Tag Archives: NHB

Happy Mid-Autumn Festival 2017!

A festival that always attracts the whole family with children, for a fun time of family gathering and fun together. Mid-Autumn Festival has always been an important festival for the Chinese community around the world, an occasion for celebration on the Chinese Lunar Calendar, the 15th day of the eighth lunar month, which is today, 4th October 2017.

On the weekend 30th September and 1st October 2017, I visited Wan Qing Yuan, Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall for an evening of Wan Qing Mid-Autumn Festival 2017 Celebrations (秋月明夜亮晚晴). There were a number of fun activities organised for the weekend, great for families and children, do check out some of their photographs uploaded on their Facebook Page.

I visited 晚晴园 on 30th October for Mid-Autumn Festival 2017 celebrations. It was great to see families with children coming down for family bonding time and having fun together. The lanterns were a big attraction for the children and also for the parents too, they are childhood memories for the adults too! With the outdoor booths around the lawn area, fun activities and food for the visitors, beside visiting the museum and other activities taking place inside Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall.

The evening concert was great; the LED Dragon Dance got everybody excited as they moved around the crowds, getting up close and personal with them. That was followed by live music performances on the stage, entertaining and captivating the visitors celebrating Mid-Autumn Festival 2017 at 晚晴园, some of the memorable scenes for me were the cute and enthusiastic young children sitting right in front of the stage, watching, cheering and recording videos of the live music performances on stage, spreading great joy and love to the different performers. Let me share some of my memories from Wan Qing Mid-Autumn Festival 2017!

Today is Mid-Autmn Festival 2017! Wishing everybody a Happy Mid-Autumn Festival 2017! Have a great time of fun and bonding with your family during this festival!

祝大家中秋快乐!


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Witness to War: Remembering 1942

A new World War Two exhibition at the National Museum of Singapore, commemorating the 75th anniversary of the fall of Singapore. When I heard of this upcoming exhibition, my first initial reaction, “Another World War Two exhibition? How different is this from the rest of the other exhibitions?” I wasn’t too sure and I am a bit skeptical on what this exhibition Witness to War: Remembering 1942 is going to showcase to the public.

As I entered into this exhibition for a sneak preview with the curators, prior to her official opening to the public. I knew this was going to be something different and special, it’s not your usual World War Two exhibition. Let me bring you through my experiential journey through my photos and story.

First and foremost, it’s indeed like an international exhibition blockbuster, with more than 130 artefacts from 10 overseas museums and institutions, some never-before-seen artefacts and untold real life stories and accounts of the fall of Singapore.

Catch some old vintage films first

At the beginning of the exhibtion, you would be greeted by different vintage films montage, showing key international events from 1914 to the late 1930s. Observe carefully and you can spot Singapore landscapes and sceneries inside some of the vintage films! The films montage does take your attention span and you might be glued to the big tv projector screens!

Walking down, entering into the central area of the exhibition galleries, you would be to view many artfacts on display, some are really big and you can’t miss them, some are small, don’t go too fast. While I am unable to write and share on every artefact on display, I would highlight and share on artefacts that personally stood out for me. Please visit my photograph album for this exhibition inside my Flickr collection.

New gems and rediscover cherished classics from National Collection

25-Pounder Field Gun

Japanese Army Bungle

Enfield No. 2 Mk. 1 revolver

World class artefacts from 10 overseas museums and institutions

Steel sword (katana) of Lieutanant General Tomoyuki Yamashita

Union Jack Flag

4 pods, 4 themes

Every pod has stories, real life stories from survivors. Visit the pods, sit down, watch and listen, feel, ponder and reflect.

I – Destruction

II – Displacement

III – Love & Loss

IIII – Fortitude

5 stations for children engagement, learning, participation and interaction

Experiential learning is one of the best ways in my personal opinion to learn, especially for young children. There are 5 stations inside the exhibition that the young children are able to engage, learn, participate and interact within and from the exhibition itself.

Student Archivist Project

In this exhibition, visitors can view the works of the next generation of storytellers, the students involvement in this exhibition making process, through their help in recording, preserving and sharing of the war survivors’ experiences. This is an excellent and most meaningful involement, to connect and bridge the different generations together, through inter-generational dialogue and bonding.

 

Sit down, reflect, leave a mark behind with your thoughts and feelings

At the end of the exhibition, I sat down and reflected on the latest exhibition to be held at the National Museum of Singapore. This wasn’t just another World War Two exhibition that I thought it would be, it’s something really different, something special and unique, the real life stories, heartwarming and heartwrenching at times, the interactions, engagements. There are some things that tugged the heart strings that made it very different and special from the other World War Two exhibitions. The exhibition has the engagements and interactions, ideal for parents to bring their children down to visit and learn more about the war that took place in Singapore, the history, the stories of our survivors. Let’s not take our peace, stability and security of Singapore for granted.

