Saturday, May 23, 2015Saturday, May 23, 2015

Missed this in 2007? Here's another look

Straits Times readers can catch this and other post-1950 photos of Singapore at an exclusive preview of the We: Defining Stories exhibition on

Published on Apr 25, 2014 7:14 AM

In the hunt for stories of post-war Singapore's defining moments, curators combed through thousands of copies of Singapore's oldest English-language daily for two months.

The National Museum of Singapore (NMS) then ploughed through thousands of photographs from The Straits Times' archives and the museum's collection to pick the images that would best tell these stories.

They finally settled on 435 photos, including 55 that have never been published.

One of these is a photo of Fandi Ahmad greeting fans after Singapore's victory in the 1994 Malaysia Cup final at the Shah Alam Stadium in Selangor.

These images from 1950 to 2013 will star in a new photo exhibition called We: Defining Stories.

The four-month-long showcase presented by The Straits Times and NMS opens on Sunday and entry is free.

NMS curator Priscilla Chua said there were many attention- grabbing stories, but not all could be told visually. These included long-drawn trials where photography was not allowed.

The next step in the process was grouping the photos, which ranged from those of the swearing-in of the first national service recruits in 1967 to Singapore's hosting of the Grand Prix motor race in the 1960s and 1970s.

Ms Chua decided to present the photos in six sections: Merdeka (freedom in Malay), Home, Challenges, Heroes, So Singaporean and Our Stories.

Merdeka chronicles the winds of change as Singapore rallied for independence. It features photos from events such as the Hock Lee Bus Company riots in 1955.

Heroes, meanwhile, highlights well-known Singaporeans, including weightlifter Tan Howe Liang, who was Singapore's first Olympic medallist.

Ms Chua said: "The chosen themes reflect the different facets of Singapore's history while an over-arching chronological narrative helps keep the visitor on track."

Straits Times photo editor Stephanie Yeow, who helped select the pictures, said she was happy with the outcome of the collaboration.

"The result is a strong collection of photographs of numerous iconic images that I'm sure the public will enjoy," she said.

NMS director Angelita Teo said The Straits Times' rich database served as an "excellent starting platform".

The paper has amassed millions of photos in its bank since the 1950s.

Ms Teo said the exhibition also ties in with the nation's upcoming 50th birthday celebrations.

"It's timely to look back at the cherished moments in history that have made us who we are; moments that were happy, sad, bittersweet, and also the ones that made us laugh and reflect."

Straits Times editor Warren Fernandez said the paper's reporters and photographers have been at the scene of many critical moments in the life of the country.

"They have brought these defining stories home to our readers over the years," he said.

"These stories make for a compelling way to recount some of the key moments in Singapore's 50 years of independence in this exhibition, which we believe will resonate with Singaporeans."