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Audrey Tan
Sunday, Jun 29, 2014

Singapore

Go island-hopping at this year's HeritageFest

The Straits Times | Audrey Tan | Sunday, Jun 29, 2014

Raffles Lighthouse, situated on Pulau Satumu, south of the main island of Singapore. It consists of a main and standby rotating beacon.

Visitors to next month's Singapore HeritageFest will get to sail back in time for a glimpse of the Republic's island history, and explore a lighthouse that is usually out of bounds.

They will get to see the former Fullerton Lighthouse from the bus, sail past the one on Sultan Shoal, near Jurong Island, and explore Raffles Lighthouse which dates back to 1885 and is on Pulau Satumu, Singapore's southern-most land possession.

Yesterday, the National Heritage Board, the body behind the event, gave details of the festival, which aims to intrigue visitors with "lesser- known tales of our trading past".

Besides conducting a lighthouse trail for the first time, this 11th edition of the yearly festival is focusing on Singapore's island heritage - another first.

A lesser-known fact about Singapore is that it was actually made up of not just one island, but more than 70 of them.

Some have been lost due to land reclamation, but visitors can still visit the tranquil St John's, Lazarus and Seringat islands, the religious Kusu Island, or Tanjong Rimau - a lesser known part of Sentosa - on three island-hopping excursions during the festival.

Themed Our Islands, Our Home, the festival, to be held from July 18 to 27, also hopes to help Singaporeans get in touch with their roots by showcasing the cultures and traditions of the migrants who settled here.

For instance, visitors can enjoy traditional performances, which include the lion dance or nanyin ("music of the south" in Chinese).

Originally from China's Fujian province, nanyin performances were popular with devotees visiting the temples on Kusu Island, south of Singapore, during the pilgrimage season in the 1970s.

The popularity of nanyin may have faded, but festival-goers will get to hear the music enjoyed by their forefathers.

"Usually, the nanyin performances are held only during the ninth lunar month at the Tua Pek Kong temple (on Kusu)," said Ms Celestina Wang, vice-chairman of Siong Leng Musical Association, which is putting up a nanyin performance on Kusu for the festival.

"But we feel that Singapore HeritageFest will be a good platform to showcase this traditional art form to the public," she added.

There will be more than 60 different programmes on the mainland and on the surrounding islands during next month's event.

Eleven festival hubs will also be set up at locations such as Century Square, Changi City Point and the National Museum of Singapore.

Visitors can learn more about Singapore's myths and legends and Peranakan culture through activities such as exhibitions, storytelling sessions and face and body art painting.

Festival director Angelita Teo was heartened by the growing number of past festival contributors coming back this year. "Their contributions will allow more people to understand our heritage," she said.

National University of Singapore business undergraduate Jason Ng, 24, said he was keen to attend this year's festival.

He said it is good to explore the islands during HeritageFest since there will be activities then. "It's a good opportunity for couples and families to bond," he said

 

 

Sign up from July 1 to join in the fun

LIGHTHOUSE TRAIL

When: July 19 and 20

Time: 7.30am to 12.30pm or 1.30pm to 6.30pm

Where: Meet at National Museum of Singapore (NMS) bus bay, Level 2. Register at www.heritagefest.sg from July 1. Each session is limited to 30 participants.

 

ISLAND-HOPPING TRAILS

A Night of Nanyin at Kusu

When: July 26

Time: 4pm to 9pm

Where: Meet at NMS bus bay, Level 2; Register at www.heritagefest.sg from July 1. Each session is limited to 100 participants.

 

Tanjong Rimau Walk, Sentosa

When: July 16

Time: 7am to 10.30am

Where: Meet at NMS bus bay, Level 2; Register at www.heritagefest.sg from July 1. Each session is limited to 30 participants.

 

Homes, Hills and Habitats: A Morning at St John's, Lazarus and Seringat

When: July 19 and 27

Time: 7am to 1pm

Where: Meet at NMS bus bay, Level 2; Register at www.heritagefest.sg from July 1. Each session is limited to 30 participants.

 

OTHER ACTIVITIES

Pulau Ubin on Film: A Screening of Moving Gods

When: July 20

Time: 4pm to 6pm

Where: NMS Gallery Theatre, Basement; Register at www.heritagefest.sg from July 1. First come, first served for up to 245 people.

 

The City in Bukit Brown Walk

When: July 20 and 27

Time: 8.30am to noon

Where: Meet at NMS bus bay, Level 2; Register at www.heritagefest.sg from July 1. First come, first served for up to 25 people per session.

 

Admission is free for all events, but age and other restrictions might apply.

For more information, go to the www.heritagefest.sg website.


This article was first published on JUNE 27, 2014.
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