My own personal thoughts and feelings

At the nice table located at the end of the exhibition, sitted on the nice softa, I looked at the small piece of paper for me to pen down my thoughts and feelings of the whole exhibition, the stories from the World War Two survivors. Somehow or another, I couldn’t and I didn’t manage to write it down. I am going to return back to this exhibition again, tour it one more time slowly, observe and learn more about our World War Two history that never see, hear and feel before in other World War Two exhibitions. Of course, I am going to pen it down my thoughts and feelings, and drop into the letter box at the side of the table, for the survivors who shared their remarkable stories with us in this exhibition.

My initial skepticism of this World War Two exhibition had totally changed, this is not just another World War Two exhibition. The experiences, the stories and interactions with and inside the exhibiton make it special and unique. Only when you are there, you will be able to enter into this experiential journey to understand and learn more about the Witness to War: Remembering 1942.

Lest We Forget.

Exhibition details

Location: National Museum of Singapore Exhibition Galleries, Basement Level

Period: 23rd September 2017 to 25th March 2018

Opening hours: 10am to 7pm (last admission at 6.30pm)

Free admission for Citizens, Permanent Residents and visitors aged 6 years and below

If you do visit this exhibition, share your experiences, chronicle it on social media via the hashtag #remembering1942.


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First Armenian Street Party

On 11th and 12th March 2016, Armenian Street, for the first time, was closed up and transformed into a vibrant, colourful, buzzing with heritage and nightlife activities and performances. The Armenian Street Party is a ground-up initiative anchored by Peranakan Museum and Singapore Management University, with stake holders on Armenian Street playing a part in the first Armenian Street Party too.

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It was nice to see different smaller arts hubs organising their own street party, welcoming and celebrating their respective museum/arts heritage along with their partners/neighbours in the district. In my personal humble opinion, it’s a good initiative and idea for a street party and I hope that this idea/initiative can be applied by other museums in their own respective hub/district too! Each smaller museum/arts hub can have their own street party, celebrating various different heritage events along with their partners/neighbours.

The first Armenian Street Party showcased and celebrated Peranakan Culture, contemporary music, poetry reading and other lifestyle activities. I went down on Friday, 11th March and enjoyed my first Armenian Street Party.

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First up, it was “Xtend the Night”, I witnessed an outdoor yoga/Pilates/ballet class by Upside Motion, the workout known as Xtend Barre, it’s a combination of ballet and Pilates-based workout to sculpt the body. Xtend Barre took place on Armenian Street in the early evening when it was closed to traffic and cars. You probably see more of the outdoor Pilates/ballet classes on grass instead of on the road! It’s kind of unique and refreshing, not a bad idea to organise such outdoor exercise classes on the road!

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Although I wasn’t able to watch all the performances on the programme schedule, I managed to catch The Main Wayang Company in action, they were a great band of singers, mesmerising the audience with their passion and singing, getting the crowds to dance and clap along with their singing and rhythm.

At a street party, how can you not have food and drinks? Food trucks can be spotted at Armenian Street, providing food and drinks options to the Armenian Street party goers.

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This is the first time that the Armenian Street Party is being organised, it wasn’t too bad for their maiden debut! I reckon it would get bigger and better over in the next year and I look forward to the next few editions of the Armenian Street Party!


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Visiting the Former Combined Operations Room

On a hill top in the heart of Singapore’s city centre district in Chinatown, there lies some very interesting and significant historical monuments. I was thinking, back in the old days when there were no tall commercial buildings that Singapore had today, the view from this hill top could be awesome, looking at the sea, harbour and city centre. On top of a hill does makes it an important and strategic location for the “eyes” to watch over the peace and security of a district.

On top of Pearl’s Hill, there is the Pearl’s Hill Terrace Building, occupying the former Straits Settlements barracks, built by the British. Today, it is now a hub for start ups and small businesses. I walked up there to look for my friend’s office before and I would always pass by this corner of the Pearl’s Hill Terrace building without knowing the history and significance behind that thick wall.

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Behind this thick wall, there is a door that leads to the former combined operations room, it is a bomb proof bunker that plays an important and significant part in Singapore’s history of pre-independence and post-independence. This bunker was so well hidden and it’s just another part of the building that I never knew something important could be occupying there previously!

The Former Combined Operations Room (fCOR) exhibition, the HT SG50 exhibition, is launched by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), along with the Singapore Police Force (SPF) and National Heritage Board (NHB). This is really great as we get to see, feel, learn, know and understand more in-depth of Singapore’s history. While waiting at the registration point before entering the FCOR for the special guided tour, my fellow heritage and photography friends were busy reading the history boards, showcasing the timeline and history of our British Colonial days, Singapore Police Force and history of Pearl’s Hill. This was definitely a real eye opener for me! Oh, I have to mention that that is an old police car on display!

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The fCOR plays a significant and important role, an iconic historical structure of our SPF. This was like the brain, the nerve centre where she had seen, managed and resolved the major crisis that happened in Singapore, the numerous communal and communist related incidents such as the 1956 Chinese Middle School Riots, Konfrontasti and 1969 racial riots.

