by a Teacher of the Year Award, and winning the USA National PTA Excellence in Education Partnership Award for his community/teacher support project initiatives.

Khir is currently a Director at Chersonese Capital Ltd, an investment management firm. In his free time he enjoys documenting oral history, and amassing materials originating from Insular Southeast Asia such as old publications, artefacts, food and music. Khir also conceptualised and designed the Singapore Heritage Society’s various Historic Kampong Gelam Walking Tours.

Event Details

Date: 18 May 2013 (Saturday)

Time: 3.00 pm to 5.00 pm

Venue: Possibility Room, Level 5, National Library Building

Registration: Event is free but registration is required. Click HERE to register.

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Celebrating Bukit Brown @ The Substation, 20 Jan 2012

A one-day celebration of Bukit Brown, with photo exhibitions, expert presentations, a public forum and the premiere of a new documentary film on Bukit Brown!

Celebrating Bukit Brown
By The Singapore Heritage Society and All Things Bukit Brown
Sunday 20 January 2013, 2pm – 8pm
The Substation Theatre
Admission: Free of charge

Since the government’s decision to build a road through Bukit Brown Cemetery wasannounced in 2011, Singaporeans from all walks of life have flocked to the 200 year-old cemetery to accquaint themselves with its rich heritage and lush greenery. Local volunteers, academics, and artists have dedicated their time and craft to capture, recordand understand the legacy and meaning of Bukit Brown and its place in our nation’s history.

This year mass exhumations and the construction of the eight-lane road will begin. Celebrating Bukit Brown aims to showcase the efforts of ordinary Singaporeans who have worked tirelessly on Bukit Brown. It is a one-day event comprising photo exhibitions, poetry, expert presentations, theatrical readings, a public forum and a film screening. We invite you to bring artefacts, family mementoes and creative output (art, painting,poetry, music) to share your stories, and pen on the wall what Bukit Brown means to you. Descendants will share their journeys with you. Come celebrate our national heritage with us. There will be books and other merchandise available for purchase.

Highlights include:

1. Talks by battlefield archaeologist Jon Cooper on WWII
2. Presentation on the material culture of Bukit Brown and the Chinese diaspora by Dr Lai Chee Kien
3. First public-screening of the documentary Bukit Brown Voices by Khoo Su-Mae and Brian McDairmant. This 45-minute documentary follows Singaporean families asthey carry out Qingming rituals and exhume their ancestors.
4. Update on the documentation project by Dr Hui Yew-Foong, with input from DrTerence Heng and Jasmine Ng.
5. A public forum.

Heritage@Centrestage Seminar: An Inquiry into Singapore’s Heritage

A Seminar by Educators and Students

The Singapore Heritage Society and the Singapore Association for Social Studies Education (SASSE) invites you to a seminar on Singapore’s heritage. There will be presentations by scholars, teachers and students coming from a broad representation of schools in Singapore.

Programme

Download the programme and presentation abstracts (as of 1 September).

Details

Location: Possibility Room, Level 5, National Library Building

Time: 8.30 am to 3.00 pm

Date: 8 September 2012 (Saturday)

Refreshments will be provided. Admission is free, but as seats are limited, please register at the following URL: http://heritageatcentrestage.eventbrite.com/

The Cost and Value of Heritage in Singapore: A Pictorial Report

On a rainy Saturday afternoon on 14 April 2012, over 150 people were treated to an informative and enlightening public forum on ‘The Cost and Value of Heritage in Singapore: The Belitung Shipwreck and Bukit Brown.’ The forum panel included Dr Michael Flecker, Managing Director of Maritime Explorations, Dr Hui Yew-Foong, Fellow at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (ISEAS), Mr Kwa Chong Guan, Member of the National Heritage Board and the Chairman of the National Archives Board, and Assistant Professor Jack Tsen-Ta Lee, faculty member at the School of Law, Singapore Management University. The panel was chaired by Dr Kevin Tan, Immediate Past President of the Singapore Heritage Society.

The forum was organised by the Singapore Heritage Society and the School of Law, Singapore Management University, and was held in the Mochtar Riady Auditorium in SMU’s Administration Building along Victoria Street. One purpose of the forum was to raise public awareness of recent heritage issues concerning Singapore, and another was to try to deepen understanding of such issues beyond conventional perceptions.

The forum was opened by Dr Chua Ai Lin, Vice-President of the Singapore Heritage Society. She shared some thoughts on the theme of the forum, and encouraged more conversations about aspects of our past that are important to us — at all levels, from the family dinner table to national-level discussions. These private and public conversations form the starting point from which we can all play a role in determining the direction Singapore wants to adopt in identifying and conserving its heritage.

The forum was then divided into two portions: (1) presentations by the panelists to introduce their area of expertise to the audience as well as to deliberate on the theme of the forum, and (2) a dialogue between the panel and the audience.

Michael Flecker spoke first, sharing his experiences and insights gleaned from more than two decades of archaeological excavations of ancient shipwrecks, in particular the Belitung Shipwreck. The shipwreck is a ninth century Arabian dhow found near Belitung, an island off the east coast of Sumatra. It was carrying a near intact cargo of Tang Dynasty artefacts, all of which was bought by the Singapore government in 2005. Commenting on the controversy which engulfed the Smithsonian Institution last year, Flecker thought it was a pity the artefacts from the Belitung Shipwreck were not exhibited as they held significant educational value. He also noted that the Belitung artefacts are a valuable heritage resource for Singapore, as they shed light into an earlier part of Singapore’s history not fully researched just yet.

Hui Yew-Foong followed with a presentation on a more local (and perhaps a slightly ‘hotter’) issue, that is the debate over the present and future situation of the Bukit Brown area. As the primary researcher in the on-going documentation of graves affected by the proposed eight-lane expressway through the historic cemeteries (and a veteran too of other grave-documentation exercises), Hui introduced, with quiet authority, the audience to the Bukit Brown area and the cemeteries situated within, and the intrinsic heritage value they hold for Singapore. While acknowledging the merits of the on-going documentation process, he cautioned that documentation is only a mere representation of the heritage value, and cannot act as a substitute for what stands to be lost.

Jack Tsen-Ta Lee was next and his presentation on the legalities posed by the Belitung Shipwreck and Bukit Brown were thought-provoking. Regarding the former, Lee noted – as Flecker did before – that the excavation and recovery of the Tang-era artefacts were in fact legal, i.e. excavation was conducted with permission from the Indonesian Government. The debate and controversy were over ethical issues, i.e. should the shipwreck be left alone, should they be sold for commercial purposes. Regarding Bukit Brown, Lee deliberated over the possibility of bringing a judicial review to the Government, in other words to sue the Government to prevent the construction of the eight-lane expressway. Although Lee concluded mostly in the negative – as it would be difficult in this case to prove the Government has acted unreasonably, his presentation provided much insight into workings of the law and the responsibilities of the High Court and Government. It is not the role of the High Court to ensure Government makes the ‘right’ decision, but rather it is there to ensure Government has acted lawfully.

Kwa Chong Guan wrapped up the first part of the forum with a more scholarly but no less significant and insightful take on both the Belitung Shipwreck and Bukit Brown issues. An experienced ‘operator’ within the fields of heritage and historical scholarship for over three decades, Kwa suggested that there was little doubt over the value of both issues to understanding and broadening Singapore’s heritage landscape. The question perhaps is how the value would be interpreted and whether it would be accepted by most if not all. The Belitung Shipwreck for instance was an Arabian dhow in Indonesian waters. Still, its cargo provides a window into a world before Singapore was a colony or a nation-state, allowing for a different yet relevant interpretation of Singapore’s past. Similarly, the current debates over the status of the Bukit Brown area and the cemeteries within arguably bring to light the value of cultural and natural heritage to Singaporeans, and perhaps also how they wish for Singapore to be remembered now and in the future.

The public Q&A discussion which followed was efficiently moderated by Kevin Tan, allowing for a broad range of views and questions to be aired. Given its recentness, it was no surprise that Bukit Brown dominated the comments and opinions posed by the audience. Some of the more interesting comments included possible issues that could form the basis of a judicial review of the Government’s decision to build expressway – a query which also brought Tan, a leading constitutional lawyer and scholar, into the mix; and a comment about how Singaporeans seemed to be stung into action only when historic places such as Bukit Brown or the former KTM railway land were being threatened, which led to some discussion as to how Singaporeans can be more proactive about identifying, protecting and promoting their heritage.


All in all, it was an educational and enjoyable afternoon. The insightful presentations, the ensuing panel discussion and the incisive and passionate comments and questions from the audience left no one in doubt that heritage issues in Singapore will be well-tended to in the near and distant future.

Postscript:

See also the reflections of a member of the audience on the forum: Minimyna on History or Heritage

Assistant Professor Jack Lee has also blogged his presentation: Bukit Brown Cemetery – You Can Sue, But You Won’t Win

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Book Launch: The Fall of Singapore (19 May)

APD Singapore and the Singapore Heritage Society invites you to the book launch of The Fall of Singapore – 90 Days: November 1941-February 1942, by Justin Corfield and Robin Corfield.

The book will be officially launched by Ms Dahlia Shamsuddin, President of the Singapore Heritage Society. Justin Corfield will be present to sign copies.

As seats are limited, please register early at: http://fallofsingapore.eventbrite.com/

Venue: Imagination Room, Level 5, National Library Building

Date: 19 May 2012 (Saturday)

Start Time: 10.00 am

Admission is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be provided.

As seats are limited, please register early at: http://fallofsingapore.eventbrite.com/

About the Book

This book provides a day-by-day history of the Malayan Campaign and the Fall of Singapore from the first alerts  as the British prepare to move their forces  onto a war footing on 29 November, through  the fighting, and the Japanese Surrender, through to the Japanese imposing their rule in Singapore on 26 February – a total of 90 days. For each of the 90 days, all the major developments – military and political – are detailed along with information on every Allied soldier who died on that day.

With the Malayan Campaign and the Fall of Singapore symbolizing the end of British power  in Southeast Asia, and also the beginning of the end of the British Empire,  this book draws  from army war diaries,  published histories of the campaign, biographies and autobiographies of people involved, and family stories, as well as visiting most of the places connected with the conflict. Accompanying the text are over 2000 maps and illustrations,  including many provided by families and never before published.

You can find more information on the book here: http://www.apdsing.com/Talisman%20Web/The%20Fall%20of%20Singapore.htm

About the Authors

Justin Corfield was born in England, and has been interested in the Malayan Campaign and the fall of Singapore for most of his life. He was educated at St Paul’s School, London, the University of Hull, and completed his doctorate at Monash University. His father, Robin Corfield was a school boy in Australia during World War II; and his mother’s family lived in Singapore during the fighting and the subsequent Japanese Occupation; with one great-uncle serving in the Straits Settlements Volunteer Force. Robin and Justin Corfield have both written extensively on military history, Robin Corfield being awarded the Order of Australian Medal for his work on the Battle of Fromelles in World War I. They co-authored the Encyclopedia of Singapore (2006), the first encyclopedia on the country, before starting work on The Fall of Singapore. Robin Corfield died on 9 October 2010.

As seats are limited, please register early at: http://fallofsingapore.eventbrite.com/

We hope to see you there!

