Saturday, February 23, 2013

Peranakan Heritage Tiles Collectors' Sales, Exhibition and Workshop

Photo credit: Mr Victor Lim.

If you appreciate the beauty of Peranakan Tiles Art, you may be interested in an upcoming Peranakan Heritage Tiles Collectors' Sales, Exhibition and Workshop. One of my friends has pointed me to this event.

Peranakan Heritage Tiles Collectors' Sales, Exhibition and Workshop
Date: 2 - 3 Mar 2013
Time: 1000hrs -1700hrs
Venue: Midview City, Blk 22 #08-72, Sin Ming Lane, S (573969)

Details are taken from this source:

I shall share the same information on this post for your convenience:

Aster by Kyra recovers original Peranakan tiles from 70-80's old buildings, and restores them to be sold individually for hanging or as wall features. 
They can help you adorn your walls or furniture with these tiles, many of which feature the exquisite motifs of Geometric designs, animals, birds, flowers and abstract designs commonly found in Peranakan homes and shophouses.
Day 1 exhibition: (Sat 2 Mar 2013) 1000hrs - 1700hrs.
Day 2 exhibition: (Sun 3 Mar 2013) 1000hrs - 1700hrs.
There will be free hand-made tiles workshop by Mr. Lim Chai Hock:
One Hour Free Workshop A : (Sat) 2 March 2013 - 1300hrs & 1500hrs.
One Hour Free Workshop B : (Sun) 3 March 2013 - 1000hrs & 1200hrs.
Location : Midview City, Blk 22 #08-72, Sin Ming Lane, S (573969)
Nearest MRT Stations : Bishan or Marymount
How to get here by Bus (Stop at the front of Ai Tong School or Opp Thomson Plaza) :
Bus services available: 410, 52, 162, 588, 132, 165, 166 & 167.
By car:
Turn in from Upper Thomas Road to Sin Ming Drive (Opp LTA Office), Free Parking space available Midview City
Turn in From Sing Ming Ave to Ai Tong School to Midview City Free Parking Lots.
Exhibitors : & Mr. Lim Chai Hock.
Contact : 6684 8600

Sunday, February 17, 2013

PY: 11 Nov 2012: Remembrance Sunday Ceremony at Kranji War Cemetery

Have you attended a Remembrance Sunday Service at the Kranji War Cemetery?

I had never done so until 11 Nov 2012. Here is a post to pen down my very first Remembrance Sunday Service at the Kranji War Cemetery: PY: 11 Nov 2012: Remembrance Sunday Ceremony at Kranji War Cemetery.

A morning at Bukit Brown

Bukit Brown Cemetery.

There was no air-conditioning. There was no proper toilet. Yet, I felt blessed with the great riches that Nature has to offer when I spend a morning at the Bukit Brown Cemetery.

I was treated to fresh air that refreshed my body, the lovely chirping of the birds, the gentle rustling of the leaves, the vast area of greenery relatively untouched by development (a rare sight in Singapore), and wonderful company in fellow heritage and/or nature lovers who have decided to spend a morning at Bukit Brown cemetery, possibly regarded by many to be worthy of being considered a Heritage Park.

A horse enjoying a leisure stroll about Bukit Brown cemetery grounds.

It was the morning of 22 Dec 2012, soaked in the wealth of the material culture at Bukit Brown, I was simply fascinated by the rich amount of heritage that is hidden in this place only waiting to be rediscovered. That morning, I was also rewarded with sightings of horses having their leisure morning strolls at Bukit Brown.

During my visit, I saw woodpeckers and heard the sounds of some interesting birds. I think it is way better to spend time out in Nature than in the shopping malls. Hopefully some of the mall owners themselves will agree with me as well.

Double tombs of Tok Cheng Tuan and Oon Tuan Cheng.

Led by the passionate volunteer guides, myself and other participants explored various parts of the cemetery. One of the tombs that we visited was the double tombs of Tok Cheng Tuan and Oon Tuan Cheng. This tomb caught my eyes with the presence of large benches and an extraordinary large size portraits at the tomb-site. We learnt that Tok and his wife's remains are to be exhumed for a proposed highway. I wonder what could be done to save this lovely double tombs?

Resting place of Tay Koh Yat.

Another tomb that we had visited was that of Tay Koh Yat. I had first visited this tomb in June 2011 with a group of friends with Mr Raymond Goh explaining to us about this respectable man who was admired for his patriotism. He had formed and led a self-defence force before the Japanese invasion. Somehow, as I stood before Tay Koh Yat's tomb, I felt a strange sense of deja vu as the volunteer guides gave their account of this respectable man.

