Thursday, August 18, 2016

Inventions and Innovation. Singapore Night Festival 2016

One of the installations of Singapore Night Festival 2016.
#showerthoughts. National Design Centre.
Image Credit: Photo used with permission from Belinda Tan.
©Belinda Tan

How will science fiction and fantasy intertwine to engage visitors over the upcoming two weekends of a lively and spectacular Singapore Night Festival 2016?

This year's Singapore Night Festival sets to inspire with its theme of 'Inventions and Innovation'. Guests to the Singapore Night Festival could find themselves catching glimpses into the minds and souls of inventors and innovators. This year's night festival employs a number of elements of science and technology weaved with fantasy.

What could we look forward to for this year's night festival especially on the first weekend?

The light art installations of the Singapore Night Festival have been popular with most festival-goers. My humble suggestion for people who likes to stay away from the crowd to consider enjoying the following light art installations on weekdays nights, outside the night festival's official hours.


Group Laps
19 Aug to 27 Aug 2016
7.30 p.m. - 11.00 p.m. (Sun - Thu), 7.30 p.m. - 2.00 a.m. (Fri and Sat)
National Museum of Singapore, Facade.
Free admission

KEYFRAMES by Groupe Laps (from France) will narrate a series of urban micro-stories through the use of part animation and part moving sculpture. Catch the LED-lights figures and their routine of movements imbue energy and excitement to the building of the National Museum of Singapore.

Could this installation bring glimmers of the past to life? This installation will be a source of nostalgia for anyone who grew up playing games such as Stick Man.

Journey. Singapore Art Museum.
Soundtrack by Ed Carter
19, 20, 26, 27 Aug 2016, 7.30 p.m. - 2.00 a.m. 
21 - 25 Aug 2016, 7.30 p.m. - 11 p.m.
Front Lawn

This dynamic projection-mapping performance is inspired by the world of Victorian novelist Jules Verne, known for his creation of a world reflecting the future of Victorian invention and fantasy. A magical adventure shall begin.

There will be a number of noteworthy performances to check out too:

The Wheel House.
Image Credit: Photo used with permission from Belinda Tan.
©Belinda Tan

The Wheel House.
19 and 20 Aug 2016
8.00 p.m. - 8.25 p.m., 9.25 p.m. - 9.50 p.m., 10.50 p.m. - 11.15 p.m.
National Museum of Singapore, Mainground
Free admission

Acrojou (from United Kingdoms) will present The Wheel House. Described as a 'tender, post-apocalyptic story", The Wheel House is a unique, rolling acrobatic theatre show. Watch this show unfold inside and around the stunning circular home. This show is essentially about friendship.

This show will work wonders when presented in an intimate space with restricted number of members of the audience. I wonder what magic it will reveal when it is presented at the Singapore Night Festival to a large mass of festival goers? Perhaps there will be live screen projections of the show?

Les Aquamens
Photo Credits: Singapore Night Festival 2016.
Machtiern Company (from France)
19 Aug and 20 Aug 2016
8.00 p.m. - 8.30 p.m.: National Museum of Singapore to School of the Arts to Singapore Art Museum
9.30 p.m. - 10.00 p.m.: Festival Village at Singapore Management University
11.00 p.m. - 11.30 p.m.
Various locations
Free admission

For the poetic audience who are open to some level of absurdity, Les Aquamens by Machtiern Company may appeal. Their performances seek to ask the fundamental question: How do we connect with each other when barriers are up?

The Story Box
Photo Credits: Singapore Night Festival 2016.

19 and 20 Aug 2016
8.30 p.m. - 8.40 p.m., 10.00 p.m. - 10.10 p.m., 11.15 p.m. - 11.25 p.m.
National Museum of Singapore, Gallery 10
Free admission

A projection-mapped live performance, The Story Box takes its audience to an animated universe of unexpected adventures. Watch DandyPunk interact with a Pandora's box of creatures, characters and light in a novel synthesis of live performance and projected animations.

Photo Credits: Singapore Night Festival 2016.

Han Sai Por Secret Landscapes
19 and 20 Aug 2016, 26 and 27 Aug 2016
11.00 a.m. to 10.00 p.m.
The Private Museum, 51 Waterloo Street
Free Admission

This would be my personal pick that is located away from the key highlights of the Singapore Night Festival. I personal think that Han Sai Por is one of Singapore's leading sculptors to take notice of. The highlights of this exhibition include the artistic interpretations of various geographical visits.

Image Credit: Photo used with permission from Belinda Tan.
©Belinda Tan
Max Pagel and Jonathan Hwang
Armenian Church
19, 20, 26 and 27 Aug 2016
7.30 p.m. - 2 a.m.
21 - 25 Aug 2016, 7.30 p.m. - 11 p.m.

