April ushers in the highly anticipated celebrations for the Singapore Heritage Festival (SHF) 2018. The 15th edition of this yearly event will run for three weekends from April 6 to 22.
If it’s your first time or if you’ve been following this event for some time now, you can expect to see more off-the-wall and artsy activities in key historic locations in the city including Bras Basah and Bugis, Chinatown, Toa Payoh, and the latest addition of Jalan Besar and Jurong to round up the list.
Activities to Check Out in Your Neighbourhood during the SHF 2018
According to SHF director Angelita Teo, the addition of Jurong and Jalan Besar in this year’s edition gives the festival another cultural dimension for guests and participants to explore and appreciate – the country’s working class heritage.
The Jurong area, or the Jurong Town Hall, to be exact, is considered one of Singapore’s iconic spots in terms of its industrial heritage in the country’s post-independence history whereas Jalan Besar is considered one of birthplaces of varios trades and small businesses, which has now become home to many of the country’s young and inspired entrepreneurs. The festival aims to show the evolution of the place and the trades that flourished along with it.
So, since we don’t have the luxury of time and the ability to be in several places at once, we have come up with our top picks to see in this year’s exciting SHF 2018 lineup:
1. Bras Basah and Bugis: Exploring Waterloo Street by Theatre
Until Apr 28, 7:30pm, The Theatre Practice, 54 Waterloo Street. Tickets are priced at $68 per guest.
While there are so many things to see in this quaint yet charming spot in the city, we go with a theatre production, known as the Four Red Horse, directed by the Theatre Practise Creative Director, Kuo Jian Hong, and stage playwright, Jonathan Lim. The show’s title is based on the literal translation of Waterloo Street’s traditional name in Chinese. The show will revolve around 10 unique stories based on real-life events which happened in the area, from the 1980’s up to the present time.
2. Chinatown: Go on a Gastronomic Historical Adventure
Food Crawl: Apr 14, 11:00 am to 12:30 pm, Kreta Ayer Square, 21 Banda Street. Registration is $5 per head.
Food Stories: Apr 15, 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm, Kreta Ayer Community Centre, 28 Kreta Ayer Road. Admission is free, but registration is required.
Local food blogger, Tony Boey (Johor Kaki), takes us for a unique kind of food trip around Chinatown in two appetizing sessions called Food Stories and Food Crawl.
Food Stories will give us an insightful look at signature creations such as the Sak Kei Ma biscuits or the Chinese-style satay infused with Indian herbs and spices, as well as their creators.
But if you’re in the habit of checking out food places and exploring the history behind them, then you have got to check out Food Crawl at the Chinatown Complex Food Centre where Tony Boey will introduce you to some of the more prominent, long-standing stalls (over 50 years old) in the area. Food isn’t included, but you can always come back if you find anything to your fancy.
3. Toa Payoh: Pay Homage to Singapore Playgrounds
Apr 21 and 22, 5:00 pm to 10:00 pm, Dragon Playground, Lorong 6 Toa Payoh. Admission is free.
The National Museum of Singapore will showcase an exhibit to pay tribute to the history of Singapore’s playgrounds. But if you’re in the Toa Payoh area, you don’t have to look too far because you can check out one of the most popular playgrounds in all of Singapore right in your neighbourhood, the Dragon Playground.
Catch exciting free events like an exhibit of vintage automobiles, an LED dragon dance performance, and movie screenings held around the 48-year old mosaic playground. If you get hungry, you can check out food stalls set up by second- and third-generation hawkers on-site.
4. Jalan Besar: Travel Back in Time to the New World Park
Apr 13 and 14, 5:00 pm – 10:30 pm, 117 to 155A Tyrwhitt Road. Admission is Free.
Many things have changed in Jalan Besar if you haven’t been in the neighbourhood for a long time. One of the bigger touristic attractions in the area, the New World Amusement Park has long been gone and the Gay/ Happy World had been converted into an open field along Geylang. However, if you want to know what the place was like back in the day, then head over to the New World Park-inspired street party in Tyrwhitt Road.
While it’s nothing like the real thing – think: cabarets, opera halls, open-air cinemas, restaurants, and boxing arenas, where prominent entertainers such as striptease queen Rose Chan and songstress Sakura Teng started their careers at, the place will stick to its entertainment roots by bringing a range of musical performances from several indie bands and artists, the retro-electronic duo NADA, and movies such as Wayang Boy and It’s a Great Great World. You can also check out the flea market which will feature items created by local craftsmen and designers.
5. Jurong: Catch an Open-Air Drive-In Cinema
Apr 6 to 8, 7:00 pm to 11:00 pm, Jurong Ton Hall, 9 Jurong Town Hall Road. Admission is free on a first-come-first-served basis. Only limited seats for walk-in guests.
Some 45+ years ago, Jurong was the place to-be when it comes to movie date nights featuring popular Hong Kong action flicks in English at the open-air drive-in cinema in Yuan Ching Road.
The Drive-in cinema is right next to the Japanese Gardens, and boasts of a whopping 900 car-parking capacity and can host around 300 people in its walk-in reception gallery.
Relive the snazzy days when you catch amazing films such as Army Daze, Chicken Rice War, and the local hit classic, They Call Her Cleopatra Wong at the drive-in cinema set up near the Jurong Town Hall.
If you want to know how to register and to get for more information regarding the festival programmes and line-ups in store at your neighbourhood, please check out the SHF’s official website.