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9 Awesome Things You Should Check Out At The Malay CultureFest In Bugis


Faruq Senin •  Oct 18, 2019


Bugis is one neighbourhood in Singapore that we always find ourselves coming back to. The variety of halal food options and unique shops definitely make it a convenient hangout spot! Credit: Giphy If you’re like us and looking for more reasons to visit Bugis this October-November, you’d be glad to know that the Malay CultureFest 2019 is happening at the Malay Heritage Centre (MHC) from now till 2 Nov 2019! During the festival, you can look forward to cultural activities, performances (and more!) relating to the history of the communities in the Nusantara (Malay World) and Singapore from the 15th to 19th century. With a variety of exciting and family-friendly activities, this event is perfect even if you’re not an art and culture buff! Here are 9 activities to keep an eye out for: GIVEAWAY Stand a chance to win 3 pairs of tickets (2 on Facebook, 1 on Instagram) to watch Dedap on 26 Oct, 8.00PM (find out more about it below!) Here’s what you have to do:
  1. Like MHC’s Facebook page and follow MHC’s Instagram
  2. Comment on the Facebook or Instagram post for this article and tell us what you will be looking forward to the most for Malay CultureFest
The giveaway ends 24 October at 7PM (GMT +8).
1. Seekor Singa, Seorang Putera, dan Sebingkai Cermin: Reflecting and Refracting Singapura (A Lion, A Prince and A Mirror: Reflecting and Refracting Singapore)
Did you know that Singapore used to be an important maritime and cultural hub even before British and Dutch rule in Southeast Asia in the 19th century? If you’ve ever wanted to experience what Singapore was like back in the day, then this is the perfect exhibition for you! This special exhibition is also one of the main highlights of this year’s Malay CultureFest, so you won’t want to miss it ?
Among the artefacts on display: Seal of Tengku Hussain Shah of Singapore, c. 1810 Get up close and personal with maps, manuscripts and artefacts from the Malay World and immerse yourself in their histories and stories. You might have read about Singapore’s history through the eyes of the British or other Europeans but this time you get to see Singapore’s history in a new light – through the voices and perspectives of the diverse indigenous communities living in the archipelago.
Among the artefacts on display: print of British entering Singapore in 1824. You may be surprised to learn that Singapore had connections to different communities in the region, such as the Javanese, Bugis and Acehnese, and even further west with the Indians, Arabs and Europeans for over 700 years! Be prepared to marvel at over 120 exhibits spread across three galleries, and journey back in time to catch a glimpse of Singapore’s role as a cosmopolitan trade hub in the Malay Archipelago in the 14th, 16th and 19th centuries. Price: Free (for Singaporeans and PRs) Check out the ticket prices for foreigners here. Do note that only the permanent galleries are paid areas for non-Singaporeans and PRs. The temporary galleries are free for all. Date: 12 Oct 2019 – 21 Jun 2020 Venue: Malay Heritage Centre, Anjung (within the permanent galleries), Temporary Galleries 1 & 2 P.S. If you’re feeling hungry after visiting the exhibition, we’ve got you covered with over 50 halal food options in Bugis!
2. Balada Tumasik (Ballad of Tumasik)
Once you’ve discovered more about Singapore’s history through the exhibition, it’s time to see it come to life with the Balada Tumasik!
In case you’re wondering, the Balada Tumasik is a video mapping animation show on the facade of MHC depicting 700 years of Singapore’s history from the time Sang Nila Utama found the island to the arrival of Raffles in 1819. Be prepared for a visual feast as the show features various folk stories, legends and historical moments ? What’s great is that it’s free and open to all, so you can go over to MHC on any night from now till 2 Nov at 7.30pm onwards to catch this stunning show! Not to mention, it’s also a great activity to do with your family or friends, especially after having a nice dinner at one of the halal eateries in Bugis! Price: Free Date and Time: 11 Oct - 2 Nov 2019; 7.30PM – 9.00PM Venue: Malay Heritage Centre #HHWT Tip: Wondering what else you can do around the Bugis area other than the Malay CultureFest? Check out our ultimate guide to Bugis on the top things you must see and do!
3. 7etangga (Tujuh Tetangga or 7 Neighbours)
A festival won’t be complete without some music! Aptly named 7etangga (or 7 Neighbours), this musical performance features a medley of songs from 7 different ensembles with different musical styles including Malay, Turkish, Chinese, Indian, African music and more ?
With these different unique instruments and styles, it’ll be interesting to see how they merge to create beautiful music. It’ll definitely be both an audio and visual treat! Price: Free Date and Time: 1 Nov 2019, 8.30PM onwards (after Isyak prayers) Venue: MHC Fountain
4. Dramatised Storytelling: Attack of the Swordfish
Here’s another activity that’s great for the young and the young at heart! Remember the local folklore of how Singapore was attacked by swordfish but a young boy saved the island? So, the story goes like this - the boy had suggested that the swordfish be trapped by a barricade of banana stems and his plan worked! But as the boy’s wisdom had threatened the King’s power, the King ordered for assassins to murder him ?
