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48 Singaporean Seconds: Do you know Singapore has two Istanas?

Published on Jul 22, 2013 7:48 PM
 

Singapore celebrates its 48th birthday on Aug 9, and to tie in with this, The Straits Times Picture Desk has put together 48 Singaporean Seconds, an audio-visual tribute to Singaporeans who have made this little red dot their home.

We are releasing their stories and videos in the next few weeks.

In the 11th instalment of our series, we talk to tour guide Pavaday Sivaraj.

Pavaday Sivaraj, 59, Tour guide

Singapore celebrates its 48th birthday on Aug 9, and to tie in with this, The Straits Times Picture Desk has put together 48 Singaporean Seconds, an audio-visual tribute to Singaporeans who have made this little red dot their home. In the 11th instalment of our series, we talk to tour guide Pavaday Sivaraj (above). -- ST PHOTO: NEO XIAOBIN

As a tour guide, Mr Pavaday Sivaraj often gets asked if he is a former history teacher. He'll laugh and reply that he is an ex-military man.

He had served 18 years with the Singapore Armed Forces before leaving in 1990. He did various work - like starting a pest-control business and driving a taxi - before deciding that he needed to learn a new skill.

He signed up for a part-time course conducted by the Singapore Tourism Board to be a tour guide, eventually earning his licence on Jan 14, 2005.

He enjoys conducting national-education tours for students as he feels it is important to educate them about the country's heritage.

Mr Sivaraj, 59, who is married to a housewife and has two adult children, is worried that kids these days are too insular.

"Most children are obsessed with their gadgets," he notices. "They aren't aware of a lot of things about Singapore."

By narrating stories about the country's past and making them see and even feel the heritage buildings, he hopes they will appreciate Singapore more.

As he asks: "Do you know there are two Istanas in Singapore? Besides the one in Orchard Road, there is also the Istana Kampong Glam at the Malay Heritage Centre."

- Photos and videos by The Straits Times Picture Desk