During our special guided tour, we were very honoured and blessed to meet a pioneer, Mdm Evelyn Wong, age 71 (she doesn’t look 71!), a former Senior Staff Sergeant with the Singapore Police Force. She came along in our group for the guided tour. As we walked through the tight and narrow corridors of the fCOR, we started to know, understand and learn more about the operations and people behind the scenes that played many key parts in building up the peace, prosperity and safe Singapore today many of us, especially the younger generations of Singapore, enjoyed so much today.

We toured the Radio Control Room, Chief Police Staff Officer Room, the Map Room, we listened attentively to our guide, Mr John Kwok from NHB and Mdm Evelyn Wong, sharing with us their insights and real life stories. Although the fCOR exhibition is a re-creation of the 1950s settings and furnishings, we were able to see a few of the original equipment that were used during the fCOR operations.

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The Radio Control Room had the replica saucer shaped podium where the famous iconic 999 girls of the Singapore Police Force used to work at. Mdm Evelyn Wong shared many real life stories when she was working there inside the fCOR, it was amazing to listen real life stories that happened in Singapore and she was very enthusiastic and passionate. I can still feel Mdm Evelyn Wong professionalism from her sharing even though she had retired from the Singapore Police Force.

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At the Chief Police Staff Officer Room, it was not just a bird’s eye view, it was the brain and nerve centre for the senior police officers to oversee the whole of Singapore (in the Map Room below), to command and order the various resources and other government agencies, to handle crisis and situations in Singapore.

Walking down to the Map Room, with the Singapore map and board, it was like the Ops Room where the operational instructions, coordinations and updates took place. Our group spent some time here and Mdm Evelyn Wong shared more real stories of the crisis that happened in Singapore whereby she was part of the action while working inside the fCOR. Everyone of us were mesmerised and engrossed by Mdm Evelyn Wong real life stories sharing, we can feel the emotions, the passion, touching stories by one of the many pioneers that helped to build up Singapore today.

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Her sharing made me feel very blessed, of what we have and achieved today in Singapore, it’s not by luck and we went through crisis and challenges to reach our living standards today in Singapore. Pioneers, like Mdm Evelyn Wong and many other Pioneers all played significant and important roles (no matter how big or small) to build up Singapore today.

I would like to say a BIG THANK YOU to all the Pioneers that helped to build the modern Singapore today!

The fCOR exhibition is now on till 31st January 2016, more information can be found here on the Ministry of Home Affairs website. Please do take note that registration and pre-booking is required to visit the fCOR exhibition and maximum capacity is 10 participants per tour.

For those interested in visiting the fCOR exhibition, you can call 9893 5140 during office hours from 0900hrs to 1700hrs, or email fcor@mha.gov.sg to book your tour with the Ministry of Home Affairs.

Please provide the following information in your e-mail or phone call:
Name:

Contact number:

No of visitor(s):

Preferred day and time slot 1:

Preferred day and time slot 2:

Preferred day and time slot 3:​

Walking out of the fCOR exhibition, I learned something new and more about Singapore’s history. I hoped that they can do more of such exhibitions that goes beyond the history text books that they can teach and share many more key and significant history, life experiences to Singaporeans.


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Attap Valley Bunker Heritage Trail

Singapore, celebrating her jubilee 50th year of independence in the year 2015, had advanced and transformed beyond many peoples’ imagination. With her concrete jungle reputation due to the rapid urbanization of public housing and business offices, Singapore still has some secret locations that were only recently announced to the public in recent years. Singapore still has some secrets up her sleeve and we Singaporeans are only slowly getting to know more about them recently.

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In the northern area of Singapore, there is a bunker hidden in the lush green forest dating back to pre World War II when Singapore was under the British rule and Singapore was a major port/military base for the British armed forces. In this road called Attap Valley Road, a military bunker serving as an underground storage facility for weapons and ammunition used by the British armed forces.

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National Heritage Board recently opened the Attap Valley Bunker to the public to visit via organised tours and I was able to join my friend who got me into this tour on 22nd March 2015. It was a real eye opener to the hidden secrets of Singapore’s colonial history. It was a short walk from our drop off point, wearing knee high boots due to the ankle deep muddy water that greeted us when we reached the entrance to the Attap Valley Bunker.

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Dr John Kwok was there to lead the walk and he shared with the participants on the history and significance of the Attap Valley Bunker. The Attap Valley Bunker is around the size of two five-room HDB flats and the Japanese also used it during the Second World War. Most of the bunker interior remained intact, standing the test of time over the decades since the British Colonial days. During her heyday, there were 18 of those bombproof underground storage bunkers. At this location known as Talbots Hill, there were seven bunkers located there including the Attap Valley Bunker.

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It was amazing to discover more of Singapore’s hidden secrets and the northern area of Singapore, stretching from Sembawang Park/Sembawang shipyard to Woodlands, holds significant key history, strategic and military presence during the time when Singapore was a key British military base. There seemed to be more history and heritage to be discovered in the Northern part of Singapore dating back to her British military base days. I hope that I am able to explore more of this stretch in the Northern part of Singapore and share my adventures with all my followers/readers here!

Do keep a lookout on heritage walks organised by National Heritage Board! Check out their website for more details!


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