Now you can relive the story in a dramatised storytelling of the swordfish story by a team of 9 to 11-year-olds from the National Library Board’s Junior Reading Ambassadors programme! This is the perfect chance to introduce kids to this famous folklore and there’s even a craft activity after the storytelling, so make sure you bring your kids ? Price: Free Date and Time: 2 Nov 2019; 11.00AM – 12.00PM Venue: MHC Auditorium #HHWT Tip: Once you’ve got your history fix, it’s time to fuel up with a yummy meal at one of these 20 halal cafes in Bugis!
5. Singa Drum Gaia
If the sound of drums and beats excite you, then you need to come for Singa Drum Gaia! For the uninitiated, Singa Drum Gaia is a drumming fiesta held twice every year and this time, it’s in conjunction with the Malay CultureFest at MHC ?
It’s the first and biggest festival of its kind in Singapore which celebrates the vibrant and eclectic drumming traditions from all around the world that’s present in Singapore. It’s only happening on 2 Nov so make sure you save the date and soak in the drumming atmosphere! Price: Free Date and Time: 2 Nov 2019; 8.00PM Venue: MHC Fountain
6. Tanah•Air 水•土: A Play In Two Parts
Theatre lovers, this one’s for you! Tanah•Air 水•土: A Play In Two Parts tells the story of how the indigenous Malays and Orang Seletar lost their homes when the colonialists arrived in Singapore.
What’s interesting is that you’ll feel as though you’re watching two plays. Tanah (land) is a story about the struggles of a young girl from the Orang Laut community who loses her home on the sea and is forced to move to the shore. Air (water) is a poignant story about the displacement of Orang Seletar who were an indigenous community in Singapore. One interesting thing about Air is that it’s a verbatim performance which means that the play uses dialogues which were spoken by real people, word for word! This is definitely one play you’d want to catch ? Price: $68 (excl. Booking fee) Date and Time: 16 - 20 Oct 2019; 8.15PM Venue: MHC Auditorium Book your tickets here.
7. Rumah Hantu
No, this isn’t what you’re thinking of - no horror stories or scary characters in this one ? Follow the lives of two individuals who are trapped in an old and run-down house which is full of stories and memories. But the only way for them to escape is not by finding a key or a door but by searching for stories which symbolise escape. Imagine it like an “escape room” but instead of finding clues to get out, you have to dig deep and reconnect with your memories. It might sound pretty mind-boggling but we’re definitely interested to see how it plays out! Price: $15 (Adults), $10 (Students) Date and Time: 1 & 2 Nov 2019; 3PM & 7.30PM Venue: MHC Auditorium Book your tickets here.
8. Dedap
Fans of Malay music and drama will not want to miss this play! Dedap (refers to a small tree with red odourless flowers) is a play based on an adaptation of the life of a renowned Malay artist who has been an inspiration to the writer since young. Take an emotional ride down memory lane as the play tells the story of the artist’s last days - his struggles to remain relevant and the aching melancholy of his beloved wife after his departure. Price: $20 (Adults), $15 (Students) Date and Time: 25 & 26 Oct 2019; 8PM Venue: MHC Auditorium Book your tickets here. GIVEAWAY Stand a chance to win 3 pairs of tickets (2 on Facebook, 1 on Instagram) to watch Dedap on 26 Oct, 8.00PM. Here’s what you have to do:
  1. Like MHC’s Facebook page and follow MHC’s Instagram
  2. Comment on the Facebook or Instagram post for this article and tell us what you will be looking forward to the most for Malay CultureFest
The giveaway ends 24 October at 7PM (GMT +8).
9. Adventures In Nusantara
Think the Malay CultureFest is only for adults? Think again! If you’re heading to the special exhibition (Seekor Singa, Seorang Putera, dan Sebingkai Cermin: Reflecting and Refracting Singapura) with kids, in luck as MHC has just opened their first ever Children’s Space catered to those aged 3 to 6 years old.
At this multisensory space, children will be able to learn about the stories of three young historical characters – Hang Nadim, Ali Wallace and Wah Hakim, and experience scenes from our history. This way, your kids can learn in a more fun and relatable way ? #HHWT Tip: Don’t forget to check out the activity booklets specially designed for the children’s space. You can also redeem a token for every completed booklet!. Price: Gallery admission fees apply Date: 12 Oct 2019 onwards Venue: Malay Heritage Centre, Finale of Permanent Gallery With a range of interesting exhibitions, performances and even interactive activities for kids, the Malay CultureFest 2019 looks like an event you’d want to go with your friends or family! Even if you’re not an art and culture buff, why not take this time to do something different and learn about the history of Singapore and the Malay world? But if that does not tickle your fancy, we’re pretty sure you’d enjoy the visual spectacle and musical performances that are in store. Time to call your loved ones and plan a visit to the Malay CultureFest! Malay Heritage Centre Opening hours: Tue-Sun; 10AM-6PM Address: 85, Sultan Gate, Singapore 198501 Contact: 6391 0450 Website | Facebook | Instagram#HHWT Tip: Thinking about what else you can do in Singapore from Oct-Dec? Check out our list of 11 exciting things you can look forward to in Singapore! This article is brought to you by National Heritage Board.