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CALL FOR PROPOSALS – Heritage at CentreStage: An Inquiry into Singapore’s Heritage

UPDATED (22 May 2012) – Confirmation of date, time and venue…

CALL FOR PROPOSALS

Heritage at Centrestage: An Inquiry into Singapore’s Heritage

A Seminar by Educators and Students

Presented by the Singapore Heritage Society and Singapore Association for Social Studies Education

Venue sponsor: National Library Singapore

Seminar Details

Date / Time: 8 September 2012, 9.00 am to 2.00 pm

Venue: Possibility Room, Level 5, National Library Building

Heritage may refer to something that is or may be inherited. It may be valued objects or qualities such as cultural traditions, historical sites and unspoiled natural environment. The idea of a collective inquiry into the making, gatekeeping and safekeeping of Singapore’s heritage will help its citizens fully understand and comprehend the importance of a country’s heritage in providing shared experiences and formulate a national identity that is perceived as elusive to a young nation like ours.

This seminar will provide a platform for the presentation of interest, creativity and potential many educators and students have towards Singapore’s heritage, while highlighting the different perspectives and opinions they have of Singapore’s heritage. It will, most importantly, listen to educators and/ or students’ views and feelings, not because they are necessarily true, but because they exist and ought to be empathetically heard and understood.


We invite educators and students to present their views and experiences as they inquire into Singapore’s heritage (10-15 mins per presentation). We are looking for educators and students doing social studies, history and geography at primary, secondary and tertiary levels. The form of presentation is flexible: it can be presented singly or in small groups (up to 3 persons), role play or an informal dialogue with the audience. Besides the presentations, educators and students can also send notes of their views and experiences by email to the conveners.

Some of the themes this seminar will be exploring are:

  • Value of Heritage: What is heritage to you? Does heritage have a place in our society? Whose heritage is being valued?

  • Heritage – Caught or Taught: How should heritage be experienced?

  • Heritage Discourses: State vs international experts vs local/community. When we refer to Singapore’s heritage, whose heritage are we referring to? Who defines heritage? Who speaks for heritage?

  • Values and Lessons: What values and lessons does heritage provide us, as citizens?

  • The Future: Do young citizens have a connection with heritage?

Please download and complete the APPLICATION FORM. All applications should be submitted to the conveners (as indicated in the form) by 27 July 2012.

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FASS-SHS Talk by Leonard Andaya (25 April)

The Singapore Heritage Society is supporting a talk by Professor Leonard Andaya happening on Wednesday, 25 April.

Entitled “Tracing the ‘Elusive’ Melayu in History and its Implications Today: Raking Through Leaves of the Same Tree”, the talk is part of NUS’ Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences’ the Distinguished Leaders in Asian Studies Speaker Series.

Details as follow:

Date: 25 April 2012
Time: 4 pm
Venue: Lecture Theatre 14, Block AS6, FASS

http://www.street-directory.com/nus/campus2.cgi?x=899&y=1231&level=2&heading=Lecture+Theatre+14&star=1

Hope to see you there!

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Launch of The Battle of Penang – A Pictorial Report

On 7 April, the Singapore Heritage Society and Trafalgar Publishing House hosted the Singapore launch of The Battle of Penang in the Possibility Room of the National Library of Singapore.

The Battle of Penang is authored by Dr John Robertson, a former Medical Officer in the Royal Navy, a retired scholar in the field of psychiatry, and a member of the Penang Heritage Trust. The book tells the tale of the SMS Emden, the notorious German cruiser, its exploits in the waters of Penang and Southeast Asia, and its regional and international impact.

The launch event opened with a talk by Dr Robertson, who presented an overview of the exploits of the SMS Emden, its impact particularly on the French and Russian navies in Penang waters, and its eventual demise at the hands of the HMAS Sydney.

The book was then officially launched by the French (H.E. Mr Olivier Caron) and Russian (H.E. Mr Leonid Moiseev) Ambassadors to Singapore, both of whom also went on to share their thoughts with the audience. Given the consequences of the Emden on the Russian Navy, the Russian Ambassador also suggested a Russian edition of The Battle of Penang will be well-received in his homeland.

This launch event also included a panel discussion with two well-known scholars of Singapore as well as Southeast Asian history: Dr. Kevin Tan, the Immediate Past President of the Singapore Heritage Society, and Dr. Ernest Chew, Visiting Professorial Fellow at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (ISEAS). Both scholars considered the actions and consequences of the SMS Emden within the broader frameworks of imperial, military and diplomatic history, and agreed that the book makes a valuable contribution to scholarship in those fields. A short Q&A discussion followed, where the panel and Dr Robertson fielded questions from a thoroughly entertained audience.

The event ended with a reception, sponsored by the publisher – Trafalgar Publishing House.

The Battle of Penang is distributed in Singapore by Mary Martin Booksellers. For orders and information about the book, please contact info@marymartin.com.

For more pictures of the event, please visit the Singapore Heritage Society’s Facebook page.

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An Ancient Hokkien Musical Tradition in Singapore (17 March 2012)

The Siong Leng Musical Association and the Singapore Heritage Society invites you to celebrate the opening of a new permanent exhibition at the Siong Leng Musical Association!

Join Chinatown expert guide, Chan Chow Wah, as he introduces you to the fascinating history of Siong Leng, Nanyin music and the streets around Bukit Pasoh and Telok Ayer where the Chinese community gathered. You will also be treated to a short performance by the talented musicians of Siong Leng.

Date / Time: Saturday, March 17, 2012, from 5:00 PM to 6:00 PM

Location: 4B Bukit Pasoh Rd, Singapore, 089818

Register at: http://siongleng17mar.eventbrite.com/ [There are limited places, so register early!]

Event is free and open to all members of the public. Donations to support Siong Leng Musical Association and the Singapore Heritage Society would be very much appreciated.

About Siong Leng Musical Association

The Siong Leng Musical Association 湘灵音乐社 was founded in 1941 to promote Nanyin 南音and Li Yuan Opera 梨园, although its origins in Singapore can be traced back to around 1901 as the Heng Yun Association. The development of the association was closely tied to the waves of Chinese immigration into Singapore and the social history of a growing  Hokkien population. Today, Siong Leng continues to thrive, training generations of young musicians who perform at temple occasions, cultural events, charity events and private functions, most notably at the annual Kusu Island Pilgrimage, the historical Thian Hock Keng Temple and concerts at the Esplanade.

Nanyin music (literally translated as “the music of the South”) has a history of more than 1,000 years.  It is a traditional opera form sung in the Minnan (south Fujian, or Hokkien) dialect and is central to the Minnan culture in southern China, as well as to Hokkien populations overseas. The slow, simple and elegant melodies are performed on distinctive instruments such as a bamboo flute called the dongxiao and a crooked-neck lute played horizontally called the pipa, as well as more common wind, string and percussion instruments. The rich repertoire of songs and scores preserves ancient folk music and poems and has influenced opera, puppet theatre and other performing art traditions. Nanyin is now included in UNESCO’s list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

About the speaker

Chan Chow Wah has an MSc in Social Anthropology from the London School of Economics. He is a Fellow of The Royal Anthropological Institute in UK and a member of American Anthropological Association and International Oral History Association. In 2006, he was among the inaugural batch of the National Library Board’s Lee Kong Chian Research Fellows. Chan works in the creative industry with a Swiss company in Singapore. He has published the book, Light on the Lotus Hill (2009), and produced a video documentary based on the book in 2011.

Find out more about Siong Leng Musical Association

http://siongleng-nanyin.blogspot.com

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Siong-Leng-Musical-Association/141656159188926?sk=info

About the Singapore Heritage Society

Founded in 1986, the Singapore Heritage Society is a non-profit, non-government organisation and registered charity. The Society is dedicated to the preservation, transmission and promotion of Singapore’s history, heritage and identity.

http://www.singaporeheritage.org/

https://www.facebook.com/sgheritage

DSCN5056
An Ancient Hokkien Musical Tradition in Singapore (26 Feb 2012)

The Singapore Heritage Society and the Siong Leng Musical Association invites you for a guided tour of the history of Siong Leng and Nanyin music on 26 Feb (Sunday)…

To celebrate the opening of a new permanent exhibition at the Siong Leng Musical Association, join Chinatown expert guide, Chan Chow Wah, as he introduces you to the fascinating history of Siong Leng, Nanyin music and the streets around Bukit Pasoh and Telok Ayer where the Chinese community gathered. You will also be treated to a short performance by the talented musicians of Siong Leng.

Venue: 4B Bukit Pasoh Rd, Singapore 089818

Date / Time: Sunday, February 26, 2012, from 5:00 PM to 6:00 PM

Very limited places are available, so REGISTER NOW at http://siongleng26feb-esearch.eventbrite.com/?srnk=1

There is no charge for this event but donations to support Siong Leng Musical Association and the Singapore Heritage Society would be much appreciated.

About the Siong Leng Musical Association

The Siong Leng Musical Association 湘灵音乐社 was founded in 1941 to promote Nanyin 南音and Li Yuan Opera 梨园, although its origins in Singapore can be traced back to around 1901 as the Heng Yun Association. The development of the association was closely tied to the waves of Chinese immigration into Singapore and the social history of a growing  Hokkien population. Today, Siong Leng continues to thrive, training generations of young musicians who perform at temple occasions, cultural events, charity events and private functions, most notably at the annual Kusu Island Pilgrimage, the historical Thian Hock Keng Temple and concerts at the Esplanade.

Find out more about Siong Leng Musical Association
http://siongleng-nanyin.blogspot.com
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Siong-Leng-Musical-Association/141656159188926?sk=info

A video clip of a Siong Leng performance:

Nanyin music (literally translated as “the music of the South”) has a history of more than 1,000 years.  It is a traditional opera form sung in the Minnan (south Fujian, or Hokkien) dialect and is central to the Minnan culture in southern China, as well as to Hokkien populations overseas. The slow, simple and elegant melodies are performed on distinctive instruments such as a bamboo flute called the dongxiao and a crooked-neck lute played horizontally called the pipa, as well as more common wind, string and percussion instruments. The rich repertoire of songs and scores preserves ancient folk music and poems and has influenced opera, puppet theatre and other performing art traditions. Nanyin is now included in UNESCO’s list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

About the speaker

Chan Chow Wah has an MSc in Social Anthropology from the London School of Economics. He is a Fellow of The Royal Anthropological Institute in UK and a member of American Anthropological Association and International Oral History Association. In 2006, he was among the inaugural batch of the National Library Board’s Lee Kong Chian Research Fellows. Chan works in the creative industry with a Swiss company in Singapore. He has published the book, Light on the Lotus Hill (2009), and produced a video documentary based on the book in 2011.

CoffeeShopSG
CakapHeritage @BetelBox: “talking shop” (25 Feb)

The Singapore Heritage Society and Betel Box Living Bistro presents the first CakapHeritage session! Read on for more information…

Venue: Betel Box Living Bistro, 200 Joo Chiat Road, Singapore 427471
Date / Time: Saturday, 25 February, 3.00-4.30 p.m.
Admission: Free and open to the public (but limited to 30 participants). Free flow of coffee and tea, courtesy of Betel Box. Please register at http://cakapheritage.eventbrite.com.

About “talking shop”:

In this session, our guest speaker, Dr Lai Ah Eng, will kick off the discussion with a topic on the landmarks that are characteristic of our heartlands. Kopitiams, provision shops, food stalls and markets in our local housing communities are arguably some of the little living heritage sites that make and mark the local community. For more information, see flyer.

