Museum Musings: SINGAPO人 at the Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre
Laksa is one of Singapore’s most iconic dishes. Did you know that it is a tasty marriage of the rich heritage of the Chinese, Malay, and Peranakan communities in Singapore? From food to music; popular culture and language; and festivals that we celebrate; discover the many facets of our distinctive Chinese Singaporean identity, at the Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre’s inaugural permanent exhibition SINGAPO人: Discovering Chinese Singaporean Culture which opens to the public on 1 March 2020.
Featuring important loans from iconic personalities like Stefanie Sun and Anthony Chen, interactive multimedia to immersive exhibits with contributions from the community, SINGAPO人 casts a refreshing spotlight on how Chinese heritage, cultural interactions, and public policies have shaped Chinese culture in Singapore, and led it to evolve in ways which are different from other Chinese communities in the world.
Mr Low Sze Wee, Chief Executive Officer, Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre, said, “Our vibrant Chinese Singaporean culture has evolved over the years to one that we can proudly call our own. By presenting aspects of our daily life in fresh ways, we hope that SINGAPO人 will be a way for young Singaporeans to uncover our distinctive Chinese Singaporean culture, and inspire them to find out more about their cultural identity.”
Spread across five specially curated zones, SINGAPO人: Discovering Chinese Singaporean Culture brings visitors on an exciting journey. The exhibition starts by looking at traits that originated from China which continue to be practised in Singapore. Visitors will discover a roomful of everyday local objects that have connections to values treasured by the Chinese, and learn interesting facts behind festivals that are still observed today such as Chinese New Year, Mid-Autumn Festival and Hungry Ghost Festival.
Through our local food and language, SINGAPO人: Discovering Chinese Singaporean Culture then looks at traits that originated from China and have developed differently due to interactions amongst different dialect and ethnic groups in Singapore. Visitors can take their seat at a hawker centre and partake in an immersive multimedia feast for the senses where well-loved local dishes such as the aromatic Hainanese chicken rice and mouth-watering chilli crab come to life. They can also test their grasp of Singaporean coffeeshop lingo – a marriage of Malay and Chinese dialects, by completing the most number of drinks orders at a kopitiam-inspired game.
To end off their experience at SINGAPO人: Discovering Chinese Singaporean Culture, visitors can look forward to a fresh perspective on how Singapore’s position as a global hub and multi-cultural nation-state has enabled Chinese Singaporeans to independently develop distinctive cultural traits and unique perspectives. With a spotlight on the boundless potential of creative Chinese Singaporeans, visitors will see important loan objects on display such as a personal journal of recipes by acclaimed Mod-Sin chef Willin Low, the promotional poster for Dick Lee’s sold out-show The Adventures of the Mad Chinaman, and the Golden Melody Award for Best New Artist won by Stefanie Sun in 2000.
Adding a layer of interactivity to the exhibits, visitors can pick up a personalised radio-frequency identification (RFID) wristband at the start of the exhibition. This will enable them to answer questions and play games while exploring exhibition topics such as voting on what is their favourite Singaporean food. At the end of the exhibition, visitors may then use their wristbands to generate customised report cards, providing insights on their visit.
SINGAPO人: Discovering Chinese Singaporean Culture is located at the SCCC Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple Gallery, Level 2, and opens from 1st March 2020 onwards. Admission is free. For more information, visit https://www.singaporeccc.org.sg/.