We also visited the tombs of Mr and Mrs Tan Yong Thian. It was one of the tombs that my friends and I had visited too back in June 2011. This site has remained very well-maintained by its descendants. Yet much has changed at Bukit Brown and I was feeling anxious that the date of the construction of the proposed highway would be drawing near.

Tombs with stakes beside them.

Is building a highway through a century-old heritage cemetery (and near the water-catchment area) the only and long-term solution to ease peak-hour traffic congestion at the area? Furthermore, during non-peak-hours, travelling along Lornie Road is relatively quite a breeze. I have only more questions as I start asking myself.

A tomb with Dutch inscriptions.

Anyway, one of the interesting tombs that we saw during our tour was a tomb with Dutch inscriptions. This was the tomb of Tan Tang Hoaj who probably have business or trade dealings with the Dutch. This tomb was one of the tombs with a stake, marking that it will be affected by the construction of the proposed highway.

It was rare nowadays to see a Teochew tomb decorated with porcelain. This tomb is the resting place of Tan Swee Kee who was one of the founders and directors of Sze Hai Tong Bank. The porcelain somehow added a poetic touch to the tomb.

The tomb that had left an impression on me was that of Lee Kim Soo who had shared a similar date of birth as yours truly only that he was born in a different year. Lee Kim Soo became rich from manufacturing matches.

When the tour officially ended, on our way to the roundabout, we saw a large monitor lizard camouflaging itself against the textured trunk of a tree. Where would it move to if the construction of the proposed highway were to take place?

During the tour about Bukit Brown, I met the Rojak Librarian in person and upon special request from other participants, he led us to visit the tomb of Tan Keng Lee. We also visited the tomb of Tan Keng Lee's father, Tan Tiong Seng. A moving story was told.

All I had wanted was a morning close to Nature and heritage. I had reaped way more than I had imagined that very morning. I have learnt personal histories than spanned across decades. Many thanks to the volunteer guides for their wonderful work in raising the public's awareness of Bukit Brown cemetery.

A moving poem that I had came across that day.

Bukit Brown Cemetery
Bus services available:  52, 74, 93, 157, 165, 852, 855.
Nearby MRT stations: Botanic Gardens, Farrer Road, Marymount.
Alight at Bus Stop #41149, opposite Singapore Island Country Club (SICC), Adam Road.
Alternatively, alight at Bus Stop #41141 and cross the nearest overhead bridge to reach Sime Road.
Directions to the cemetery's gate: Walk towards Sime Road, walk along Kheam Hock Road until you see Lor Halwa.
- Visit Leone Fabre's blog for a step-by-step instruction to get to Bukit Brown Cemetery.

Please also read:
Visiting Tips! (All Things Bukit Brown)
Bukit Brown Cemetery (Singapore Heritage Society)
All Things Bukit Brown
Bukit Brown Heritage Park
Wild Singapore
Oon Tuan Cheng: A Life of Loss
Tok Cheng Tuan (Bukit Brown) by Rojak Librarian
The Fall of Singapore - 15th February 1942
Tay Koh Yat (Bukit Brown) by Rojak Librarian
Heritage trail of Bukit Brown Cemetery by Dexterine Ho
Tan Yong Thian by Rojak Librarian
A dutch tomb in Bukit Brown by Rojak Librarian
Tan Swee Kee (Bukit Brown) by Rojak Librarian
Unveiling Lee Kim Soo by Rojak Librarian
Died of Grief
Tan Keng Lee (Bukit Brown) by Rojak Librarian

Friday, February 15, 2013

PY: Siong Leng's pilgrimage to Kusu Tua Pek Kong Temple

Kusu Island,
The Turtle Island
One of the Southern Islands in Singapore
There stood Kusu Tua Pek Kong Temple,
The Kusu Keramat
And the beauty of a land
Relatively untouched by development
Closer to Nature
Closer to our origins.

Here's a link to a post on my visit to the Kusu Island together with Siong Leng on 3 Nov 2012: PY: Siong Leng's pilgrimage to Kusu Tua Pek Kong Temple

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

A visit to Defence Science Revealed

"Defence Science Revealed" which is held at the Science Centre Singapore from 20 Oct 2012 - 17 Feb 2013 is said to be the largest defence science exhibition in Singapore. This exhibition unravels the science behind many military marvels.

The exhibition is organised into the following sections:
1) Surveillance and Stealth
2) The Science of Flight
3) Armour and Protection
4) Playground - Defence Science in Action

I visited this exhibition sometime in Dec 2012.


I was pretty intrigued by the technology behind RADAR. I learnt that the acronym RADAR was coined from a technical term "RAdio Detection and Ranging" by the US Navy. Back in the 1940s, this acronym served as a cover for the highly secret technology. I suppose that left me an impression that the world of defence science is rather secretive to begin with. The exhibition explained the complex principles behind RADAR in a simple to understand way. I wish I had written down my learning points from my visit. I could now count on online sources to remind me of how RADAR works.