About CakapHeritage:
Heritage, it seems, is no longer a thing of the past. Recently, there has been a clamour to save our heritage so as to preserve it for posterity as well as provide those of us in the present with a sense of rootedness to this place we call home. From old mosaic-tiled playgrounds to a centuries-old cemetery – what is heritage to you? What is your heritage? Why is it precious to you? Come share your thoughts with us about your heritage and why it resonates so deeply with you. This is a good opportunity for heritage enthusiasts to mingle with one another to talk about the topic that is dear to their hearts – heritage.

Speculaaskruiden
Book Talk: Spice Islands by Ian Burnet

APD Singapore and the Singapore Heritage Society invites you to a talk by Ian Burnet, author of the recently published Spice Islands (2011). Ian will share some insights into the history of the famous Spice Islands of Indonesia, their produce which have captured the imagination of some of the world’s most famous explorers, and the subsequent attempts by their sponsors to control and dominate the spice trade.

About Spice Islands:

Ian Burnet, Spice Islands, Rosenberg Publishing, 2011

Cloves and nutmeg are indigenous to the Spice Islands of Eastern Indonesia, this book tells of the many uses of these exotic spices and the history of their trade over a period of more than 2000 years. It follows the Silk Road across Central Asia and the Spice Route over the Indian Ocean and describes how the spice trade into Europe came to be dominated by Middle Eastern and Venetian merchants.

Backed by the Crowns of Portugal and Spain, explorers such as Columbus, Vasco da Gama and Magellan dreamt of capturing this trade by sailing directly to the Spice Islands, driving the maritime exploration of the world known as ‘The Age of Discovery’. Much of the story is told through the lives of these historical characters, as well as Sir Francis Drake, Jan Pieterzoom Coen, Pierre Poivre, and others that are lesser known but equally important. The story also revolves around the intense rivalry between the Sultans of Ternate and Tidore and their relationship with the Portuguese, Spanish, Dutch and English, who at different times occupied the Spice Islands.

The book follows the growth of the Dutch and English East India Companies which were founded to profit from the spice trade and their efforts to monopolise that trade. It finishes as the Dutch East Indies Company goes into bankruptcy and the once splendid Sultanates sink into obscurity.

About the speaker:

A professional geologist/geophysicist, Ian Burnet learned about the Spice Islands of Ternate, Tidore and Banda on his first visit to Indonesia in 1968, and have always been interested in the Portuguese, Spanish, and Dutch activities in the islands and the spices that made them rich. He found it surprising that the fascinating history of these islands and how they caused the European ‘Voyages of Discovery’ had never been adequately told, and he promised to tell the story one day. Spice Islands is the result.

Ian is a member of The Australian Society of Authors, The NSW Writers Centre, and The Australian Indonesian Association. He lives in Sydney, Australia and is currently working on another book about the history of the archipelago called ‘Timor Journey East’.

Conference: History as Controversy (14-15 Dec 2011)

Writing and Teaching Contentious Topics in Asian Histories

 

Date:    14 Dec 2011 – 15 Dec 2011

Venue: Seminar Room B, Shaw Foundation Building Level 1, AS7 Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, National University of Singapore @ Kent Ridge

 

Jointly organized by the Singapore Heritage Society, Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore and the Humanities and Social Studies Education, National Institute of Education, Singapore. With support from the Lee Foundation.

 

Recent decades have witnessed a remarkable expansion of debates over the content of history textbooks and the ways in which contentious historical issues and topics are being taught in schools. In Asia, attempts to whitewash the crimes of Imperial Japan in school textbooks were met with strong protests by civil society organizations and state politicians across the continent. No less cogent and significant were the protracted disputes in the United States over proposed revisions to the Texas social studies curriculum, which were viewed by most Americans as a bold stratagem on the part of a minority religious group to downplay the role of the country’s founding fathers and the importance of maintaining a secular society which allows for a diversity of views and beliefs.

 

One key issue that emerges from these and other similar polemics is that, in an increasingly digitized and globalized world, there is a need for professional historians, students of history and educators to confront rather than ignore or sidestep historical themes and topics that may be viewed as ‘controversial’ or ‘sensitive’. Young people especially need to learn how to adjudicate competing accounts and deal with the range of controversies they are likely to encounter in public life. The teaching of historical controversies can help foster active citizenry and widen our understanding of the past; it can help open up new possibilities for the creation of a knowledge-driven, cosmopolitan and mature society.

 

Indeed, controversy, debate, and argumentation are central to disciplinary work and participating in academic controversy involves contestation, challenge, and rigorous debate as part of progressive knowledge building and the advancement of fields of study. History writing and teaching, being one of many forms of disciplinary work, involves a continual evaluation of the strength of claims and accounts and consideration of rival as well as competing perspectives. This work is central to citizenship as well.

 

Bringing together students, teachers and scholars of history, History as Controversy aims to shed light on philosophical, methodological and practical questions concerning the teaching and writing of historical controversies in Asia. The conference takes on a comparative country perspective, seeking to interrogate controversial events, ideologies and personalities that defined the contours of the past and the present in countries across Asia and seeks to mark out differences and commonalities, connections as well as disjunctures between them. Another reason why comparative and global perspectives are pertinent for this workshop is to encourage the audience and presenters to view controversy as something that is addressed differently in different contexts.

 

Programme and Abstracts
More information can be found here.

Posted in Activities, Conferences, Talks | Tagged
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Talk: Shopping in Ancient Singapore (3 Dec 2011)

What the Archaeology of Victoria Concert Hall & Victoria Theatre Tells Us

 

a talk by Lim Chen Sian

venue: Possibility Room, Level 5, National Library Building, 100 Victoria Street
date | time: Saturday, 3 December, 3.00 – 5.00 pm
admission: Free and open to the public
enquiries: Wendy Chua (shs.secretary@gmail.com)

 

Singapore prides itself as a Mecca for shopping, and tourists from all over Southeast Asia fly in for the weekend to indulge in retail therapy. As a port settlement, Singapore is not primarily a production centre but rather a centre of procurement – importing and exporting produce and goods from the region and beyond. Over the years, the island has expanded its ability to effectively procure, if not monopolize, merchandize,redistribute, and retail these produce and goods. So how was shopping like in the past? What did people buy? What was considered trendy and at the height of fashion?

 

The Singapore Heritage Society recently partnered with archaeologists from the National University of Singapore to conduct a salvage excavation project at the Victoria Concert Hall and Victoria Theatre, where significant varieties of artifacts were recovered from the dig. What can archaeology tell us about the material culture of the past? Join us for an afternoon of “shopping” in ancient Singapore.

 

For more information, click here

Posted in Talks | Tagged
The Native Plants of Singapore- Hugh Tan
Talk: The Native Plants of Singapore: Growing Your Natural Heritage. A talk by Dr Hugh Tan

venue: The POD. Level 16, National Library. 100 Victoria Street
date | time: Saturday, 9 Jul 2011 | 3.00-5.00 pm
admission: Free and open to the public
enquiries: shs.secretary@gmail.com (Wendy)

The native plants of any country are indigenous species that naturally occur there and have evolved in that country over thousands or millions of years. Although Singapore has about 2,145 native species of vascular plants consisting of the fern allies, ferns, gymnosperms, and flowering plants, the landscaping in the urban area, such as streets, parks, gardens, and even rooftop gardens, is done mostly using non-native or exotic species, usually from Central or South America, Africa or other parts of Asia. This is a great shame since many Singaporean species are equally, if not more, attractive and suitable for planting in urban conditions. In this talk, the case will be made for “going native” and how to grow native plants. The native plants of Singapore are part of our natural heritage, so we should do our best to propagate, protect and preserve them for posterity.

Hugh TW Tan is a Singaporean Associate Professor of Botany at the Department of Biological Sciences, National University, and Deputy Director of the Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research. His current areas of research include conservation biology, the horticultural use of native plants of Singapore, and urban agriculture. He has edited and/or written many books and book chapters on the biology of plants and natural history of Singapore, including The Natural Heritage of Singapore (3rd Edition), A Guide to Growing the Native Plants of Singapore, Growing at Your Doorstep: 35 Native Plants of Singapore (2nd Edition), A Guide to the Threatened Plants of Singapore, A Guide to the Orchids of Singapore (Revised Edition), A Guide to the Carnivorous Plants of Singapore, Plant Magic: Auspicious and Inauspicious Plants from around the World, etc.

Read PDF Brochure of The Native Plants of Singapore- Growing Your Natural Heritage- A talk by Dr Hugh Tan

Teren Sevea Sufis and Sacred Space Talk1
Talk: The Sufi and the Bearded Man Talk | Dilemma of the Pious Storytelle​r: Preserving Sufis and Sacred Space in Singapore. A talk by Teren Sevea

In conjunction with the exhibition The Sufi and the Bearded Man

Saturday, 2 July 2011. 3-4.30pm. NUS Museum

To register, email: museum@nus.edu.sg
or call 6516 8429

In November 2009, the custodian of an erstwhile keramat received a notice calling upon him to remove his “open shed” from “State land”, a notice that was a milestone in the path of removing the shrine complex. The talk attempts to explore key oral traditions that play an active role in preserving the historical memory of cults centered around keramats such as the “open shed” that were, and continue to be, believed as the resting place of peripatetic saints celebrated for their miracles, learning and lineages. Such traditions, running through chains of transmission that linked anecdotes back to original storytellers, operate as of self-histories of cults that failed to inherit autobiographical records of their saints or keramats. The talk will also discuss how 19th century saints and shrines have been remembered in contemporary Singapore, often at the expense of ecstatic shrine cultures, Islam of the carnivalesque, the identity of the deceased saint, “Muslim” heritage, and architectural remains that connect place and memory.

Speaker:
Teren Sevea is a PhD Candidate at the University of California, Los Angeles. His research interests include Muslim saints and brotherhoods in nineteenth century Southeast Asia. He is the co-editor of a forthcoming volume entitled Sufism since the Eighteenth Century: Learning, Debate and Reform in Islam. He has also published articles on Muslim reformist connections between South and Southeast Asia.

Read PDF Brochure of The Sufi and the Bearded Man Talk- Dilemma of the Pious Storytelle​r- Preserving Sufis and Sacred Space in Singapore- A talk by Teren Sevea

NUS Museum
University Cultural Centre
50 Kent Ridge Crescent
National University of Singapore
Singapore 119279
Tel: (65) 6516 8817
Fax: (65) 6778 3738
Email:
museum@nus.edu.sg
Blog:
www.nusmuseum.blogspot.com

OPENING HOURS
10am – 7.30pm (Tuesdays – Saturdays)
10am – 6pm (Sundays)
Closed on Mondays and Public Holidays

Posted in Past Activities, Talks | Tagged , ,
Spaces-of-the-dead_front-cover-web
Book Launch: Spaces for the Dead: A Case from the Living.

venue: The Armenian Church, Hill Street
date | time: Saturday, 28 May 2011, 3.00 – 5.00pm
RSVP: http://shs-booklaunch.eventbrite.com/
equiries: shs.secretary@gmail.com (Wendy)

Programme
3.00 pm Guests to be seated
3.05 pm Speech by Dr Kevin YL Tan, President, SHS & Editor of Spaces for the Dead, 2011
3.20 pm Speech by Dr Liew Kai Khiun, convenor of Spaces for the Dead, 2001
3.30 pm Book launched. Tea and book signing
4.00 pm Interaction between SHS members & Exco followed by Q & A session
5.00 pm Event ends.

Seen primarily as final resting places, cemeteries are increasingly under threat from urban redevelopment in land-scarce Singapore. Regarded as ‘excess space’ by state planners, and as ‘taboo places’ by the local populace, the rich historical and cultural heritage of our cemeteries have remained largely unappreciated and hidden.

