Heritage is all around us, in unexpected spaces and everyday places. We just have to look a little more closely to find it.
The Singapore Heritage Festival (SHF) returns for the 16th time from 15 March to 7 April 2019, with a special Singapore Bicentennial edition that will uncover hidden stories, look at this island’s 700-year history through fresh eyes and explore the pivotal moments, communities and people who have contributed to the nation.
Find Your Place in History, a series of light projections around the city centre, will explore the lesser-known stories from Singapore’s history. SHF 2019 also expands its reach with its first ever island-wide exhibition, Ride and Discover, that reimagines bus stop panels as exhibition spaces, to examine the heritage of locations we might easily miss on our daily commutes.
SHF 2019 continues to present lesser-known aspects about Singapore’s heritage as it casts a spotlight on selected enclaves and neighbourhoods across four weekends. From Kampong Gelam and the all new Armenian Street Park, to Bedok, Telok Blangah and Kranji – festival-goers are invited to rediscover shared memories and experience places and stories anew, through a specially curated line-up of programmes, exhibitions and activities.
Programmes Director Jervais Choo said: “2019 is a special year for Singapore. As we commemorate our bicentennial, it is natural that as the heritage festival of Singapore, we tell the stories that have collectively brought us to where we are today. Our exhibitions and programmes, including our first ever island-wide bus stop exhibition, show that heritage is all around us if you know where to look.
“We have continued to partner organisations, communities and fellow Singaporeans to uncover these lesser-known tales, and to re-discover places and stories and make the connections between our people and spaces.”
An island-wide experience
Did you know that one of the earliest recorded mentions of Bedok is in cartographer Manuel Godinho de Eredia’s 1604 map, making it one of the earliest places in Singapore to appear on a map?
Over almost 100 bus stops across four bus routes, the Ride and Discover island-wide exhibition educates commuters with these interesting bits of information about the history and heritage of the places connected to each bus stop’s location.
Festival-goers can also embark on an immersive bus theatrical show, Buses and Roads: A Bus Theatre Experience, which will journey from the National Museum of Singapore to the Malay Heritage Centre and back. Passengers will be able to relive Singapore in the 1970s through the funny, entertaining and memorable interactions with a motley cast of characters.
Across the city centre, seven Find Your Place in History light projections tell lesser-known stories of forgotten places, communities and individuals who have made a difference in Singapore’s rich history.
Festival-goers can also look forward to activities at the following SHF 2019 hubs, along with more programmes at other culturally rich Singapore precincts and neighbourhoods throughout the duration of the festival.
- Weekend One | Kampong Gelam & Armenian Street Park (15 – 17 March)
SHF 2019 kicks off at Kampong Gelam and the new Armenian Street Park, with specially commissioned urban art installations by local artists dotting these historic precincts. Festival-goers can immerse in the cultural performances at Rentak Budaya – a full-day cultural festival at the Malay Heritage Centre, and experience authentic Peranakan hospitality at the Peranakan Museum’s Armenian Street Party, its final event before closing for redevelopment on 1 April 2019.
- Weekend Two | Bedok (22 – 24 March)
Our food culture takes centre stage this weekend with Makan Dreaming, a theatrical performance in the heart of the Bedok Hawker Centre inspired by the stories and lives of our hawkers, guided food tours, and a privately curated Peranakan dining experience by local food writer and founder of Fat Fuku, Annette Tan.
Festival-goers can also find out more about Singapore’s nomination of Hawker Culture to UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, and pledge their support for the bid. Sharing the festival stage at Bedok is Balik Kampung, by Nam Hwa Opera and Nam Hwa Teochew Music Ensemble, who will showcase the charms of Teochew opera.
- Weekend Three | Telok Blangah (29 – 31 March)
Dive into Singapore’s maritime history at Telok Blangah, including a first guided tour of the Danish Seamen’s Church in Singapore, that will shed light on how the Danish community took root in Singapore, their contributions to our maritime heritage, and the history of its building, known as The Golden Bell Mansion. Festival-goers can meet an eclectic cast of characters at Temenggong House at A Black-and-White Voyage – a fictional dramatisation of life in the historic building in the 1920s, which examines the history of Singapore as a trading port and its influence on the Telok Blangah area, through the lives of the house’s servants.
- Closing Weekend | Kranji (6 – 7 April)
Experience rural bliss the Singapore way at the Kranji countryside and Sungei Buloh. Learn more about Singapore’s agricultural produce and our farm heritage by interacting with Singapore’s own farmers at Kranji! The farming community has put together FOODPASS – a stamp-based, hop-on hop-off programme that festival-goers can use to explore the farms in and around the Kranji countryside, and get to know them better through hands-on activities and tasting sessions.
The Festival for Singaporeans, by Singaporeans
SHF continues to work with community partners and stakeholders to co-create programmes and activities that tell Singapore’s stories from many perspectives. Both new and long-standing partnerships and collaborations with individuals, the community and corporate organisations have allowed the Festival to present diverse offerings of our tangible and intangible heritage that everyone can discover and enjoy.
One such partner is local food writer and founder of Fat Fuku, Annette Tan, who will be bringing participants to the wet market to shop for produce that is difficult to find in a modern supermarket, before inviting them into her home to learn more about traditional Peranakan dishes, and how to recreate them with a contemporary twist.
Another first-time partner is Chong Suan, a second generation owner of Chuan Ji Bakery Hainanese Delights, who will showcase the baking of iconic Hainanese flaky pastries, a part of Hainanese intangible cultural heritage. The festival will also see partners such as the Alexandra Hospital and the Danish Seamen’s Church in Singapore, coming on board for the first time to showcase the history and heritage of their buildings and communities.
Online registration for SHF 2019 programmes commences from 5 March 2019, 12pm. For the full listing of events on SHF 2019, please visit www.heritagefestival.sg