Stealth technology is another technology that has captured my imagination. It is also known as "low observable technology" and is a sub-discipline of military tactics which makes personnel, aircrafts, ships etc less visible to radar and other detection methods.

Stealth technology at work.

At the section under Science of Flight, I learnt aerodynamic principles such as draft and lift. The concept of flutter caught my eyes. There was a model that demonstrated what how 'flutter' can break a wing of an aircraft. To avoid flutter, weights are disposed so that the centre of gravity of the wing is as far forward as possible.

An armoured glass.

My eyes cannot help making multiple looks at a sample of an armoured glass. The armoured glass has been struck by several small armour piercing bullets. Interestingly, the thickness of such bullet resistant glass can range from 50 mm to 100 mm thick. The thicker the glass is, the greater its ability to stop projectiles. I learnt that armoured glass is made of a polymer sandwiched between two pieces of thick glass. The 'laminations between glass pieces help to absorb the force of the bullet and prevent cracks from spreading'.

Model of a MRAP vehicle.

Mine Resistant Armour Protection (MRAP) Vehicle was another technology that had caught my attention. It was interesting to learn how the design of a MRAP vehicle enabled it to be mine-resistant.

Anatomy of a Tank.

The scale of this exhibition was not as enormous as I had imagined. Nevertheless, there are some interesting exhibits that unravels the science behind many defence science technologies in simple and accessible ways. If you have an interest in defence science, this is perhaps an exhibition to check out.

Defence Science Revealed
20 Oct 2012 - 17 Feb 2013
Annexe, Science Centre Singapore
(Please click here for information on ticket prices.)


Sunday, February 10, 2013

Fujians: The Blue Ocean Legacy

Fujians: The Blue Ocean Legacy.

On 29 Dec 2012 (Sat), I visited the ArtScience Museum with the intention of visiting the exhibition named Fujians: The Blue Ocean Legacy. This exhibition is part of the World Fujian Convention organized by the Singapore Hokkien Huay Kuan from 23 - 25 Nov 2012.

I am not a Hokkien, i.e. I am not of direct Fujian descent. However, I was motivated to put this exhibition on the top of my must-see list of exhibition because of two main reasons:
1) A friend had attended this exhibition on 24 Nov 2012 and she strongly recommended it to me.
2) After a visit to The Maritime Experiential Museum, I became more intrigued with maritime travel such that it was very hard to resist heading for the exhibition Fujians: The Blue Ocean Legacy.

Photography and filming are strictly prohibited at this exhibition. Despite the challenge of limited visuals, I shall attempt to make it enticing enough for you to visit this exhibition before it ends on 28 Feb 2013.

At the ArtScience Museum.

This exhibition showcases 600 pieces of exhibits, including rare artefacts which are classified as "First Class Cultural Relics" from Quanzhou city (in Fujian province, China). One of the highlights is a Yuan Dynasty Nestorian stone carvings of two Chinese fairies holding a Christian cross. This piece of stone carving is an example that reflected the dynamic cultural interactions that exist in Quanzhou, one of the greatest ports in the Far East, at that period in time.

This image looks like the Nestorian stone carvings that I had seen at Fujians: The Blue Ocean Legacy.
The Min People
During my visit to this exhibition, I learnt that the Fujian culture is driven by a strong maritime history. Ancient Min people living in Fujian area have been recorded to venture beyond the ocean to explore new horizons. 

I felt rather puzzled by the exodus of Hokkiens between 14th - 19th century and did not seem to find sufficient information on this at the exhibition. Nevertheless, it started getting me to relate to how my maternal grandparents and father had travelled across the seas from their hometown to live in Singapore. Maybe there could be a common thread that connects the Chinese in Singapore?

This exhibition also showcase a number of interesting maps. I love the idea of exhibiting the maps of Fujian against the map of China. I was intrigued by an old Fujian map published in the 27th year of the reign of Emperor Guangxu (1901). This map showed the administrative states of Fujian. Somehow, comparing this old map against today's map of Fujain made me gain a glimpse of how the Fujian province could have changed over time. I learnt that historical Fujian was known as the Minyue Kingdom.

Quanzhou the coin-casting centre in ancient time
From this exhibition, I learnt that Quanzhou was a coin-casting centre in ancient time. During the ancient times, each coin had to be cast from a single ceramic mould. To retrieve the completed coin, the craftsmen had to break the mould. Thankfully, it was easier to make coins during our times.

