100 community events and projects to mark Singapore bicentennial

 The Nagore Dargah Indian Muslim Heritage Centre in Telok Ayer. It is curating a photo exhibition called "From Singapore to Singaporeans - Pioneers and Descendants".
The Nagore Dargah Indian Muslim Heritage Centre in Telok Ayer. It is curating a photo exhibition called "From Singapore to Singaporeans - Pioneers and Descendants".PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - The Nagore Dargah Indian Muslim Heritage Centre, which has almost two centuries of history, is curating a photo exhibition which matches photographs of 100 Singaporeans with their ancestors.

The exhibition, called "From Singapore to Singaporeans - Pioneers and Descendants", is one of more than 100 ground-up events and projects to uncover stories of the Republic's past as the country marks its bicentenary.

In a release on Wednesday (Feb 27), the Singapore Bicentennial Office said these projects are being done in partnership with over 280 partners, including community groups, religious institutions, clans, associations, businesses, schools, social organisations, and government agencies.

The Bicentennial Office added that the year-long commemoration is "an opportunity for Singaporeans to find personal connections to the past, and discover more about our longer history by piecing together the stories of our shared journey".

Its other partners include the Goh Loo Club, which has lined up a series of cultural seminars with topics like tracing the historical development of Chinese clan associations, along with the Tan Kah Kee Foundation.

The Eurasian Association, which is 100 this year, has also planned a slate of activities including a Eurasian Festival. The Perikatan Tulisan Jawi Singapura (loosely translated as the Singapore Jawi Writing Association) will also be promoting the history, learning and writing of the Jawi script.

Meanwhile, the longer history of Singapore will be presented at five roadshows taking place island-wide in a collaboration between the five community development councils and the Singapore Bicentennial Office.


The roadshows will kick off in April in the South East District at Wisma Geylang Serai, followed by the other four districts in subsequent months.

The Bicentennial Office said: "The roadshows provide an interactive experience of Singapore's 700-year history, charting our transformation from a place with a geographical location to a nation and people with a unique Singaporean DNA."

The roadshows will be complemented by a series of ground-up projects supported by the People's Association, which cover the place histories of the different regions in Singapore, their landmarks, communities and customs.

For example, participants in heritage walks around Choa Chu Kang GRC and Hong Kah North SMC will get to learn about the estate's history, including how the last wild tiger in Singapore was found in Choa Chu Kang in the 1930s.

Manpower Minister Josephine Teo, who is co-chair of the ministerial steering committee for the Singapore Bicentennial Office, said they are grateful that many people and communities have stepped forward to share their history through various projects and events.

She said: "Throughout our history, many individuals and communities gave back to society in various ways - by building places of worship, hospitals, schools, and more. The pioneers of independent Singapore too found ways to contribute, be it through monetary donations or voluntary service.

Mrs Teo also referred to the $200 million Bicentennial Community Fund, which was announced by Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat in his Budget speech on Feb 18. The fund will provide dollar-for-dollar matching for donations made to Institutions of a Public Character this year.

She said: "By setting up the Bicentennial Community Fund, we hope to inspire more corporates and individuals to care and share, in the same spirit of our forefathers' generosity."