Marking the 200th anniversary of Sir Stamford Raffles’ arrival in Singapore, this year’s Singapore Bicentennial commemorates this momentous milestone in the Lion City’s vibrant history.
Of course, the story of Singapore in fact dates back to 1299 – the island having grown from strength to strength over 700 years and becoming a bastion for multiculturalism and openness with a rich cultural diversity.
To celebrate Singapore’s diverse heritage, the country is awash with events, exhibits and activities that highlight the evolution of this incredible island and provide a glimpse of what the future holds…
Extended to 31 December 2019 due to popular demand, From Singapore to Singaporean: The Bicentennial Experience is a multi-sensory immersive journey that chart’s the nation’s evolution from 1299 with a series of multimedia shows and installations in historic Fort Canning Park.
A pinnacle of the island’s bicentennial celebrations, the experience is split into two parts: Time Traveler and Pathfinder. In Time Traveler, visitors can enjoy a front-row seat to Singapore’s 700-year evolution through colourful and multimedia videos. In Pathfinder, a collection of pavilions and exhibits provide a 360-degree view of Singapore’s growth and significance in the world through artefacts, sculptures, maps, flora and the written word. The Bicentennial Experience is free but visitors must book a ticket.
As a nation that has widely been at the forefront of technological innovations, it won’t come as much surprise that one of the most exciting ways to uncover more about Singapore’s remarkable history is via a mobile augmented reality app. The app enables users to interact with historical figures such as Sir Stamford Raffles himself, view momentous points in Singaporean history such as the 1819 Treaty with their own eyes and uncover the stories and tales that have shaped the nation as they wander around iconic locations including Singapore River and Fort Canning Hill.
With the country revelling in bicentennial celebrations, there’s simply no better time to visit Singapore if you’re in search of cultural highlights. The Singapore City Gallery has reopened with interactive exhibitions and a new permanent map exhibit depicting the country’s history, while the ND 200 Photo Exhibition is another must-visit and is showcasing a collection of personal photographs from modern-day Singaporeans juxtaposed with black and white portraits of their ancestors who first came to Singapore as early as 1819.
At Parliament Place, The Arrivals and Their Contributions, celebrates the nation’s pioneers and uncovers the stories behind the men and women who have left an indelible mark on Singaporean history. From Sang Nila Utama and Stamford Raffles to the life of Tan Tock Seng, whose dedication to giving back to the community Singaporeans still honour today, this exhibit provides an educational journey through history and runs until 31 December.
Singapore’s vibrant communities and neighbourhoods have played a key role in the island’s development and numerous fascinating trails and tours are now bringing them to life. The Tiong Bahru Heritage Trail runs every month and unearths the history behind one of Singapore’s oldest housing estates and its key landmarks, while My Dawson Heritage Tour will run until 1 December and uncovers the history of Singapore’s first satellite town and offers an intimate journey around some of its most iconic settings including Phoenix Park, Former Tanglin Barracks and St George’s Church.
In a country where old meets new at every turn, the bicentennial events and celebrations are a feast for any visitor to enjoy.