14 Apr 2015: For five weekends starting April 17 – that’s World Heritage Day – revisit the past with Singapore HeritageFest. Gwen Pew rounds up three highlights
Jurong Heritage Trail: 25 Apr, various venues around Jurong
Set in Jurong this time, the latest heritage trail launched by the National Heritage Board (NHB) works the same as the others. Visitors can download a copy of the guide from NHB’s website or pick up a copy of the booklet from various locations (check the website for details), and explore the area in their own time. Over 30 sites are covered by this route, including Hong Kah Village, the Singapore Armed Forces Training Institute, Jurong Fishery Port and the Former Jurong Drive-in Cinema.
‘Many people think of Jurong as Singapore’s industrial town, but there are actually many more facets of history, culture and heritage that make up the Jurong story,’ says Angelita Teo, the festival director of the Singapore HeritageFest.
‘Through this heritage trail, we hope that more people will have a chance to discover the many different and lesser-known aspects of Jurong town, such as the social attractions, green spaces and industrial locations that were established during the development of Jurong from the 1960s, as well as places that still carry their legacies from their farming and kampong days.’
Monument Open House: 18 & 19 Apr, various venues
Since 1973, 68 buildings have been designated as National Monuments by the NHB. This open house gives the public a rare glimpse into a few of them – such as St Joseph’s Church and the Former Command House – with guided tours carried out by members of the community. ‘Each [monument] is unique in telling its story that helps us better understand Singapore’s past, and shapes our present identity as a nation,’ says Teo.
New World Singapore: 27 Apr-3 May, City Square Mall
Opened in 1923, New World Amusement Park was once the jewel of Singapore’s nightlife scene. The venue closed in 1987, but an exhibition at City Square Mall – which now stands on part of the park’s original location – lets visitors young and old relive its glory days. ‘The exhibition delves into certain details not usually known to the public today, such as the stories of Rose Chan, and to see her not just as a stripper, but also a dancer, entertainer, entrepreneur and stuntwoman ahead of her time,’ says Teo. ‘We will also bring back a few signature performances that were presented at New World back then, such as the Bangsawan dance, the cabaret dance and the Joget dance.’