For more light art installations, consider making a trip to the Armenian Church. A reflective installation that reflects on the duality of progress and sacrifice. What regrets do we have in accepting the price of progress. A poetic installation for the reflective souls. This is one of my favourite installations this year!


19, 20 26, 27 Aug 2016, 7.30 p.m. - 2 a.m.
21 - 25 Aug 2016, 7.30 p.m. - 11 p.m.
Level 1, Design Gallery 1, National Design Centre
Free Admission

Nearby The Private Museum is the National Design Centre. This installation is immersive and invites visitors to relax as if in a shower. Patience will be required. A queue to enter the spaces of this installation a few people at a time will be expected. For myself, the experience was worth waiting for. Date a friend or two and go on a weekday night. This could be a strategy to reduce the time spent to queue.

During the festival, please remember to nourish our physical bodies with artisan culinary delights at the Festival Village. There are 30 flea market and food and beverage stalls this year. Chill and dine at the Singapore Night Festival 2016!

My Little Spanish Place will be presenting Spanish cuisine at the Festival Village.
Sh-nack Don. Savoury food and sweet delights from The Fish Shnack.

Spinacas will be serving meaty fries and deviled eggs at the Singapore Night Festival 2016.
Photo credits: Spinacas

Festival Village: Eat and Shop
Singapore Management University Campus Green and University Square
19. 20, 26, 27 August 2016
6 p.m. - 1 a.m.

For a memento to take home or give as a gift, the Singapore Night Festival Collector's Edition ez-link card is a practical and special item to consider. Collectors of this card stand to win attractive prizes. The top prize is a two-night weekend staycation package at Grand Hyatt worth over $2000.

Look out too for the Tap to Donate wall installation at the Platform, Level 2 of the National Museum of Singapore. By tapping any ez-link card, you will be making a donation of $2 towards the funding for Singapore Night Festival 2017. You will also be given a LEGO brick to add on to the wall installation of LEGO Bricks by Singapore artist, Xylvie Huang.

This installation combines art and technology in a fund-raising initiative. Everyone who taps an ez-link card at this installation will be one of the benefactors for next year's Singapore Night Festival!

In conclusion, my personal experience of the first weekend of this year's Singapore Night Festival is that it seemed more reflective. To find out more, please visit the official website:

Singapore Night Festival's Collector's Edition ez-link card.
Available from 15 to 27 Aug 2016 at the Visitor Services counter at the National Museum of Singapore.
Image Credit: Photo used with permission from Belinda Tan.
©Belinda Tan

Singapore Night Festival 2016
19 and 20 August 2016, Fri and Sat
26 and 27 Aug 2016, Fri and Sat
Bras Basah Bugis
Free Admission
7.30 p.m. to 2.00 a.m.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Commonwealth and Holland Village heritage tour

A new heritage tour which takes participants to parts of Commonwealth and Holland Village was launched on 20 March 2016. The Commonwealth and Holland Village heritage tour will be conducted on the third Sunday of the month starting from March 2016. Interested members of the public can register to attend the tour at

The Commonwealth and Holland Village heritage tour traces "the evolution of Queenstown's colourful social history from a rubber plantation in the 1870s to a bustling military village in the 1930s and a renowned expatriate center in the 2000s."

What are some of the interesting highlights from the Commonwealth and Holland Village heritage tour? Here are some of my choice highlights from the tour that I had attended on 20 March 2016:

A glimpse of Chip Bee Gardens.

Chip Bee Gardens
The tour started out near the Holland Village MRT station. I learnt that the area fondly referred to as Holland Village expanded in the 1950s and 1960s as a consequence of the expanding suburban civilian and military population in Queenstown and Alexandra. During the period of the 1950s and 1960s, the Chip Bee estate was established to house the British army personnel and families based in the nearby Pasir Panjang and Alexandra. With such an interesting history, the Chip Bee Gardens was an apt site to start this heritage tour with.

What used to be the site where the open-air Eng Wah Theatre had used to be.

The open-air Eng Wah Theatre
Think of Holland Village and most people will associate it with a bustling yuppie community today. Before the restaurants and cafes spruced up in Holland Village, what did people do to entertain themselves in the past?

It was during this tour that we learnt about the open-air Eng Wah Theatre that used to exist in the past. Previously located at 3 Lorong Liput, the former open-air Eng Wah Theatre was established in 1950s and specialized in showcasing Chinese wayang performances. It was closed in 1985.

