Saturday, 15 September 2012

Kampong Glam

     Whoopee . . . the weekend is here ! ! Time for another update. I headed straight to Kampong Glam as promised . . to this Malay Heritage Centre. Admission is free for this
month because it is reopened early this month by our Prime Minister after a makeover.

The New Look
       Before it converted into a  museum, it was home to Malay royalty in Singapore. Tengku Mohammed Ali built the Istana in 1840 at Sultan Gate. This modest palatial residence was designed by colonial architect George D. Coleman. So you think Glam comes from the word glamorous, however in this case 'Glam' is the name of a particular tree that grew in this area in early Singapore.
     On this hazy afternoon, to think that I'm stepping into a palace is a great privilege. It is the next best thing to being in a castle. Most of the castles I have dreamed of going are all in my head. Oh, I did actually go to one and that was Cinderella's Castle. Not kidding of course. 
    After taking off my footwear, it felt like entering a house. The smell of fresh paint greeted me, the place doesn't look a day over 169. I climbed the wooden stairs to the second storey to where the history begins . . . .     

    The Reception

Introducing Kampong Gelam as a Port Town

Gallery dedicated to our Pioneers
 Kettledrum & Ceremonial Belt Buckles

Fishing as a means of livelihood in early Singapore

Fishing Nets & Baskets

Models of Boats from Sampans to Ships

 Alternative means Of Livelihood

Items used in jobs by hawkers, mason,etc
Shops selling carpets, clothes & batik

Hallway Gallery featuring Malay Pioneers

   Upon entering this gallery, I was surprised and happy to see two rows of cinema seats. Time to sit back, relax to see what the black and white clips were about. Snippets of old Malay movies. Then it showed the 1956 film 'Sumpah Orang Minyak' (The Curse Of The Oily Man). I finally get a glimpse of what it was about. It also brought me back to my schooldays when the whole class begged Sister Margaret, our form teacher to tell us the story about this Oily Man covered with oil roaming the streets at night. This is a number of Malay ghost myths. We sat rapt with attention listening to every word she said. One of the unforgetable moments I had enjoyed in my secondary school life.

Gamelan Ensemble

Ground floor galleries dedicated to music, arts and literature

Kuda Kepang. a tradition dance

Out at the lawn was music played by the Gamelan ensemble. This is the first time I see a Kuda Kepang performance. I noticed the dancers were riding the horses were being whipped and did not feel a thing. Later I learned that the performancers were actually in a trance. They would walk on coals, eat glass or grass.

With the re-opening of the Heritage Centre, a month long of programmes have been lined up. On a final note, I relived some old memories and discovered some nuggets of the Malay culture. I do love being in this palace because it felt very homey.

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