Today, there are about less than a dozen cemeteries left in Singapore. With the recent exhumation of major cemeteries like Bidadari Cemetery and Kong How Shua Cemetery, concerns have been raised about the status of cemeteries in Singapore.

Spaces of the Dead: A Case from the Living brings together various authors concerned with the need for conservation of cemeteries in Singapore. This book showcases cemeteries as spaces of historical, architectural and social merit through the writings and photo-journals of the authors. We hope it will serve as an initial step in generating greater interest in
and awareness of Singapore’s cemeteries.

Contributors
Kevin Blackburn • Goh Si Guim • Ho Choon Hiong • Ho Hua Chew • Hui Yew Foong • Michael Kam • Lindy Kerr • Clement Liew • Liew Kai Khiun • Edmund Lim Wee Kiat • John Miksic • Elizabeth McKenzie • Sally Oh Poh Wah • Scottie Perry • Liesel Strauss • Kevin YL Tan • Tan Boon Hui • Wan Meng Hao • Johannes Widodo • Sue Williams • Brenda SA Yeoh

Read PDF Brochure of Spaces for the Dead Book Launch

botanical gardens walk shawn lum1
Tour: The Heritage of Singapore’s Botanic Gardens- a walk by Dr Shawn Lum

meeting point: Visitor’s Centre, Singapore Botanic Gardens. Cluny Road
date | time: Sunday, 24 Apr 2011 | 8.00-11.00 am
cost: $20.00 (Members) | $35.00 (Others)
reservations: shs.secretary@gmail.com (Wendy).
This tour is limited to 30 persons.
Hurry to avoid disappointment.

 


 

A botanical garden was established not long after Raffles arrived in Singapore. However, this first botanical garden, at the base of Canning Hill near the National Museum, was not long-lived. The Singapore Botanic Gardens that we know at Tanglin recently celebrated its 150th anniversary. It has been an experimental garden, a centre for botanical research, a focal point for horticultural science, and a beloved public park throughout its storied history. It has also been home to many pioneering – and often, rather eccentric – botanists. In our brief walk through the Gardens, we’ll look at areas (and trees) of particular heritage interest and the stories they tell as we amble through 150-plus years of Singapore history.

 

 

Shawn YK Lum is a tropical rainforest ecologist. He was born in Hawaii and was educated at Harvard University and at the University of California, Berkeley. After his post-doctoral attachment at the then Department of Botany at the National University of Singapore, Shawn joined the Natural Sciences and Science Education Faculty at the National Institute of Education. He currently offers courses on the Diversity and Evolution of Plants, Environmental Studies and Global Issues, the Conservation and Management of Natural Habitats and Environmental Sustainability. He is a member of the Botanical Society of America, the American Society of Plant Systematists and the Singapore Institute of Biology. Shawn is the current President of the Nature Society (of Singapore).

 

Read PDF Flyer Botanic Gardens Walk with Dr Shawn Lum

singapore conference hall Lim Chong Keat
Talk: The making of the Singapore Conference Hall & Trade Union House- a talk by Datuk Seri Lim Chong Keat

venue: Lee Foundation Theatre, NAFA Campus 3, 151 Bencoolen Street
date | time: Saturday, 23 Apr 2011 | 2.00-4.00 pm
registration 1.30 pm
admission: Free and open to the public
registration: http://shs-lim-chong-keat.eventbrite.com
enquiries: shs.secretary@gmail.com (Wendy)

 

This year, the Singapore Conference Hall & Trade Union House were gazetted as a National Monuments. With the demolition of the National Library, National Theatre and National Stadium, this iconic building is the last of  Singapore’s ‘nation-building’ buildings. The idea to construct the hall was first mooted in 1960 and the subsequent design competition was won by the Malayan Architects Co-Partnership, comprising Lim Chong Keat, ChenVoon Fee and William Lim. Built at a cost of $4 million, and completed in 1965, the building is considered one of the finest examples of international style architecture in Singapore.

 


Lim Chong Keat will present a talk about the concepts and the total design and building process and that led to the realisation of the building – and also the historical circumstances for architecture at that time. Lim, who was princpal of the firm at the time, was also the key designer and architect-in-charge of the project. He will discuss aspects of the total design including the site planning, the structure, climate considerations and detailing, and will also mention his special interest in the acoustics of the hall, and its use not only for conferences but also for concert performances.”

 

Lim Chong Keat was born to a distinguished family in Penang in 1930. He initially trained as an architect, graduating from the University of Manchester with a BA Hons in Architecture and then a Master’s degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) where he specialised in Architectural Acoustics under Prof Robert Newman (Bolt, Beranek & Newman, Cambridge Mass.). Under the group practice of Malayan Architects Co-partnership, succeeded by Architects Team 3/Jurubena Bertiga, he and his partners were responsible for several concert halls, notably the Singapore Conference Hall, Jurong Town Hall, DBS Auditorium, Penang Komtar auditoria & Geodesic Dome (Dewan Tunku), and the Shah Alam Town Council Auditorium.

 

Lim was the Founder Chairman of ARCASIA, and also Chairman of the CAA Board of Architectural Education. He received the BBM in Singapore, and was awarded the PAM Gold Medal in 1997. He has been a Visiting Professor at the University of Manchester, and Quatercentenary Visiting Fellow at Emmanuel College Cambridge. He now researches on Botanical species and conservation, and publishes the journal Folia Malaysiana, and resides in Penang.

Read Lim Chong Keat Talk 23042011

Talk: Chinese Schools in 20th Century Singapore: a talk by Dr Neo Peng Fu

venue: Possibility Room, Level 5, National Library, 100 Victoria Street
date | time: Saturday, 2 Apr 2011 | 3.00-5.00 pm
admission: Free and open to the public
enquiries: shs.secretary@gmail.com (Wendy)

 

During the first decade of the 20th century, the Chinese community in Singapore began to set up schools that offered a modern form of education using Chinese as medium of instruction. By 1941, before the outbreak of the Pacific War, these schools had numbered more than 300. And by the 1950s, a complete Chinese school system comprised of elementary schools to tertiary institution had come into existence. How did the Chinese schools develop in Singapore and how were they being managed and maintained with minimal or virtually no support from the colonial government? This talk will attempt to answer these questions and present a historical review of the role of Chinese education in Singapore.

 

 

 

Dr. Neo Peng Fu is a historian by training. He received his undergraduate and post graduate education at the National University of Singapore and University of California at Santa Barbara respectively. He publishes in the fields of Chinese intellectual history and Chinese education in Singapore. He is currently an academic with the National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University.

 

 

Read PDF Brochure of Talk: Chinese Schools In 20th Century Singapore.

 

Tour: Royal Riau: a historical tour of Tanjung Pinang with Dr Vivienne Wee

The Singapore Heritage Society proudly presents Royal Tanjung Pinang, a journey to the island of Bintan, once the centre of the Johor Riau-Lingga empire. This 3 days 2 nights tour (11 to 13 March 2011) is organised by the Singapore Heritage Society and led by local anthropologist and scholar, Dr Vivienne Wee.

 

 

Today, most Singaporeans know Bintan for its sandy beaches, seafood and high-end resorts. Few visitors to the island know of its close historical connections with Singapore. Its capital Tanjung Pinang, located on the southwestern part of the island, is the the largest town in the Riau Islands and has been an important centre of the Johor Riau Empire since the 17th century. In particular, the island of Penyengat, located off the coast of Tanjung Pinang, was the spiritual and political seat of the Johor Sultanate at the time Raffles claimed Singapore for the British in 1819. It was to Penyengat that Raffles’ men sought out Tengku Long and invited him to Singapore island to be crowned Sultan Hussein of Johore. Not far from Tanjung Pinang is the old settlement of Senggarang where you can find one of the oldest Chinese temples in the region.

About Our Guide

 

Dr Vivienne Wee is an independent anthropologist and researcher. Previously, she had been Associate Professor at the City University of Hong Kong and also at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. She received her BFA (summa cum laude) from the University of Minnesota, her MSocSc from the University of Singapore and her PhD from the Australian National University. Since 1981, Vivienne has been actively researching the ethnography of the Riau archipelago and is an acknowledged expert of the region and its peoples. Her doctoral thesis was on the Malays of Riau. She is also a founder member of AWARE (Association of Women for Action and Research).

Cost of Tour
SHS Members:

  • S$350 per person (Twin-sharing)
  • S$400 per person (Single)

Non-members:

  • S$430 per person (Twin-sharing)
  • S$480 per person (Single)

Cost includes all meals, hotel, entrance fee, transportation, guides and all local transportation.
The following are not included: telephone, laundry and all other sundry expenses.

To Book
Contact Ms Wendy Chua
(Email: shs.secretary@gmail.com) to book a place on this not-to-be-missed tour. This tour is limited to 30 persons only. Hurry!

Tour Programme



Day 1: Friday (11 March)
8.00 am Assemble at Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal
9:15am Depart Singapore for Tanjung Pinang via ferry.
10.45 am Arrive in Tanjung Pinang and tranfer to Comfort Hotel. Check-in.
12.00 pm Depart Tanjung Pinang for island of Penyengat.
12.30 pm Arrive for lunch at Penyengat
1.30 pm Lecture on history & history of Penyengat.
2.30 pm Walking tour of historic sites of Penyengat.
6.00 pm Boat ride from Penyengat to Tanjung Pinang and off to early dinner.
Evening at leisure.

Day 2: Saturday (12 March)
8.30 am Breakfast
9.30 am Trip to Bintan Bukit Batu to see the graves of the pre-Temasik royals
12.00 pm Packed lunch
1.00 pm Boat ride to Hulu Sungai Riau, sites of pre- Penyengat graves of Bugis royals
5.00 pm Return to hotel, rest
6.30 pm Dinner
Evening at leisure

Day 3: Sunday (13 March)
8.00 am Breakfast and check out by 9.30 am
9.30 am Boat ride to Senggarang (old Chinese settlement on stilts).
10.00 am Walking tour of Senggarang.
12.00 pm Return to Tanjung Pinang for lunch. Postlunch time at leisure for shopping.
5.45pm Arrive at Tanjung Pinang ferry terminal
6.30 pm Depart Tanjung Pinang by ferry for Singapore.

Your Hotel

 

Comfort Hotel & Resort Tanjung Pinang is located at Jalan Adi Sucipto, just 20 minutes from Seaport and 5 minutes from Airport. It is close to Tanjung Pinang’s central business district, commercial center and government offices. The Hotel is designed in resort style and the grounds are lusciously landscaped.

Read PDF Brochure Tg Pinang Tour

Tour: Singapore’s KTM Railway Line: A Journey Along History a heritage walk with Dr Lai Chee Kien

meeting point Dempsey Road Public Car Park
date | time Saturday 22 Jan 2011 | 7.15 am
cost $30.00 (Members) | $40.00 (Others)
reservations shs.secretary@gmail.com (Wendy).
This tour is limited to 40 persons.

 

The history of railways in Singapore may be understood as three periods of development: The Singapore-Kranji-Railway ran a service from Singapore Town (Tank Road) to Woodlands at the turn of the 20th century to connect “town” to the “hinterland”. The second phase saw the transfer of its management to the Federal Malay States Railway when the Causeway was built in 1923 and the Tanjong Pagar Railway Station constructed a decade later. This inter-war phase connected the island to the social and economic milieus of British Malaya and the peninsula, but also heightened the importance of the Keppel area with its docks and harbour development.