Shuang Long Shan Wu Shu Memorial Hall
The Yin Fo Kun cemetery at the Shuang Long Shan Wu Shu Ancestral Hall is Singapore's last remaining Hakka cemetery. Anyone who is curious about the development of the Commonwealth and Buona Vista estates ought to visit this site.

Commonwealth Crescent Neighbourhood Centre
Officially opened on 29 May 1965, the Commonwealth Crescent Neighbourhood Centre is a place whether residents of the area gather. We visited one of the pioneer businesses in this neighbourhood centre, the Sin Palace Hair Dressing and Beauty Saloon. This saloon provides grooming for male customers and is worth a visit for the experience of the old-school style of grooming services.

First Flatted Factory

The First Flatted Factory & former Tanglin Halt industrial estate
Our visit to Block 115 Commonwealth Drive, Singapore's first flatted factory, together with our visit to the MOE Heritage Centre reinforced the idea that Queenstown was designed to be a self-contained New Town. Residents of the Queenstown estate could live, work and study within the estate.

We had the pleasure to listen to the personal accounts by Mdm Noorsia Binte Abdul Gani, one of the residents regarding her experiences living, working and raising her children.

MOE Heritage Centre
Our visit to the MOE Heritage Centre lent us to rich personal accounts by one of the volunteer guides who has decades of experiences as an educator. I appreciate the interesting stories of how the education system in Singapore has evolved over the years.

81 Commonwealth Close

81 Commonwealth Close
This block is also known as the VIP Block in Queenstown. This block has been visited by many foreign dignitaries for the panoramic views of Queenstown which showcased Singapore's success in public housing.

The interesting part of the tour was to listen to the personal accounts by residents living in the block about their experiences living in Queenstown.

Ridout and Holland Park Conservation Area
One of the interesting sites that this heritage tour has brought me to was the Ridout and Holland Park Conservation Area which was bounded by Ridout Road, Peirce Road, Holland Road and Queensway. This conservation area consists of 27 conserved bungalows mainly of the Art Deco and Black and White Bungalow styles.

A stroll within this area was a huge contrast to the housing estate of Queenstown. The visit to this conservation area concluded the Commonwealth and Holland Village heritage tour.

If reading about this tour had interest you, here are the details to register for this tour:

Commonwealth + Holland Village Tour
Every third Sunday of the month
8.30 a.m. - 12.30 p.m.
Holland Village MRT Station (Meeting Point)

To register
Or call Queenstown Community Centre at Tel: 64741681

Friday, March 18, 2016

Volunteers Recruitment for Friends of My Community

My Community, a registered charity which documents social memory, celebrates civic life and champions community heritage, is recruiting volunteers. Please find the poster for Friends of My Community's Volunteers' Recruitment drive 2016 for more details.

There will be an open house event for the recruitment drive on 26 Mar 2016, from 1.00 p.m. - 4.00 p.m. at Queenstown CC.

For more information, please visit:

Thursday, March 17, 2016

A Heritage Trail to look out for

Here is a My Queenstown Heritage Trail to look out for.

This tour to the Commonwealth and Holland Village area brings its guests to learn about how a part of Queenstown transformed from a rubber planation in the 1870s to a military village in the 1930s and then to a renowned expatriate centre in the 2000s.

Commonwealth + Holland Village Tour
Every third Sunday of the month
8.30 a.m. - 12.30 p.m.
Holland Village MRT Station (Meeting Point)

To register
Or call Queenstown Community Centre at Tel: 64741681

Monday, March 14, 2016

OH! Potong Pasir

These few weeks, on the green open spaces of the Bidadari Field, passerby will have the opportunity to witness an installation that looks like a wayang stage. This wooden structure conceived by Randy Chan is titled Palimpsest (2016).

Randy Chan's Palimpsest (2016).

In its own ways, this installation give a hint to the key theme of departed spaces that underpins OH! Potong Pasir, an art walkabout. In this year's edition of OH! Open House, artists explore the theme of departed spaces.

For this year's art walkabout, much of the tour was spent visiting spaces in the public housing estate of Potong Pasir. I witnessed for myself that the estate was going through a series of upgrading. Construction can be found easily at many corners of the estate.

Do you know what the words "Potong Pasir" mean? "Potong" means cut, and "Pasir" means sand. One of the artists, Ong Kian Peng, presents two sandscape installations to recall Potong Pasir's origins as a sand quarry by the Kallang River for this year's OH! Open House.

A glimpse of Ong Kiang Peng's Fractal Dunes (2016).

