Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Peranakan Museum

If someone ever asked me, "What is the first thing that comes to your mind when I say 'Peranakan'?" I might say, "Uh, the kuehs? Or the nonya kebaya? " Since that answer clearly sounds far too superficial, I decided to head down to the Peranakan Museum to hunt for a slightly smarter answer. 

Located in an old primary school, Tao Nan School, the construction of this building was completed in 1912. 

On the first floor, there is only one gallery, which talks about what it means to be Peranakan- the definition of Peranakan and what it means to be one. You can see the faces of many Peranakans and what kind of Peranakans they are (e.g. Peranakan Chinese, Jawi Peranakan, Chitty Melaka etc.)

On the second floor, Galleries 2-5 are about the traditions for Pernakan weddings. You get to see the rituals and the things that the bride and bridegroom's families have to give each other to prepare for the wedding. There is also the Museum's famous collection of beadwork.

On the third floor, the galleries were about being a Nonya, religion, public life, food and feasting and conversations. I was sorely disappointed to realise that there weren't any models of food in the Food and Feasting gallery. For the Religion Gallery, there is a warning on the pamphlet: "Please note that young children and sensitive persons may be disturbed by the display on death and mourning".

I really liked the idea of the stamp ever since I saw it for the first time at the Terracotta Exhibition at ACM. These stamps are scattered around the museum. Kids will be enthralled by the different motifs, such as dragon, phoenix, ang ku kueh etc. 

Admission is free for visitors age 6 and below, all Singaporean + PR residents aged 60 and above, all Singaporean and Singapore PR students, teachers and full-time NSMen. For all others, please click the link below for admission charges.

Overall, I think it was an informative visit because I finally realised the exact definition of "Peranakan". Not only that, I also learnt about some famous Peranakans in Singapore, and saw for myself the intricate beadwork by Nonyas. If you are Singaporean and caught the The Little Nyonya on Channel 8, maybe you should go down to see the real thing.

Peranakan Museum 
39 Armenian Street
Singapore 179941
Tel: +65 6336 2983, or +65 6332 3284

Opening Hours 
Monday: 1pm to 7pm
Tuesday to Sunday: 9am – 7pm (to 9 pm on Fridays)

Admission Charges
Click here 


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