 

The 24km Jurong Branch line, conceived before merger with Malaya, Sarawak and Sabah to form the geobody of Malaysia, was intended in the third phase to imagine an economy of industrial production that was connected to the main line, but also to markets in the peninsula and in South Thailand, despite Singapore’s subsequent separation from it in 1965. In May 2010, the two governments in Singapore and Malaysia announced plans to redevelop the 180 hectares of railway land, while conserving the two stations in Bukit Timah and Tanjong Pagar. This tour will attempt to revisit some of the stations and locations of interest in Singapore, including treks along certain stretches of the railways. We hope to capture some of the aspects of this everyday heritage before it winds down and cease operations come July 2011.

 

Dr Lai Chee Kien is Assistant Professor at the Department of Architecture, National University of Singapore. He graduated with an M.Arch. by research from NUS in 1996, and from University of California, Berkeley with a PhD in History of Architecture and Urban Design, in 2005. He is a registered architect in Singapore. He researches on the histories of art, architecture, landscapes and urban environments in Southeast Asia. His publications include A Brief History of Malayan Art (1999), Building Merdeka: Independence Architecture in Kuala Lumpur, 1957-1966 (2007) and Singapore: Towards Another Botanical Age (2008).

Talk: Light on Lotus Hill: The Sino-Japanese War & World War II in Singapore: A talk by Chan Chow Wah

Venue: Possibility Room Level 5, National Library
Date | Time: Saturday, 8 Jan 2011 | 3 – 5pm
Admission: Free and open to public

 

“Light of the Lotus Hill”, a book documenting the life of Venerable Pu Liang was launched on 28 May 2009. The book documents the life and history of Venerable Pu Liang, the 10th Abbot of Shuang Lin Monastery, who was also the chairperson of the Singapore Chinese Buddhist Association from 1937 to 1942.

 

In 1935, Venerable Pu Liang initiated the 2nd restoration of the Shuang Lin Monastery but when the Sino Japanese war erupted in 1935, he stopped the restoration project and suported the China Relief Fund founded by Tan Kah Kee.

 

After the fall of Singapore, Venerable Pu Liang was arrested and executed by the Japanese. It is reasonable to believe that if Venerable Pu Liang had survived the war, he would have restored the Shuang Lin Monastery.

 

This history was largely unknown until the author, Chan Chow Wah, began research about 5 years ago and put together the history of Venerable Pu Liang. In the research process, 4 of the 5 known photos of Venerable Pu Liang were found. The venerable’s photos were hidden after his execution to prevent harassment from the Japanese soldiers.

 

The Author Mr Chan Chow Wah read Masters in Social Anthropology from London School of Economics, UK and is a Lee Kong Chian Research Fellow 2006,  and Fellow of The Royal Anthropological Institute, UK

Talk: Towkay Blood Ties a talk by Andrew Tan

venue: Possibility Room. Level 5, National Library. 100 Victoria Street
date | time: Saturday, 4 Dec 2010 | 3.00 pm –5.00 pm
admission: Free and open to the public
enquiries: Wendy Chua (shs.secretary@gmail.com)

 

Towkay families in Singapore intermarried with their allies in business and politics. From 1819 until disrupted by WW2, arranged marriages were the basis of trust underlying joint business ventures, partnerships, and mergers. This was when private agreements were not inked out. And long before labour unions, good relations with heads of clans, who controlled the coolies, were linked matrimonially.

 

Their relatives in government committees lobbied monopolistic interests by “laissez-faire” policies and public contracts. Family cliques aided foreign warlords for lucrative markets, utilizing their banks (investment funds), newspapers (propaganda editorials) and quasi-political institutions (leadership usurped to spearhead PR and donations).

 

Unlike Asian genealogies, women are included: highborn matriarchs, dowered with landed estates, bequeathed their properties to descendants. Such estates remain. This lineage chart spans 140 years (1819-1959) of strategic unions, reflecting the economic and political ambitions of towkay families.

 

Image attached shows the arranged marriage between the Pang (co-founder of today’s UOB) & Tan families (bride’s lineage: Tan Kheam Hock, Choa Kim Keat, Tan Kim Ching & Tan Tock Seng); bridegroom Charles tops the occasion by presenting $2000 to the colonial government’s War Fund on 24 June 1940, at the family villa, No. 1 Balmoral Road. Officiated by Dr Lim Boon Keng (top right); also present, the Pangs’ ward & future brotherin-law, Lim Kim San.

 

Andrew Tan is a freelance researcher for the National Library. He is currently recreating his childhood through his dwelling, a 3-dimensional Singapore Memory project. Different branches of his family dumped their inter-War stuff on him (having kept the earlier, more valued “Peranakan” items; whilst overlooking Art Deco, the style in Singapore from 1930s-1950s). But it was those decades when the family evolved from merchant-bankers to politicians. So the artefacts of this period were personal effects of some pre-PAP political figures. Included in his family collection are his family’s Singapore books from before the war, notably the 1922 edition of Song Ong Siang’s (indirect kin through my great-granduncle who got the OBE).

 

Read Towkay Blood Ties poster

Talk: Tagore in Singapore: a talk by Angela Faye Oon

venue: The Pod. Level 16, National Library, 100 Victoria Street
date | time: Saturday, 30 Oct 2010 | 3.00pm
admission: Free and open to the public
enquiries: shs.secretary@gmail.com (Wendy)

 

Rabindranath Tagore’s visit to Singapore and the Malay peninsula in 1927 is little known even amongst Tagore scholars.

 

Why did this extraordinary Bengali polymath
– the first Asian to win the Nobel Prize for Literature
– decide to embark on a journey through Singapore and Malaya for an entire month?

 

Where were the places he went to, and what did he do when he was here? How was he received by the various local communities and how did he in turn present himself to different audiences? This talk will make use of contemporaneous news and magazine articles, photographs and letters to trace Tagore’s route through Singapore and the Federated Malay States.

 

More than simply nugget trivia about Tagore, however, his visit also provides important insights into the social and political milieu of interwar colonial Singapore and Malaya. The talk will explore the different reactions his visit engendered among the Indian, Chinese and European communities, all illuminating the nascent notions of nationalism of the period. In particular, it will investigate an important controversy that Tagore unexpectedly found himself mired in during his trip, arising out of anti-colonial comments that he supposedly made to a Shanghainese newspaper earlier. The incident aroused the ire of many editors of the English press in Singapore, but was covered quite differently in the pages of Chinese-language newspapers

 

Angela Faye Oon is a research associate in the Nalanda-Sriwijaya Centre at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies. Her lecture describes part of the Centre’s current project investigating the Asian travels of Rabindranath Tagore. It makes use of materials from the National Library Board’s newspaper archives, including the Malaya Tribune, Malay Mail, Singapore Free Press, Straits Times, Malacca Observer, Penang Gazette, Nanyang Siang Pao, Le Bao, and Union Times.

 

Tagore Talk 30 Oct 2010

Talk: Big On Big-O: A Jump Back In Time. an afternoon of conversations, images and music by Koh Nguang How, Ivan Thomasz & Paddy Chng hosted by Lim Cheng Tju

venue: Show Room. Ground Floor, The Post Museum. 107–109 Rowell Road
http://www.post-museum.org/map.html
date | time: Saturday, 25 Sept 2010 | 3.00pm
admission: Free and open to the public
enquiries: shs.secretary@gmail.com (Wendy)

Singapore Heritage Society together with the The Post Museum is proud to present an afternoon of conversations, images and music by Koh Nguang How, Ivan Thomasz and Paddy Chng hosted by Lim Cheng Tju at The Post Museum 107-109 Rowell Road on 25 September 2010, 3pm.

BigO (Before I Get Old) magazine is Asia’s most respected rock magazine.
Established in September 1985, by brother Michael and Philip Cheah, the Singapore-based magazine has championed the creation and promotion
of made-in-Singapore music and has released many CDs of local music. The magazine began as a monochrome photocopied publication and moved to full colour in 1992. It is now an online publication with a huge worldwide audience.

This session, hosted by former Big-O journalist Lim Cheng Tju, features the rock visuals of Koh Nguang How, one of Singapore’s most important archivists/historians/researchers on Singapore art and pop culture. In his talk, Koh will share with us another aspect of Singapore heritage that many have ignored – our DIY/indie/alternative pop/underground music scene since the mid 1980s. Most of us have hazy memories of the gigs, the sweat and that ‘no surrender’ outlook that was only possible when you were young. The demo tapes from the late 1980s have crumbled to dust. But the sound and images remain in our heads and now, they will be brought back to light by Koh in this sharing.

Music from that those days of wine and roses will be provided by DJ Ivan Thomasz and a special live performance by Paddy Chng of the Oddfellows
will follow the talk & discussions.

Big On Big-O: A Jump Back In Time. an afternoon of conversations, images and music by Koh Nguang How, Ivan Thomasz & Paddy Chng hosted by Lim Cheng Tju

Talk: Understanding History, Culture and Identity through Memory- Ms Debra Boyd

On behalf of National Library Board, the NLB has organised for a talk on October 4, Monday at the Woodlands Regional Library from 7pm – 8.30pm

Together with the U.S. Embassy and Public Libraries Singapore, Ms Debra Boyd, an American expert on African-American Studies, will be giving a talk on the importance of memory, understanding one’s history, culture and how identities are formed.

About the Speaker Ms Debra Boyd, a former American Fulbrighter, is currently the Associate Professor of French and Chair, Department
of Modern Foreign Languages, at North Carolina Central University.

Understanding History, Culture and Identity through Memory- Ms Debra Boyd

Forum: The Fajar Generation: A Forum on Reading Singapore History-a panel discussion by Khairudin Aljunied, Sai Siew Min & Edgar Liao moderated by Loh Kah Seng

venue: Possibility Room, Level 5 @ National Library, 100 Victoria Street
date / time: Saturday, 28 Aug 2010, 2.30 – 5.00pm

The Fajar Generation: The University Socialist Club and the Politics of Postwar Malaya and Singapore appeared quietly late last year. It is a collection of essays on a group of English-educated student activists at the University of Malaya (later Singapore) in the 1950s and 1960s, edited by the Club’s former presidents: Poh Soo Kai, Tan Jing Quee and Koh Kay Yew. In their preface, the editors expressed the hope that the book ‘would open the way to a more objective review and analysis of the diverse trends and movements that have contributed to the emergence of our nation-state’. In this symposium, three young Singaporean historians critically examine the writing of Singapore’s recent past and discuss the challenges faced by current efforts to reclaim the histories of the marginalised. The topics of their talks are:

Syed Muhd Khairudin Aljunied: ‘Alternative Histories of Singapore: A Derivative Discourse?’
Sai Siew Min: ‘The Fajar Generation: Under the Shadows of British Colonial Nationalism’
Edgar Liao: ‘The Fog of Dawn: The University Socialist Club and English-educated Student Activism in Singapore, 1949- 1971’
A discussion with the audience will follow.

Dr Syed Muhd Khairudin Aljunied is Assistant Professor in the Department of Malay Studies, National University of Singapore. His recent publications include Colonialism, Violence and Muslims in Southeast Asia: The Maria Hertogh
Controversy and its Aftermath (2009) and Reframing Singapore: Memory, Identity and Trans- Regionalism (2009).

Dr Sai Siew Min is Assistant Professor at the History Department in the National University of Singapore where she
teaches Singapore, Southeast Asian and gender histories. Her main publications address issues concerning the Chinese
and Chineseness in Southeast Asia, in particular, Indonesia and Singapore.