I had the pleasure to attend one of the Director's Cut tours on the first weekend of OH! Potong Pasir. One of my favourite segments of the tour was the visual to a beautiful and scenic view of the Kallang River from Jacob Ballas Bridge that connects St Andrew's Junior School and St Andrew's Junior College. I felt thankful for the good weather. Nature is a brilliant artist!

Other than the privilege to explore the public housing estate of Potong Pasir, OH! Potong Pasir brought us to recollect a place that no longer exist now, the Alkaff Gardens. While learning about a place which I totally had no personal experience of, I start to wonder if I had missed out on any interesting experiences. When wondering, I awed at the ideas behind the work, Consigned, by Tan Wee Lit.

Tan Wee Lit's Consigned. (2016)/

What about more of the art pieces that are showcased during OH! Potong Pasir? Patience please. An art walkabout like OH! Open House has to be experienced, and not read. How about signing up for one of the tours instead?

Interesting observations at OH! Potong Pasir.

Details can be found as follow:

OH! Potong Pasir
12, 13, 19, 20, 26, 27 March 2016
2 p.m. - 10 p.m.
(Last tour leaves at 8 p.m.)
Each tour is about 2.5 hours in duration.

S$25 per person 
(S$45, For the "Director's Cut tour on Saturdays)
Meeting place: Potong Pasir Community Club.

Tip: Please wear comfortable shoes and appropriate clothing. Bring along a bottle of water. It will come in handy on a hot day especially.

Monday, February 01, 2016

The Jubilee Walk Exclusive Tour

National Museum of Singapore.

Created to mark Singapore's Golden Jubilee in 2015, the Jubilee Walk is a specially curated trail of iconic sites. The Jubilee Walk recalls Singapore's history, her path towards nationhood and presents Singapore's present and future as a global city.

Thanks to the invitation of the National Heritage Board, I had the opportunity to attend the Jubilee Walk Exclusive Tour on 30 Jan 2016. The exclusive Jubilee Walk guided tour treated us to a tour of various sites of the Jubilee Walk led by Jubilee Walk Researcher, Marcus Ng. This exclusive Jubilee Walk covers more sites than the normal upcoming Jubilee Walk tours which would cover five sites.

The National Museum of Singapore is starting point of the Jubilee Walk. This building is Singapore's first purpose-built museum. Our guide, Marcus Ng, shared with us the history of the building, weaving in a few of Singapore's key milestones since 1823.

One of my favourite locations of the Jubilee Walk is the Fort Canning Park. Being close to Nature and listening to our guide traced a glimpse of Singapore's history to as early as the 14th century had brought a lot of delight. Be prepared for an adventurous and intriguing walk. I was reminded that the current Fort Canning Hill was the site of the first Botanical Gardens in Singapore.

Flower-head of Parkia timoriana.

Our knowledgeable and eloquent guide led the group to more sites along the Jubilee Walk. Along the way, the markers of the Jubilee Walk marked the trail. These Jubilee Walk's markers reminded of the brick markers of the Freedom Trail in Boston, United States of America.

The Jubilee Walk Exclusive Tour brought us to learn about sites such as the current Singapore Philatelic Museum and the Peranakan Museum. Participants also learnt about the influence of the Armenian community as the tour led us nearby the Armenian Apostolic Church of St Georgy The Illuminator.

Singapore Philatelic Museum to the left.

It was interesting to listen to a few of the participants in the tour group sharing their personal anecdotes of their experiences growing up nearby sites of the Jubilee Walk. I felt I was being transported to a moment in the past as I listened attentively to their personal accounts.

Hill Street Fire Station.

After the Old Hill Street Police Station, the participants of our tour group were greeted by the Singapore River. The Singapore River was yet another favourite sites of the Jubilee Walk of mine. As we strolled along the Singapore River, our tour guide reminded us of the critical issue of water survival for Singapore and highlighted the sites along the Jubilee Walk that present the significance of water issue for Singapore.

Singapore River.

Fullerton Building.

During the tour, our tour guide revealed that the overall themes of the Jubilee Walk were that of change and continuity. He pointed us to examples that demonstrated these themes. My mind pictured how people from all walks of life have worked together to transform Singapore and to ensure its continuity. As I walked along the Jubilee Walk, I reflected what have changed and what have continued over time.

The Jubilee Walk Exclusive Tour will be a 2-hour walk that is worthy of consideration for anyone who is interested in celebrating the milestones that Singapore has achieved over the years, and to gain a sense of Singapore's present and future.

For more information of the Jubilee Walk Exclusive Tour, please visit these links:

In addition, you can download Singapore Timewalk on IOS and Apple Store prior to the tour. It is best to download Singapore Timewalk (178MB) using wifi. For a preview of the app, please visit: