Search This Blog

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Opening ceremony of “Stories Behind Singapore Streets” Exhibition

I received the following invitation some weeks back and attended the opening event today:

If you visit the webpage at you will get some information on “Stories Behind Singapore Streets” Exhibition 12 January ­– 29 June 2012, 10.00 am – 9.00 pm Promenades, Levels 7 & 8, National Library Building:

"Street names not only help us navigate our way around Singapore... they also yield interesting information about our country’s history, geography, politics, heritage and culture. Much of Singapore’s history is reflected through the names of places and streets that we see every day. Join us as we take you on a journey through Singapore’s changing landscape and discover the stories behind some of the names of Singapore’s streets. Check out Go Library for more related programmes. "

Channel New Asia at has the following details:

"SINGAPORE: An exhibition showcasing the origins of local street names and Singapore's street naming conventions has been launched.

The "Stories Behind Singapore Streets" at the National Library also highlights stories about people, their lives and achievements, and roles they played in making Singapore what it is today.

The National Library says the exhibition aims to create a greater awareness of Singapore's early history, journey through nation building and unique multicultural heritage.

It also traces the history of Singapore through the street naming conventions from the pre-colonial era to modern day Singapore.

More than 100 street names are featured, such as during the 14th and 15th century, pre-Raffles Singapore, the Raffles Town Plan and the post-colonial period after Singapore's independence in 1965.

The different categories of street names, such as descriptive street names, those dedicated to prominent people, streets named after local personalities and street names reflecting the imprint of British colonialism, are featured.

For instance, the Raffles Town Plan, one of the key exhibits, depicts the urban plan of Singapore according to Sir Stamford Raffles' instructions.

The exhibition displays maps, photographs and old street signs from the National Library's donor collections and materials from supporting partners.

Highlights include the National Library's legal documents and maps from the Koh Seow Chuan collection, PictureSG1's photographs of street scenes of early Singapore from the Lee Kip Lin collection, and a video on ten unusual street names such as Kay Poh Road, Rotan Lane and One Tree Hill.

To reach out to more Singaporeans, three roving exhibitions will be held at the Woodlands Regional Library, Marine Parade Public Library and Jurong West Public Library, from June 30 to September 30, 2012.

In addition, the National Library will also organise a talk on street names, learning journeys, a guided tour of the exhibition and the Curator's Walk which covers Toponymics, the study of street and place names in January and February 2012.

National Library Board's CEO Elaine Ng said: "I hope that Singaporeans will enjoy learning about history and heritage through the evolution of our street names. We are also conducting guided tours of the exhibition for students and community groups, and learning journeys to areas such as Chinatown and the Civic District over the next few months."

Admission to the "Stories Behind Singapore Streets" exhibition is free. It is located at the Promenade, Levels 7 and 8 of the National Library Building and will run for six months from January 11 to June 29, 2012, from 10am to 9pm daily, except on public holidays. - CNA/fa"

Source of information:

Personally, I am very much impressed by the way this exhibition is designed.  The contents are well-categorised and the use of life-size street name plates allows viewers to navigate and learn about the stories behind them with ease.
Some of the old streets' photograph was displayed side-by-side with the present one showing the changes of the landscape. The group of new photographs of the street scene were retaken at the same spot by Mr Char Lee.  I like his work as it is a great job done with lots of patience!  Many viewers were delighted when they are able to match, recall and retrieve their own memory with the help of these visual aids .

I like the multi-tier layout with the three dimensional and built-in structure used throughout the whole exhibition.  It helps viewers to navigate in and out of their memory lane.  We have the sense of walking around the "Streets" in this small "Town-like" landscape! 

I think this exhibition definitely created an impact in many a viewers' mind!

Here are some of the photos we took to mark the day: 

*Photo with some of the Singapore memory agents and Mr Lui Tuck Yew, Minister for Transport and Second Minister for Foreign Affairs

Standing from left to right:
Mrs Elaine Ng, Ms, Ms S Zahra Aljunied, Ms Belinda Tan, Mr Lui Tuck Yew, Mr James Seah, Mr Philip Chew, Mr T C Lai, Mr Lam Chun See and Mr Yeo Hong Eng.
First row from left to right:
Ms Ngian Lek Choh, Dexterine Ho and Mr Peter Chan

* Photos taken at the exhibition hall

This article is revised on 16 Jan 2012 with the group photo added from Facebook, courtesy of Belinda Tan.

Dexterine Ho Soo Miang

1 comment:

Thimbuktu said...

Thank you for the updated blog on "Stories Behind Singapore Streets" to invite everyone to visit the public exhibition at National Library Building.

In the current series of "Ways Done in the Past" blog theme, please take a look at exhibition here in the 1950s.