Mr Edgar Liao is a Master of Arts candidate in the Department of History, National University of Singapore, and co-author of a forthcoming book on the University Socialist Club.

The Fajar Generation: A Forum on Reading Singapore History-a panel discussion by Khairudin Aljunied, Sai Siew Min & Edgar Liao moderated by Loh Kah Seng

Talk: Farish A Noor- Remembering Singhapura & Our Trans-Continental Pasts
Presented by Singapore Heritage Society together with The National Library Board
Possibility Room, Level 5, National Library, 100 Victoria Street
Saturday, 3 Jul 2010 | 3.00pm
Southeast Asia is a curious part of the world where multiple histories and geographies overlap. On the one hand we are at the cutting edge of the immediate present, yet the past - and it is an ancient past, mind you – informs our political, cultural and economic choices till today.
Being a Southeast Asian, or an ASEANist, today means having to re-connect with these overlapping geographies and histories and coming to terms with the cosmopolitanism that is inherent in our nations as well as ourselves. But this
also means having to transcend the narrow and parochial perspectivism of ethno-nationalist discourse that has become our postcolonial inheritance.
One avenue for such change happens to be art, and I would argue that the process of re-connecting with our multiple histories and geographies is as much the task of the artist as it is that of the politician, technocrat and geographer.
Book Launch: Peter Borschberg’s The Singapore and Melaka Straits: Violence, Security and Diplomacy in the Seventeenth Century

Presented by Singapore Heritage Society together with the National Library Board & NUS Press
venue: The Pod, Level 16 @ National Library, 100 Victoria Street
date / time: Saturday, 6 Feb 2010, 2.30 – 5.00pm
Guest-of-Honour: Professor Wang Gungwu

The first half of the 17th century brought heightened political, commercial and diplomatic activity to the Straits of Singapore and Melaka. Key elements included rivalry between Johor and Aceh, the rapid expansion of the
Acehnese Empire, the arrival of the Dutch East India Company, and the waning of Portuguese power and prestige across the region. Archives in Portugal, Spain and the Netherlands contain detailed information on these developments in the forms of maps, rare printed works, and unpublished manuscripts, many of them unfamiliar to modern researchers.

The Singapore and Melaka Straits draws on these materials to examine early modern European cartography as a projection of Western power, treaty and alliance making, trade relations, and the struggle for naval hegemony in the Singapore and Melaka Straits. The book provides an unprecedented look at the diplomatic activities of Asian powers in the region, and also shows how the Spanish and the Portuguese attempted to restore their political fortunes by
containing the rapid rise of Dutch power. The appendices provide copies of key documents, transcribed and translated into English for the first time.

Associate Professor Peter Borschberg BA (Hons)(Kent); PhD (Cambridge), is Associate Professor in the Department of History at the National University of Singapore. His research interests covers that of Southeast Asia in the early modern period as well as legal history. His main publications include: Remapping the Straits of Singapore? New Insights from Old Sources (in press); The European Musk Trade with Asia in the Early Modern Period (Oriente, 2003); ‘The Seizure of the Santo Antonio at Patani: VOC Freebooting, the Estado da India and Peninsular Politics?’ (Journal of the Siam Society, 2003); Portuguese, Spanish and Dutch Plans to Construct a Fort in the Straits of Singapore, ca. 1584-1624? (Archipel, 2003); A Luso-Dutch Naval Confrontation in the Johor River Delta 1603 (Zeitschrift der Deutschen Morgenlaendischen Gesellschaft, 2003); ‘The Seizure of the Sta. Catarina Revisited. The Portuguese Empire in Asia, VOC Politics and the Origins of the Dutch-Johor Alliance’ (1602 ?c.1616)? (Journal of Southeast Asian Studies, 2002); and Iberians in the Singapore-Melaka Area (16th to 18th Century).

Flyer: Peter Borschberg’s The Singapore and Melaka Straits: Violence, Security and Diplomacy in the Seventeenth Century

Talk: Vignettes in Time: Singapore Maps and History through the Centuries- a Curator’s Tour by Lim Chen Sian & Mok Ly Yng

venue: Level 10 The National Library, 100 Victoria Street
date | time: Saturday, 30 Oct 2009 | 5.00 pm

This exhibition depicts Singapore as seen through cartographers, geologists, mariners, military generals and town planners. Beginning with the arrival of the British and merchants from the nascent East India Company, to military strategists of Imperial Japan and postwar city planners, “Vignettes in Time” provides snippets of littleknown
histories.

This exhibition features three ‘firsts’. First, this is the largest exhibition of Singapore maps ever. Moreover, more than 80% of the materials on display are original artifacts and not reproductions.

Secondly, the Lim Shao Bin Collection of Japanese Maps & Materials includes the (never before seen) Secret Papers of General Utsunomiya’s Operation Nanpo. Never before has such a large body of Japanese materials relating to Singapore been contextually exhibited.

Third, shown for the very first time in public – anywhere – is a pair of sketches/images of Singapore dating to February and April 1819. These were only recently discovered by Australian researcher Marcus Langdon. They predate ALL known maps and images of Singapore, and can be said to be the “earliest known” images of Singapore to exist!

This exhibition is part of the National Library’s i.remember.sg festival and was opened by Acting Minister for Information, Communications and the Arts, RAdm (NS) Lui Tuck Yew.

Don’t miss it!

LIM Chen Sian majored in Archaeology and Finance at Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts and has recently completed his MA research thesis with the Southeast Asian Studies Programme National University of Singapore (NUS). His interest in cartography of Singapore stems from his work in studying and identifying historical
archaeology sites. His research interests includes the archaeology of colonial period Singapore and
identifying the potential archaeologies in Singapore.

Flyer: Vignettes in Time: Singapore Maps and History through the Centuries- a Curator’s Tour by Lim Chen Sian & Mok Ly Yng

Talk: The Multicultural Kopitiam in Singapore- a talk by Dr Lai Ah Eng

venue: Imagination Room, Level 5, National Library, 100 Victoria Street
date | time: Saturday, 5 Sep 2009 | 3.00 pm

This is the story of Singapore’s multicultural diversity seen through a unique feature – the kopitiam (coffeeshop) –
found mostly in the HDB estates in which 85% of Singapore’s population live. Often viewed as a quintessential feature of Singapore everyday life and public culture, the kopitiam is one among several institutions and spaces in Singapore
within which are embedded dynamic aspects and processes of migration and socialcultural diversity, set within the larger context of Singapore as a rapidly changing and globalizing city.

Originally a small-scale set-up serving drinks, nibbles and sometimes meal foods, the kopitiam has undergone a major transformation over the years. This talk examines the following aspects of the kopitiam’s cultural and social diversity: 1) foods and stalls, 2) owners, stallholders and workers, 3) customers, 4) social activities and cultural politics, and 5) local and international connections. In doing so, it explicates the historical, social and cultural evolution of the kopitiam as a site of Singaporean multi-culturalism.

LAI Ah Eng is senior research fellow at Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore. She has worked in various research capacities at the Consumer’s’ association of Penang, Housing Development Board (Singapore), the National Archives of Singapore, Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (Singapore) and Institute of Policy Studies (Singapore), and lectured at the Departments of Sociology and Social Work, National University of Singapore.
Her research areas include multiculturalism, migration, family and heritage. Her recent major publications include Meanings of Multiethnicity: A Case Study of Ethnicity and Ethnic Relations in Singapore (1995), Beyond Rituals
and Riots: Ethnic Pluralism and Social Cohesion in Singapore (ed.) (2004), Secularism and Spirituality: Striving for Integrated Knowledge and Success in Madrasah Education in Singapore (co-ed.) (2005), and Religious Diversity in Singapore (ed.) (2008). She has also written articles on ethnicity, religion, gender and family issues.

Flyer: The Multicultural Kopitiam in Singapore talk by Lai Ah Eng

Talk: Maps and Charts of Singapore from the Archives of Continental Europe- a talk by Dr Peter Borschberg

venue:  The Pod, Level 16 The National Library, 100 Victoria Street
date / time: Saturday, 15 Aug 2009; 2.00–4.00pm

Studies of the historical cartography of Singapore and Malaya have commonly been based on British and Japanese maps and charts even though the area has been a vital international maritime crossroads centuries prior to the founding of the island by Raffles in 1819. In his research on the involvement of continental European nations in Southeast Asia between the 16th and 19th centuries, Peter Borschberg has encountered rich archives of maps
and other navigational illustrations on what is now Singapore from libraries and archival centres across continental Europe. Borschberg will discuss his findings and share his collection painstakingly accumulated over the past decade.
Aside from their graphic and colourful designs and accounts, these illustrations are critical in revealing Singapore’s global significance in the pre-Raffles era.

Associate Professor Peter Borschberg BA (Hons)(Kent); PhD (Cambridge), is senior lecturer in the
Department of History at the National University of Singapore. His research interests covers that of Southeast
Asia in the early modern period as well as legal history. His main publications include: Remapping the Straits
of Singapore? New Insights from Old Sources (in press); The European Musk Trade with Asia in the Early
Modern Period (Oriente, 2003); ‘The Seizure of the Santo Antonio at Patani: VOC Freebooting, the Estado
da India and Peninsular Politics?’ (Journal of the Siam Society, 2003); Portuguese, Spanish and Dutch
Plans to Construct a Fort in the Straits of Singapore, ca. 1584-1624? (Archipel, 2003); A Luso-Dutch Naval
Confrontation in the Johor River Delta 1603 (Zeitschrift der Deutschen Morgenlaendischen Gesellschaft,
2003); ‘The Seizure of the Sta. Catarina Revisited. The Portuguese Empire in Asia, VOC Politics and the
Origins of the Dutch-Johor Alliance’ (1602 ?c.1616)? (Journal of Southeast Asian Studies, 2002); and Iberians
in the Singapore-Melaka Area (16th to 18th Century).

Flyer: Maps and Charts of Singapore from the Archives of Continental Europe- a talk by Dr Peter Borschberg

Talk: Vignettes in Time: Singapore Maps and History through the Centuries – an exhibition curated by Lim Chen Sian featuring the collections of the National Library Board and Mr Lim Shao Bin

venue: Level 10 The National Library, 100 Victoria Street
date | time: Saturday, 1 Aug 2009 | 2.00 pm

This exhibition depicts Singapore as seen through cartographers, geologists, mariners, military generals and town planners. Beginning with the arrival of the British and merchants from the nascent East India Company, to military strategists of Imperial Japan and postwar city planners, “Vignettes in Time” provides snippets of littleknown
histories.

This exhibition features three ‘firsts’. First, this is the largest exhibition of Singapore maps ever. Moreover, more than 80% of the materials on display are original artifacts and not reproductions.

Secondly, the Lim Shao Bin Collection of Japanese Maps & Materials includes the (never before seen) Secret Papers of General Utsunomiya’s Operation Nanpo. Never before has such a large body of Japanese materials relating to Singapore been contextually exhibited.

Third, shown for the very first time in public – anywhere – is a pair of sketches/images of Singapore dating to February and April 1819. These were only recently discovered by Australian researcher Marcus Langdon. They predate ALL known maps and images of Singapore, and can be said to be the “earliest known” images of Singapore to exist!

This exhibition is part of the National Library’s i.remember.sg festival and will be opened by Acting Minister for Information, Communications and the Arts, RAdm (NS) Lui Tuck Yew. Don’t miss it!

