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Too Young to Die: Position Paper on Modernist Icons

SHS has released our Position Paper on the 3 Modernist Icons of Singapore: Pearl Bank Apartments, People’s Park Complex, and Golden Mile Complex. Download the paper here.

Three of Singapore’s most iconic and historically-significant buildings from the post-independence era — Pearl Bank Apartments, People’s Park Complex, and Golden Mile Complex, are currently at risk of collective sale and demolition. To date, no post-independence strata-titled modernist building in Singapore has received official conservation status. Given the historical and architectural significance of these buildings, the Singapore Heritage Society believes that it is timely for current land-use policies and regulatory frameworks to be re- evaluated to facilitate the conservation of modernist structures for adaptive reuse, and for private owners and developers to plan for a longer building lifespan incorporating evolving ideas for rehabilitation and regeneration.

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Research database: Pearl Bank, Golden Mile Complex, People’s Park Complex

Singapore Heritage Society has collated a list of English and Chinese language newspaper references to Pearl Bank, Golden Mile Complex, People’s Park Complex. The database can be viewed here.

This is part of the research work for SHS’s position paper, “Too Young To Die: Giving New Lease of Life to Singapore’s Modernist Icons” (Aug 2018) and the accompanying exhibit of the same name, held at The Substation from 21 Aug – 23 Sep 2018.

Tour: The Historical Malay Cemetery at Kampung Gelam

10am, Saturday 16 August 2014
Meet: Malay Heritage Centre (visitors’ counter)
Limited to 20 participants
Free: This tour is for SHS members only.
To register, email

Join Dr Imran bin Tajudeen who has been researching this significant part of Singapore’s history as he shows what this important site preserves of our past and the dire need to protect it.

The graveyards around Jalan Kubor off Victoria Street, Kampung Gelam, is the only sizable cemetery connected with early 19th century Singapore – and possibly with settlements preceding 1819 – that is still largely undisturbed. It is an important part of Kampung Gelam’s history but has been excluded from the “Kampong Glam Conservation District” boundary. Forming part of the old royal port town that was developed when Tengku Long of Riau was installed as Sultan Hussein in Singapore, it is aligned along the royal axis of the town. within this compact site is the final resting place of numerous traders and individuals of diverse ethnicity from the old port towns of our region and beyond – neighbouring Riau, Palembang, and Pontianak, as well as Banjarmasin, and Javanese and Bugis ports further afield, as well as persons of Indian and Arab descent. Some of these individuals are buried in family enclosures, mausolea, or clusters.

This walk will highlight tombstone forms and epigraphies that are previously unknown, and bring up the immense variety of forms and written scripts that reflect the socio-cultural diversity of the Malayo-Nusantara community of Kampung Gelam and other Muslim communities from further afield.

Dr Imran bin Tajudeen is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Architecture, National University of Singapore. He is the lead research consultant for Nusantara Consultancy, which recently completed a research project initiated by the Malay Heritage Centre and National Heritage Board to document Jalan Kubor. His research interests centre around vernacular urbanism, house and mosque architecture in Southeast Asia, and critical perspectives in urban heritage studies. Of relevance to this walk, his article,‘Reading the Traditional City in Maritime Southeast Asia: Reconstructing the 19th century Port Town at Gelam-Rochor-Kallang, Singapore’ was published in the Journal of Southeast Asian Architecture in 2005. His research papers have won prizes at major international conferences, including the ICAS Book Prize 2011 for the best PhD paper in the field of Social Sciences.

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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

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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…


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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Follow us on Facebook for updates!

Our new website will be launched Q1 2018! In the meantime, follow us on Facebook for daily heritage news and on Eventbrite for our upcoming events. Find out more about us here.


Look out for our new site in future!

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Our Modern Past – Volume 1: A Visual Survey of Singapore Architecture, 1920s–70s

A book launch in conjunction with the exhibition opening of
Moderns In Our Midst: A Photographic Tribute to Singapore’s Modern Architectural Heritage

Our Modern Past Volume 1

Date: Friday, 17 April 2015
Time: 6:30pm to 9pm
Venue: Concourse, National Museum of Singapore. 93, Stamford Road, Singapore 178897
Please RSVP by 7 April 2015.

About the Book
It is not obvious to many that Singapore boasts an exemplary Modernist architectural legacy. Built during the mid 20th century, these structures were the result of progressive, even utopic impulses to shape a new society — a vision of the future, built to last. But the future turned out to be startlingly short-lived. Relentless development is rapidly depleting the built heritage of the nation-building period in particular, which is relatively less well studied or protected. Recipient of the URA AUDE Grant and the NHB Heritage Project Grant, the Singapore Heritage Society’s decade-long ‘Our Modern Past’ project constitutes a sustained effort to document the city-state’s Modern heritage, promote appreciation of this architecture, and present a case for its selective conservation.

The first of two volumes, Our Modern Past: A Visual Survey of Singapore Architecture 1920s–1970s by Ho Weng Hin, Dinesh Naidu, Tan Kar Lin and photography by Jeremy San, provides a photographic guide organised into three sections: the Interwar Period (1919–1942), the Post-War Years (1945–1965), and Post-Independence Years (1966–1970s). Each section begins with a survey of that period’s architectural Elements, illustrating how locally typical Modern expressions of form, type, materiality, and detail have been shaped by their contexts. Feature Buildings then complete each section, providing a closer look at definitive works that capture the times. The book contains a total of 1,500 photographs illustrating 35 design elements and 44 feature buildings, including several that have since been demolished.

Guest of Honour: Associate Professor Kwok Kian Woon. Associate Provost, NTU and Past President, Singapore Heritage Society.

6.30 pm Guest arrival and registration
7.00 pm Welcome Address by SHS President
7.10 pm Speech by co-publisher SIA Press Director
7.20 pm Special Dedication by Dr Kevin Tan in memory of Jeremy San
7.30 pm Speech by the Guest of Honour
7.45 pm Launch of book, photo-taking & refreshments
9.00 pm End of event

A 25% discount on the book will apply (U.P is $120) at this event.

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Pulau Ubin Tua Pek Kong temple & festival – a brief guide

Download our tour handbook for a brief introduction to the Tua Pek Kong Temple Festival held in conjunction with Pesta Ubin

In conjunction with Pesta Ubin, the Singapore Heritage Society has produced this information guide to help visitors understand the Tua Pek Kong temple & festival on Pulau Ubin, which is organised annually by the Pulau Ubin Fo Shan Ting Da Bo Gong Temple. This guide was first produced in 2016, and updated in 2017, 2018 and 2019.

Download the PDF: Pulau Ubin Tua Pek Kong Temple & Festival Guide 2019

Facebook Event Page:

Pulau Ubin Tua Pek Kong Festival 2019

新加坡传统文化学会去年连同Pesta Ubin制作了一份册子,帮助前往乌敏岛的游客更深地入了解一年一度,由乌敏岛佛山亭大伯公庙主办的大伯公千秋。册子最新的版本包括今年大伯公千秋的日程表,欢迎大家下载:

《乌敏岛佛山亭大伯公庙 2019大伯公千秋简介》

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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.
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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

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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.
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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
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