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Singapore Heritage Festival 2018

By Edric  /  29 Mar 2018 (Thursday)

Fancy catching a film at a drive-in cinema reminiscent fo Jurong in the 70s; embarking on explorations to learn about the lesser-known aspects of Chinatown's history; or soaking in the old-meets-new charm of Jalan Besar? The 15th edition of the Singapore Heritage Festival (SHF), Singapore's signature heritage festival organised by the National Heritage Board, will be offering all that, and more, over three weekends in April.

From 6th to 22nd April, SHF 2018 is encouraging Singaporeans to discover the lesser-known aspects of our history, experience places and stories anew, and enjoy our heritage through a specially curated line-up of programmes and activities. Working in partnership with close to 100 community partners, the festival will present more than 120 programmes across five key locations this year - Jurong, Jalan Besar, Chinatown, Brass Basah, Bugis, and Toa Payoh.

Festival Director Angelita Teo said, "Over the past 15 years, the Singapore Heritage Festival has grown into a community-led event that Singaporeans are proud to call their own. This year, we are encouraged that passionate individuals and partners have stepped up and taken on a greater role in organising key highlights, such as in Chinatown and Jalan Besar, demonstrating that SHF is truly a festival by the people, for the people."

Shaping our Heritage with the Community

Backed by the strong support of Singaporeans over the years, SHF continues to grow and deepen partnerships and collaborations with its partners, both repeat and new, for quality festival offerings that Singaporeans from all walks of life can enjoy.

One such partner is Charmaine Leung, author of memoir 17A Keong Saik Road, who has been part of SHF since 2016. Charmaine has been holding guided tours of Keong Saik and talks based on her stories of the precinct for the past two years of the festival, offering personal accounts of the place and the colourful personalities who used to be in the area. This year, she will be taking the lead in rallying fellow heritage enthusiasts and stakeholders in Chinatown, putting together a series of programmes and activities for the second weekend of the festival. These programmes range from local films screenings, talks, opera, and story-telling performances at Kreta Ayer Square. Guided tours around the precinct are also organised with the goal of uncovering the many stories behind the clans, associations businesses, communities, and individuals who call Chinatown home.

For the first time, SHF will move into Jalan Besar - an area rich in history and in recent years, has become home to an eclectic mix of businesses and creative entrepreneurs. Together with Industry +, a local contemporary furniture brand and producer located along Tyrwhitt Road, the co-curated line-up of programmes includes guided architectural and food tours, "Big Road Market", a creative market showcasing local talents from artists, designers, and craftsmen, and a chance to joget and dance to original tunes by indie artists along the road that will be closed off to traffic for SHF 2018.

As we strive towards having more Singaporeans take ownership in promotion of our heritage, SHF also features passionate individuals who are taking an active role in championing heritage in the respective areas of work. This year, 'hawkerpreneurs' will serve up local favourites such as putu mayam and fish ball noodles during the festival weekends in Jurong and Toa Payoh. One young hawker participating in SHF 2018 is Douglas Ng, who started The Fishball Story based on his love for his grandmother's handmade fishballs. Today, Douglas has reinvented the traditional bowl of noodles with additions such as fried fish skin, and his stall has earned a spot on the Michelin Bib Gourmand Guide. Festival-goers will get to hear Douglas' story and savour his hawker creations at Jurong Town Hall from 6th to 8th April.

Cheng Yew Heng Candy Factory's third-generation owner, John Cheng, is also reinventing the traditional business of sugar production. The company established in 1947 is the only rock sugar manufacturer in Singapore. While items such as red and black jaggery sugar and rock sugar are the company's core products, John has evolved the business with fresh innovations such as Jewels Rock Sugar Sticks in flavours such as Jujube, Lemon Fiesta, and Singapore Sling. As part of SHF 2018, there will also be guided tours of the Cheng Yew Candy Factory alongside visits to others like Khong Guan Biscuit Factory.

A festival for Singaporeans, for Singaporeans

SHF 2018 will feature a line-up of programmes to involve everyone island-wide - the three festival weekends will take place at the following key locations, while fringe programmes at other well-loved Singapore precincts and neighbourhoods will also be available throughout the duration of the festival

Weekend One | Jurong (6th to 8th April)
Celebrate the industrial heritage of Jurong and its significance in our nation's development as SHF brings the heritage of Jurong Town Hall to live. Explore the National Monument as you enjoy specially curated programmes inspired by Jurong's heritage and the communities that grew along alongside it, such as Jurong Songbook - an immersive roving performance by theatre group Sweet Tooth that takes visitors through the Jurong story with music, song, and storytelling, giving them a chance to interact with characters of Jurong's past such as rubber plantation worker, and an army soldier. The festival will also be recreating a drive-in cinema reminiscent of Jurong in the 1970s.

Weekend Two | Jalan  Besar (13th to 14th April) & Chinatown (14th to 15th April)
Discover the multi-layered history and diverse heritage behind Jalan Besar and Chinatown, as our community partners in each area come together to present programmes for SHF 2018. Partake in a street party and shop at a creative market while immersing in the charm of Jalan Besar. Over at Chinatown, uncover the myriad of stories and memories behind the colourful facades of Chinatown's shophouses through a series of "eat, drink, explore, and be merry" programmes.

Weekend Three | Bras Basah Bugis (20th to 21st April) & Toa Payoh (21st to 22nd April)
At the Arts & Heritage district, Bras Basah Bugis, watch Armenian Street come to life in a celebration of all things Peranakan with the Armenian Street Party 2.0. Visit the National Museum of Singapore's new exhibition The More We Get Together: Singapore's Playgrounds 1930 - 2030, and see how these community spaces hold fond memories of growing up in Singapore. The spotlight will also be shone on Waterloo Street through a theatrical event by Theatre Practice that will explore the rich history of the street. At Toa Payoh's iconic Dragon Playground, for the first time, the playground will be transformed into a carnival ground featuring a dynamic LED Dragon dance performance celebrating our intangible cultural heritage, outdoor movie screenings, a classic vintage car boot flea market, as well as an assortment of popular local hawker delights.

Most programmes under SHF are free and open to members of the public. Online registration of ticketed programmes commences from 28th March 2018. Check out the SHF website at www.heritagefestival.sg for the full list of events!

SHF 2018 will also launch Our SG Heritage Plan, the first master plan for Singapore's heritage and museum sector. Festival-goers will get to live out aspects of the plan - Our Places, Our Cultures, Our Treasures and Our Communities - through the festival's programmes.
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