Peranakan festival, heritage walks among events to mark bicentennial

A Peranakan festival, an exhibition detailing Bishan's history from when it was called Kampung San Teng, and an exploration of how wedding customs across Singapore's racial groups have evolved since the 1920s.

These are among the more than 40 activities being coordinated by the People's Association (PA) Grassroots Organisations from April till August to commemorate the bicentennial in Singapore's neighbourhoods. More than 200,000 residents are involved in developing these activities.

Announcing the events yesterday, the PA said the activities provide "an opportunity to reflect on our longer history, the values of multiculturalism, openness and self-determination which have brought us through, and how we can move forward with confidence".

The Singapore Bicentennial Office (SBO) is supporting the activities, which also include heritage trails, concerts and dramas written and performed by residents.

Marsiling-Yew Tee residents are preparing a play which uses the area's history "as a backdrop", while an exhibition will explain how "Yew Tee", which means "oil pond" in Teochew, got its name.

Another exhibition at Kebun Baru Community Club, to be held from June 22 to 29, will take visitors on a journey through the area's rubber and rambutan plantation days. The area also used to house a Hainanese village and hosted Singapore's first Grand Prix, while some visitors may remember the Sembawang Hill Estate Taxi Service Stand.

The SBO, in collaboration with the five Community Development Councils (CDCs), will also present a series of five Singapore Bicentennial Roadshows across the island. Each will have its own theme.


  • The Peranakan Festival

    Date: April 27

    Venue: Wisma Geylang Serai

    Bishan-Toa Payoh Commemorates Singapore Bicentennial, a carnival and an exhibition

    Date: May 25

    Venue: Bishan Community Club

    Down the Memory Lane @ Kebun Baru, an exhibition

    Date: June 22 to 29

    Venue: Kebun Baru Community Club

    Singapore Bicentennial Roadshows

    • The first leg of the roadshows will take place from this Saturday until April 21 at Wisma Geylang Serai.

    • Subsequent roadshows will take place in central Singapore from May 4 to 12; in the north-east from June 22 to 30; in the north-west from July 20 to 28; and in the south-west from Aug 3 to 11.

The series will kick off at South East CDC this Saturday at Wisma Geylang Serai.

The Wisma Geylang Serai roadshow will focus on the different cultures and communities that have come together to build modern Singapore. It will also include a 700-year timeline of Singapore's history and storytelling sessions.

This first leg of the roadshow aims to engage more than 6,000 residents living in the neighbourhoods of East Coast, Marine Parade, Fengshan, MacPherson and Mountbatten. The South East district is home to more than 550,000 residents.

Manpower Minister Josephine Teo, who is co-chair of the ministerial steering committee for the Singapore bicentennial, said: "The Singapore bicentennial is for everyone - young or old, of any ethnicity or origin, from all walks of life - to learn more about our long and rich history, including those of different districts.

"There will be fun activities for the whole family and opportunities to uncover personal connections with Singapore's history. More importantly, we can all draw inspiration for our future together as one people, one nation."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 09, 2019, with the headline 'Peranakan festival, heritage walks among events to mark bicentennial'. Print Edition | Subscribe