LIM Chen Sian majored in Archaeology and Finance at Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts and has recently completed his MA research thesis with the Southeast Asian Studies Programme National University of Singapore (NUS). His interest in cartography of Singapore stems from his work in studying and identifying historical
archaeology sites. His research interests includes the archaeology of colonial period Singapore and identifying the potential archaeologies in Singapore.

Flyer: Vignettes in Time: Singapore Maps and History through the Centuries – an exhibition curated by Lim Chen Sian featuring the collections of the National Library Board and Mr Lim Shao Bin

Talk: Health in Colonial Singapore: Experiences of Ordinary People- a talk by Dr Loh Kah Seng, Dr Liew Kai Khiun & Ms Kelly Fu

venue: Imagination Room, Level 5 @ National Library, 100 Victoria Street
date / time:  Saturday, 18 Jul 2009, 2.00 – 4.00pm

The history of medicine and healthcare has traditionally been defined according to the chronological milestones of hospitals, lives of doctors and discoveries of diseases and cures. But, especially for the case of Singapore, less has been mentioned on how ordinary people have dealt with health and illnesses, both as patients as well as participants.
In this respect, three scholars seek to bring light on this otherwise forgotten aspect of the experiences of people in
healthcare in colonial Singapore. Ms Kelly Fu would discuss about the role of vernacular midwives in the area of childbirth in an era where home deliveries were the norm. Dr Loh Kah Seng in contrast, will share his research on the struggles of leprosy patients in dealing with not just their own conditions, but the stigma and discrimination surrounding the disease. Finally Dr Liew Kai Khiun would discuss the roles of ordinary people in confronting the Spanish Influenza of 1918 which took about 60 million lives worldwide and thousands in British Malaya.

Dr Liew Kai Khiun was recently a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Asia Research Institute of the National University of Singapore. He has undertaken studies on the social and labour, and Medical Histories of both Singapore and Malaysia.

Ms Kelly Fu is currently a doctoral candidate at Goldsmith College and her talk comes from part of her research into reproductive and maternal health in Singapore.

Dr Loh Kah Seng who received his PhD from Murdoch University, has done significant research work on the
lives of ordinary Singaporeans during the colonial era,ranging from leprosy patients, the experiences of common
people during the Great Depression as well as the social history of Bukit Ho Swee.

Flyer: Health in Colonial Singapore: Experiences of Ordinary People- a talk by Dr Loh Kah Seng, Dr Liew Kai Khiun & Ms Kelly Fu

Book Launch: A panel discussion- Singapore: A 700-Year History – From Early Emporium to Global City.
Singapore: A 700-Year History – From Early Emporium to Global City
A panel discussion
The Pod, Level 16, National Library, 100 Victoria Street
Saturday, 20 June 2009 | 2.00pm
Hitherto, much of Singapore’s history has been a history of its colonial past, starting from 1819 when the ambitious Stamford Raffles claimed Singapore for the British East India Company. Few contemporary history books trace Singapore’s past before that time. A notable exception is the new book: Singapore: A 700-Year History – From Early Emporium to Global City authored by local historians Tan Tai Yong, Kwa Chong Guan & Derek Heng. Providing a critical examination of this new volume and offering their own perspectives on the writing of Singapore history are three younger academics and teachers: Jason Lim, Syed Muhd Khairudin Aljunied and Alvin Tan. This forum-styled programme also serves as an engaging and interactive platform between domain experts of the respective subjects with the audience.

Flyer: Singapore: A 700-Year History – From Early Emporium to Global City

Talk: Writing Historical Fiction: A Dialogue with Suchen Christine Lim – in conversation with Philip Holden

venue: Visitors’ Briefing Room, Level 1, National Library. 100 Victoria Street
date | time: Saturday, 6 June 2009 | 2.30pm

Suchen Christine Lim is perhaps Singapore’s foremost historical novelist, and has written fiction with a variety of settings from nineteenth century Malaya and the Straits Settlements to contemporary Singapore. In a dialogue with Philip Holden co-sponsored by the Singapore Heritage Society, Suchen will explore a variety of issues related to
the presence of history in her literary works. Topics to be discussed include the tension between historical accuracy and the demands of a literary narrative, he intersection between private experience and public history, and the place of women’s stories in re-imagining the history of Singapore. There will also be ample time for questions from the audience.

Su-Chen Christine Lim was born in Malaysia and came to Singapore at the age of 14. She read Literature at the University of Singapore, graduated with a post-graduate diploma in Applied Linguistics and joined the Ministry of Education as a curriculum specialist. She published her first novel Rice Bowl in 1984, and her second novel Gift From The Gods (1990) was nominated for a National Book Development Council award in 1992. That year, Lim won the inaugural Singapore Literature Prize for her third novel Fistful Of Colours (1992). A Bit Of Earth (2000) was also nominated for the Singapore Literature Prize in 2004. Lim retired in August 2003, to devote her time to writing.
Her latest books include: Hua Song: Stories of the Chinese Diaspora (2005) and The Lies that Build a Marriage: Stories of the Unsung, Unsaid and Uncelebrated in Singapore (2007).

Dr Philip Holden is Associate Professor of English at National University of Singapore and Vice-President of the Singapore Heritage Society.

Flyer: Writing Historical Fiction: A Dialogue with Suchen Christine Lim – in conversation with Philip Holden

Talk: Singapore Historic Buildings 101: GEDUNG KUNING a talk by Ms Hidayah Amin

venue: Visitors’ Briefing Room. Level 1, National Library, 100 Victoria Street
date / time: Saturday, 16 May 2009 | 2.00pm

Very little is known of Gedung Kuning or the Yellow Mansion at No. 73 Sultan Gate. Once a stately residence for a Bendahara or Prime Minister, Gedung Kuning was, from 1912 to 1999, home to the family of Haji Yusoff ‘Tali Pinggang’ or Haji Yusoff the Belt Merchant. Haji Yusoff, patriarch of Gedung Kuning was a respected merchant who toiled at his business and was recognised as one of the great pioneers in the Malay community. Gedung Kuning has witnessed the seasons of Haji Yusoff ’s family through four generations, ad its gate welcomed the poor who came to ask for alms. Even to the very last day when the family moved out, Gedung Kuning stood proud befitting its royal colour and stature. Hidayah Amin, one of Haji Yusoff ’s greatgranddaughters revisits her childhood home, taking you beyond the gate guarded by stone eagles, through rooms with big mirrors and marble floors and shares interesting anecdotes growing
up in Gedung Kuning, the legacy of a Malay family in Singapore.

Hidayah Amin is one of Haji Yusoff ’s great-granddaughters and is fondly known to family members as Cik Idah. She was born and grew up in Gedung Kuning. She is the creator of www.gedungkuning.com.
Hidayah was a Fulbright Scholar who once volunteered in a medical mission in tsunami-stricken Aceh and taught film-making to Native American children in a Reservation. She hopes to publish her first book Gedung Kuning, Memories of a Malay childhood this year.

Flyer: GEDUNG KUNING talk by Hidayah Amin

Movie: Premier of Two Documentaries- The Pirate & The Emperor’s Ship. Ah Kew the Digger

Premier of Two Documentaries-

  • The Pirate & The Emperor’s Ship: The notorious Pirate King Tan Lian Lay (aka Tan TeckHui) once terrorised the waters of Perak Malaysia and Bagan Siap-Api, Indonesia. His personal storyand the history of his coastal bases are a mix offact, fiction, legend, myth and religious belief. Fieldresearcher Lee Eng Kew (aka Ah Kew) retraces how anotorious criminal went from being a powerful gangleader to a hunted man, and later a revered deity. This documentary is the second collaboration betweenEng Yow and Eng Kew.
  • Ah Kew the Digger: Follow the efforts of one man – Lee Eng Kew (akaAh Kew) freelance writer and field historian as heexplores temples and grave yards to archive epitaphs,trace lineage and record oral history. For over tenyears, this man in the street has carried out extensiveresearch on the illustrious history of Taiping, a townof many firsts in Perak, Malaysia – focusing on theChinese immigration and contributions to the townand state.

Flyer: Documentaries: The Pirate & The Emperor’s Ship. Ah Kew the Digger

Talk: William Farquhar: Singapore’s ‘Forgotten Founder’ a talk by Mr Jean-Claude Fuchs

venue: Screening Room, The Arts House, Old Parliament Lane
date / time: Saturday, 28 Feb 2009; 2.30–4.00pm

William Farquhar (1774–1839) was born at Newhall, Aberdeenshire, in Scotland. At the age of 17, he joined the
military service of the British East India Company and saw action in the Indian sub-continent in the early 1790s. In 1795, he was involved in the taking of Malacca from the Dutch and by 1803 was Commandant of the settlement. He spent the next 15 years successfully running that colony despite considerable difficulties. With Stamford Raffles,
he established British presence in Singapore and was left in charge of the new settlement after Raffles left for Bencoolen in Sumatra. He fell out with Raffles over the management of the settlement and Raffles arranged to replace him with
John Crawfurd. Farquhar was most unhappy, initially refusing to leave and later sued Raffles for his autocratic behaviour. He finally left in December 1823 and returned to Britain, where he settled in Perth in 1829. In 1837, he was given the rank of Major-General and he died at his home, Early Bank, and was buried in Greyfriars churchyard.
Despite his significant contributions to the early development of Singapore, Farquhar is today, a forgotten figure. Even the little street named in his memory is gone. Jean-Claude Fuchs shares his research on the life of this remarkable man
and his times.

Jean-Claude Fuchs was born in France and is currently a permanent resident in Singapore. Since retiring from his post as an executive with a Swiss multi-national, Jean-Claude has dedicated his time to researching the life and times of Major-General William Farquhar and his family line. The family tree he has constructed now include some 400 descendants of William Farquhar.

Flyer: William Farquhar: Singapore’s ‘Forgotten Founder’

Talk: Creating Greater Malaysia- a talk by Professor Tan Tai Yong

venue: Possibility Room @ National Library, 100 Victoria Street
date / time: Sunday, 12 Oct 2008, 2.30 – 4.00pm

This talk is based on his new book Creating Greater Malaysia: Decolonization and the Politics of Merger that re-opens the episode of Singapore’s merger with Malaya in the early half of the 1960s. Placed within the tumultuous context of the Cold War, he seeks to go within the mindsets of both the Singapore and Malaysian governments in coming together (abetted by the British) as part of the attempts to collectively strengthen themselves from what they perceived as the encroaching influence of Communism. Professor Tan also attempts to delve into the issues of ethnic politics in explaining the possibility of both the People’s Action Party and UMNO persuading their populace that the existing ethnic status quo would not be threatened with merger. In revisiting a period that has been otherwise taken for granted, Professor Tan research demonstrates the need for our pasts to be constantly reviewed.

Professor Tan Tai Yong joined the History Department at the National University in 1986. He is currently the Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences as well as the Director of Institute of South Asian Studies at the National University of Singapore. He has published on the partition of South Asia, civil-military relations, the Sikh diaspora, colonial Punjab and, more recently, the history of Singapore.

