Singapore Heritage Center – Reliving History
Singapore heritage centres actually represent a snapshot of each of 2 ethnic groups living in Singapore. From guided tours to exhibitions, this is a journey of education, diving through the rich histories of the Chinese and Malay populations – their past, their present and their potential future. Get a glimpse of their lives, their practices and the quirks that make them who they are today, all in a single location.
Put on your rice hats and step on over to the Chinese Heritage centre, a story told in living colours and lights as well as the passing smells of some of the best roasted, steamed and fried cultural delights. Go back in time to the black and white days of the early Chinese in Singapore and feel first hand the cramped living conditions these early settlers had to put up with – disease stricken, over crowded shop houses and busy, dank and sometimes dangerous streets. Now, he heritage centre sits pretty in its newly restored location, but it still remembers what it used to be.
The centre is a multilevel experience, and each time you ascend or descend, you get to experience a variation in the history and cultures of the early Chinese. You can almost imagine vividly by looking at the exhibitions and the displays of how life used to be, the decadent life of opium smoking, dens and places of gambling and prostitution that used to overcome this poor estate. This place is not just a re creation of history, it is sculpted by true stories to paint a picture that is both real and inspiring.
We cannot forget the Malay Heritage Centre, for Singapore was once a small and cosy Malay fishing village before the invasion of the colonial powers, who changed the course and destiny of this tiny island in ways the early fishermen and farmers could not have imagined. Find out how Islam came about and the pivotal role of learning and religious education on the early Malay community. Experience the kampong life and relive the old living conditions of the Malay community through guided tours and see how it changed from its humble beginnings to modern Singapore today.
Get dragged in to the culture and life through the daily festivals and performances by troupes and actors in the heritage centre. See how they used to defend themselves with silat, a traditional Malay martial art and sit down and waft with the sounds of Malay instruments of old.
These heritage centres play a very important role within Singapore. For the local population it reminds us where we came from and how humble we our beginnings and how much we have struggled from then till the comforts we are living in now. It also serves as a glimpse into our individual culture and tells us the story of the generations before us and how they lived.
For visitors, it plays the part of a theatre play and educational, informative lesson set in an interesting landscape. Understanding us better is one of the key features that these centres try to impart on tourists, as the most valuable souvenir of all is the one they take back in their hearts and in their minds.