Artefacts of the Tang and Song dynasties
One of the sections of this exhibition focused on the artefacts of the Tang and Song dynasties. I learnt that during the Song dynasty (AD 960 - 1279), Fujian, along with Szechuan and Zhejiang, was one of the three main printing centres in China. The books that were printed in Jianyang, Fujian, were called "the books of Jian". In those days, people considered the books to be as valuable as gold.

A replica of an Amoy Junk that I had taken during a visit to the Maritime Experiential Museum.
75% of the sailors on Zheng He's Imperial fleet were from Fujian. At least 130 of the 200 ships that Zheng He had taken with him on his expeditions were Fujian vessels or employed Fujian technology.

The vessels from Fujian
The section of Fu Vessels fascinated me. Fu Vessels refer to the vessels from Fujian. These were considered to be one of the most advanced seafaring structures of their time. Fu Vessels have distinctive V-shaped bottoms, watertight bulkheads and moveable shafts. Since photography was not allowed, I took some time to do quick sketches of a few of the Fu vessles. The concatenate combat boat from the Ming dynasty (AD 1368 - 1644) had caught my interest. This offshore naval combat ship could be separated into two parts when needed and the part that held the dynamites could be left to attack an identified enemy.

A few sketches and some notes.

Model of one of the ships of Admiral Zheng He's fleet.
Taken at the Maritime Experiential Museum.
At Fujians: The Blue Ocean Legacy, visitors can be treated to more models of the ships of Admiral Zheng He's fleet.

Cultural interactions in Quanzhou
People who are interested in cultural interactions may find this exhibition to be interesting. In this exhibition, visitors learn about how various cultures interact with one another particularly in Quanzhou city, in Fujian province.

There was a sub-section on Lin Moniang who is commonly referred to as Mazu. She is said to be born on the island of Meizhou in Putian. The Mazu faith was said to have originated in Fujian during the early Northern Song dynasty about a thousand years ago.

Perhaps I had watched a few of those martial art television programmes based on novels by novelist, Louis Cha, it was difficult not to spend some time learning about Manichaeism, the "Religion of Light". I learnt that Fujian's Cao'an temple is the last remaining Manichean heritage site in the world.

Porcelain Road 
This exhibition acquainted me with the concept of the Porcelain Road. Trading via land travel favoured light objects like silk. On the other hand, the maritime trade has made it more feasible to trade fragile and large items such as porcelain and ceramics. Thus, the maritime routes for the trading of porcelain was also referred to as the Porcelain Road.

Visitors would be treated to various ceramic wares such as the white porcelain, the celadon, the blue-and-white porcelain, the famille porcelain and more at this section of the exhibition. Please make time to admire a Ming Dynasty porcelain dish with peony and phoenix designs. Blue-and-white porcelain are celebrated for its beauty.

An example of porcelain.
Taken at the Maritime Experiential Museum.

Maritime finance
The section on maritime finance shed some light on how early overseas Chinese remitted money back to their hometown. I learnt that there is an interesting financial phenomenon of Overseas Chinese Remittance that existed in the 19th and 20th centuries. Money was sent along with letters to families back in one's hometown. The family members were entitled to send a return letter after receiving the letter.

Thian Hock Kheng Temple
There is a featured local artefact in this exhibition. It is the 1828 land title deed with the signature of Hokkien merchant and philanthropist Tan Tock Seng. This piece of land brought from the British East India Company was used to build the Thian Hock Keng Temple.

I was also attracted to the original imperial calligraphic scroll that was bestowed to Thian Hock Keng by Emperor Guangxu in honour of the contributions of overseas Hokkien. The scroll reads "gentle waves over the Southern Seas" in Chinese. If you wonder what the blessings on the scroll meant, please visit the exhibition.

Inside Thian Hock Keng. A plaque inscribed with words presented by Emperor Guangxu.

This exhibition is rather interesting. If you have an interest in the Fujian culture, the maritime trade in the Far East and perhaps the Thian Hock Kheng Temple, I will strongly recommend that you visit this exhibition before it ends on 28 Feb 2013.

Please consider attending one of the guided tours. It is complimentary for ticket holders of the exhibition. English tours to this exhibition are available on Saturdays at 11.30 a.m. and on Sundays at 5.30 p.m. Mandarin tours are available on Saturdays and Sundays at 3 p.m. and 6 p.m.

If not, please consider renting one of the interactive digital guides from the ArtScience Museum Box Office at $6. I would recommend that visitors set aside about two to three hours for this exhibition.

Fujians: The Blue Ocean Legacy
24 Nov 2012 - 28 Feb 2013
ArtScience Museum, Marina Bay Sands Singapore
For more information, please visit:
Nearest MRT stations: Bayfront, Promenade.

Please also read: