The Singapore History Gallery is a place where you can experience complete tranquility and, at the same time, relive momentarily the times when our ancestors and elders once lived in.
I would advise one to go on one’s own because only then can one slowly bask in the extraordinary atmosphere and appreciate the displays. After all, you’ll be listening to the Companion provided, a handy electronic device which narrates the story behind each display. It’s a really cool device. There’s a number on the floor for each of the different sections in the gallery and you just have to enter the number for the narrator to tell you an interesting story. There’s also a number for many of the artefacts displayed and you can enter the number if you wish to know more about the artefact. Hence, you’ll be listening with the earpieces on throughout the gallery anyway. There’s no need to talk, so there’s no need for a companion. You’ll be provided with one anyway haha. Ok, wasn’t that funny.
You first enter the gallery into this huge, dark room which resembles the Cerebro in “X-Men” haha. There’s this walkway that you walk through and the surface of the sphere-shaped room shows a short film featuring the different aspects of the lives of Singaporeans in Singapore. The accompanying soundtrack, I think named “Singapura” was brilliant and the enire experience was superb. I think I could have just stand there and watch the film for half an hour easily but I figured that I should get on with the rest of the gallery as the museum closes at 6pm.
When you walk out of the Cerebro-lookalike room, you find yourself at the top of a beautiful winding ramp that actually leads all the way to the floor below.
Down and down I went and I stood there for a good few minutes too, looking at the lovely scenery beyond those glass panels and soaking in the warm sunlight. 🙂
The first exhibit at the Gallery is the Singapore Stone. Actually I can’t remember ever reading about this important artefact haha. This is a fragment of a large sandstone slab which originally stood at the mouth of the Singapore River and is believed to date back to at least the 13th century and possibly as early as the 10th or 11th century. The strangest thing about this stone is that it bore an undeciphered inscription. To this date, we have no idea what the writings said but theories suggest that the inscription is either in Old Javanese or Sanskrit. This stone is now designated by the museum as one of 11 “national treasures” in January 2006, and by the National Heritage Board as one of the top 12 artefacts held in the collections of its museums.
And how can we forget Sir Thomas Stamford Bingley Raffles, founder of Singapore?
A copy of the 1819 treaty which determined Singapore’s fate:
A huge bell with Chinese inscriptions from a Chinese clan association (会馆) left behind from the days before colonial rule:
Interestingly, there was also a similar bell except that this was from the colonial days (note the English inscriptions):
A magnificent oil painting showing the Padang back in those colonial days:
This is a pretty image which is supposed to represent the entrance of a mosque:
And these are beautiful lanterns in the small dark room where the history of Mr Tan Tock Seng, a Singaporean Chinese merchant and philanthropist lies. For people who are afraid of the dark, you may need a friend along with you as there are many areas in the gallery like this one that are pretty dark. Can be scary for some people haha. I think it’s enchanting. 🙂
This is my favourite exhibition area haha: Chinese funerals. I like Chinese funerals – the setup at the void decks of blocks of flats, the gathering of relatives and friends, the coffin, the peanuts and packet drinks, the wreaths, the blankets and the towels all hung up, even the ruckus made at night by the funeral band and of course the procession itself. That of course doesn’t mean that I like people dying haha. I just think that funerals can be very beautiful and dignified.
That’s probably an old-school funeral wooden cart used to carry the coffin during the procession. It looks super grand with all the intricate wood cravings.
I don’t know why but there were old-school umbrella floating in the air in front of the funeral cart haha. A bit eerie, ya?
A funeral procession back in those days. All I can say is “Wow”.
Another problem that plagued Singapore in the old days: Chinese secret societies.
And back in those days, we women:
This is a wooden school table and chair back in our parents’ days.
Doesn’t it resemble what they had in 周杰伦’s 《不能说的秘密》?
And what we have here is a mind-numbingly lovely set of glassware used by the Japanese ladies during the Japanese Occupation to drink and serve wine.
It’s also a must to have the trishaw/rickshaw:
Another area which took my breath away is this corridor full of old-school woven bamboo baskets, bird cages, hats etc! It was so pretty that I’d to draw out my handphone and take more photos!
In the 1800s, drug abuse was prevalent and opium dens were widespread.
And these are really nice posters depicting the Japanese Occupation (1942-1945). Even though I didn’t have the time to fully understand what they were trying to show (-.-).
A copy of the Straits Time during the Japanese Occupation. Very interesting indeed. I didn’t know that Straits Times is this old.
Unfortunately, my handphone battery died before I ended the tour. (T_T) There were so many old-school TV sets and other electrical appliances on display that were really cute! And then there was the section on SM Lee Kuan Yew with many old photos and interviews/speeches etc. I would have taken at least a hundred more photos. (-.-) But it’s ok. This means that I can go to the National Museum of Singapore again!
After all, I haven’t been to the Singapore Living Gallery. 😛