Flyer: Creating Greater Malaysia- a talk by Professor Tan Tai Yong

Talk: Places of Suffering & Healing – a talk by Ms Kelly Fu, Mr Loh Kah Seng & Dr Liew Kai Khiun

venue:  Basement 1, Central Lending Library @ National Library, 100 Victoria Street
date / time: Saturday, 11 Oct 2008, 2.30 – 4.00pm

The 2003 SARS epidemic reminded Singaporeans of the fragility of life and the selfless devotion to life as healthcare workers braved the risks of deadly infection to stand by the stricken. However significant its impact, such experiences are not new in Singapore’s history. In this respect, three post-65 Singaporean researchers seek to examine the historical contexts of health and illness in the country to explore places of suffering and healing. From the cradle, Ms Kelly Fu will examine the socio-cultural heritage of childbirth in colonial Singapore from village midwives to modern hospitals. Determined that the sufferings of leprosy patients should not be forgotten, Mr Loh Kah Seng intends
to bring us back to the segregated compounds in which they had endured both the pains of the disease as well as
the stigmas of society. With the recent concerns of emerging and re-emerging diseases, Dr Liew Kai Khiun would demonstrate how diseases like the Spanish Influenza in 1918 had affected Singapore and how its populace had responded to the pandemic.

Dr Liew Kai Khiun is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Asia Research Institute of the National University of Singapore. He has undertaken studies on the social and labour, and Medical Histories of both Singapore and Malaysia.

Ms Kelly Fu is currently a PhD Candidate at Goldsmith College. Her research entails the study of the historical dimensions of reproductive health, midwifery and childbirth in Singapore.

Mr Loh Kah Seng is currently a PhD candidate at Murdoch University researching into the social history of slums in Singapore, particularly that of Bukit Ho Swee. He has also written about the social experiences of ordinary people in Singapore during the Great Depression in the late 1920s as well as leprosy patients

Flyer: Places of Suffering & Healing- a talk by Ms Kelly Fu, Mr Loh Kah Seng & Dr Liew Kai Khiun

Talk: Eating Together Singapore: The Hawker Centre in the Singapore Story- a talk by Professor Lily Kong

venue: Basement 1, Central Lending Library @ National Library, 100 Victoria Street
date / time: Saturday, 27 Sep 2008, 2.30 – 4.00pm

Based on her book on Singapore Hawker Centres, Professor Kong seeks to share her study on how such eating places have become an iconic Singapore landscape and way of life. She intends to map out the development of this social institution, from the early days of street peddlers to the consolidated hawker centres initiated in the late 1960s and early 1970s, to the food courts of the 1980s and 1990s. Together, they highlight the uniqueness of place in crafting
Singapore’s landscape identity in the face of the changing global trends.

Professor Lily Kong is Vice President (University and Global Relations) and concurrently the Director of the Asia Research Institute at the National University of Singapore. She sits on several academic and editorial boards internationally, and serves on numerous boards and committees of various Ministries and statutory boards in Singapore. Lily is a social and cultural geographer who has written widely on Singapore’s place histories and identities,
religion, popular culture, and cultural industries. Her latest book on which this talk is based traces the socio-economic and cultural developments of hawker centres and street food cultures since the colonial era.

Flyer: Eating Together Singapore: The Hawker Centre in the Singapore Story- a talk by Professor Lily Kong

Talk: Grand Prix: The Upper Thomson Road Prequel 1960s–1970s. Talk by Mr Eli Solomon
Basement 1, Central Lending Library @ National Library, 100 Victoria Street
Saturday, 7 Sep 2008, 2.30 – 4.00pm
The Singapore Grand Prix ran from 1961–1973. The first event was called the Orient Year Grand Prix and held on a stretch of Upper Thomson Road that encompassed the Sembawang Hills Circus and a section of Old Upper Thomson Road. The Singapore Grand Prix was by no means a singleseater procession, and included the Saloon & Tourer, and Sports & GT, car support races, along with the highly popular races for motorcycles. Based on his book Snakes & Devils, Mr Eli Solomon traces the turbulent history of the Singapore Grand Prix through his extensive research examining
documents and doing interviews across three continents.
Talk: Lim Boon Keng- A Life to Remember. 1869-1957

Venue: Level 9 Promenade, National Library
Date: Wed 24 Jan- Sun 18 Mar 2007

Lim Boon Keng: A Life to Remember
Introduction
Dr Lim Boon Keng was a phenomenon. He was a polymath the likes of which Singapore has never seen and is unlikely to see again. A brilliant scholar, Lim won a Queen’s Scholarship to study medicine at Edinburgh University. During his long and eventful life, Lim was medical doctor, legislator, scholar, educator, entrepreneur, community leader, social reformer and philanthropist.
This exhibition is held in conjunction with the launch of the reprint of Dr Lim’s seminal work, The Chinese Crisis from Within to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Dr Lim’s death in January 1907.
Early Life & Education
Lim Boon Keng was born the third son of Lim Thean Geow on 18 October 1869 in Singapore. His mother died when he was three and by aged 12, he was orphaned. Lim was educated at the Cross Street Government School and then at Raffles Institution where he proved himself an exceptional scholar. In 1887, Lim became the first Chinese to win the Queen’s Scholarship and proceeded to Scotland to study medicine at the University of Edinburgh. Lim graduated with first class honours in August 1892, winning the Atholl Medal for his stellar performance.
Medical Practice (1893–1921)
When Lim returned to Singapore in May 1893, he established his medical practice in a small shop-house in Telok Ayer Street. In his leisure hours, he learnt Mandarin and Cantonese and read Chinese literature. Lim soon established a reputation as a first-rate physician and in 1897, he went into partnership with Dr T Murray Robertson and opened ‘The Dispensary’ at Raffles Place. Lim continued to practice there for about 10 years. In 1911, Lim was appointed Inspector-General of the hospitals in Peking (Beijing) and in the following year, became confidential secretary and personal physician to Dr Sun Yat-sen, first President of the Chinese Republic.
Public Service
Lim Boon Keng dedicated his life to public service, juggling between his role as legislator and promoter of causes important to him. He was particularly conscious of his Chinese identity and this manifested itself in his championing of the learning of the Chinese language and Chinese modernization. In 1895, Lim was appointed a member of the Straits Settlements Legislative Council at the tender age of 26. He was reappointed to the Council in 1898, 1901, 1915 and 1918 and made Justice of the Peace in 1897. In 1901, when the Chinese Company of the Singapore Volunteer Infantry was established, Lim enlisted as a private. He served for 4 years.
Lim campaigned tirelessly for educational reforms and led the fight against opium smoking. Together with Dr SC Yin, Lim founded the Anti-Opium Society in 1906 and opened an opium refuge centre offering free treatment for opium addicts. He was concerned about the social condition of the Chinese and crusaded against archaic practices such as the wearing of the queue or ‘pigtail’. He also initiated a movement against gambling.

In 1897, he founded the Chinese Philomathic Society, a Baba association devoted to the study of English literature, Western music and the Chinese language. Three years later, he co-founded the Straits Chinese British Association to promote interest in the British Empire and loyalty to the Queen.With his friend Song Ong Siang, Lim founded the Singapore Chinese Girls’ School, the first English school for Chinese girls. In 1905, he and Tan Jiak Kim raised funds to establish the Straits and Federated States Medical College (later renamed King Edward VII College of Medicine). Lim lectured in pharmacology and therapeutics at the school from 1907 to 1910. He also became President of Amoy University in 1921, and held that post till 1937.
Lim was an accomplished linguist, speaking English, Hokkien, Malay, Japanese, French, German, Latin, Greek, Mandarin, Cantonese and Teochew. In 1898, he started weekly Mandarin classes for Straits Chinese, held on Sundays, at his home. He also visited Java in 1906 and opened five schools for the teaching of Mandarin.
Between 1894 and 1919, Lim spearheaded the Confucian revival in Malaya, actively promoted Confucian ethics through speeches and his writings in the Straits Chinese Magazine. His concern with modernization in China also saw him assume the leadership of the anti-Manchu Tongmeng Hui or Revolutionary League (founded 1906) and in 1913, he became president of the Singapore branch of the Kuomintang.
Commercial Activities
Lim Boon Keng was also a pioneering entrepreneur. In 1896, he encouraged his friend Tan Chay Yan to start rubber planning in Malacca, and two years later, they teamed up with Lee Choon Guan and others to form the Sembawang Rubber Plantations Limited.
In September 1912, together with Lim Peng Siang, Lee Choon Guan and others, Lim established The Chinese Commercial Bank Ltd, and became its Vice-Chairman. Seven years later, he teamed up with Tan Ean Kiam, Lim Nee Soon, Khoo Kok Wah, he founded The Oversea-Chinese Bank Ltd. Lim was also involved in tin, shipping and other businesses and was a key founder of the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce in 1906.
Last Years 1937-1957
Lim Boon Keng returned to Singapore in 1937 after resigning from Amoy University. Back in Singapore, Lim founded and chaired the Straits Chinese China Relief Fund Committee of Singapore, to support China in her war efforts against the Japanese. In late February 1942, when the Japanese invaded Singapore, they appointed Lim as president of the Overseas Chinese Association, which was assigned to raise a $50 million ‘gift’ for the Japanese. The Japanese also appointed Lim Chinese consul general in Singapore and Chairman of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce.
Lim pretended to support the Japanese Military Administration but actually resorted to passive resistance. He hardly took part in the activities of the Overseas Chinese Association, and was drunk or pretended to be drunk most of the time. After the war, he was exonerated from all blame by the British authorities.
Lim Boon Keng died on 1 January 1957. He was survived by his second wife, Grace Yin Pek Ha. His first marriage had been to Margaret Wong Tuan Keng, daughter of Wong Nai Siong and they had four sons: Robert, Francis, Walter and John. His second marriage produced two children: daughter Ena and son Peng Han. Another extra-marital liaison produced Lim Peng Thiam who also became a doctor.

Flyer: Exhibition- Lim Boon Keng- A Life to Remember. 1869-1957

Talk: The architectural history of Penang’s shophouses- a presentation by Dr. Mai Lin Tjoa-Bonatz

venue: Singapore History Museum Auditorium. 30 Merchant Rd (Riverside Pt) #03-09/17
date / time: Tuesday, 07 May 2005, 7.00 – 8.30pm

The shophouse is most characteristic of the urban landscape in Southeast Asia. Evolving in the context of colonial cities, the shophouse was the most suitable and advanced housing model in Asia during the 19th century. As
it combined the living with the working space, it provided shelter for most of the urban dwellers in Southeast Asia. In the current debate on heritage conservation and urban housing, this colonial architecture has awakened interest
as a symbol of national history and collective identity.

Until today, the inner-city of Penang, one of the earliest British colonial settlements in Southeast Asia, off ers the most distinctive range of stylistic variations of the façade and lay-out patterns dating back to the early times of the settlement. The transformation of the built environment was shaped by the legislation framework of the colonial government but also by the domestic values of a multi-ethnic community. The climate, materials and building
technology have also determined the architectural form. The change in the urban fabric is most obvious within the urbanisation process in the late 19th and early 20th century.

The presentation will highlight the features of the shophouse and give an overview on the architectural history of Penangʼs shophouses from the late 18th century to the Second World War.

Mai Lin Tjoa-Bonatz was born in Frankfurt (Germany), where she received her M.A. in art history, archaeology and Southeast Asian studies in 1994. From 1994 to 2001, she completed her Ph.D. at the Technical University of Darmstadt, with short-term research fellowships in Singapore, Tainan (Taiwan) and Lille (France). She was also a
research associate (1994 – 1998) on the research project ʻHousing in historic city centres of Southeast Asiaʼ at the Technical University of Darmstadt and coordinator (2000 – 2001) of the research project ʻStability of Rainforest Marginsʼ in Palu (Indonesia). Following her stint as a faculty associate at the University of Mannheim, she has been working on archaeological research in Kerinci (Indonesia) since 2002.

Flyer: The architectural history of Penang’s shophouses- a presentation by Dr. Mai Lin Tjoa-Bonatz