Singapura: 700 Years Exhibition At The National Museum Of Singapore

After visiting the Lee Kuan Yew memorial exhibition on level 2 of the National Museum, I proceeded to the basement to visit yet another exhibition - Singapura: 700 Years.

History is one of my favorite subject in school so how could I miss it?

I studied South East Asia history in school and I would like to attribute my keen interest in the subject to my history teacher, Ms Lau Gek Moi who managed to make her lessons unboring.

Entering the gallery, I was thrown back into the pre-Colonial days when the then Temasek was still a Sultanate. Bit by bit, like fragments of a long forgotten memory, the story of Parameswara and the invasion from the Majapahit Kingdom all came flooding back.

Yes, Singapore began as a Malay fishing village ruled by Sultans. According to the Sejarah Melayu, Temasek was an uninhabited island until Sri Tri Buana decided to settle there around 1299.

Sri Tri Buana
Princely descendent of
Alexander the Great
Founded Singapura
Ruled for 48 years
Sri Pikrama Wira
Elder son of 
Sri Tri Buana
Fended off an attack by Majapahit forces
Ruled for 15 years
Sri Rana Wikerma
Son of 
Sri Pikrama Wira
Badang was his war chief
Ruled for 13 years
Paduka Sri Maharaja
Son of 
Sri Rana Wikerma
Killed the boy who defended Singapura against a Swordfish attack
Ruled for 12 years 06 months
Sri Sultan Iskandar Shah
Son of 
Paduka Sri Maharaja
Betrayed by his treasury officer in revenge for humilitating his daughter
Majapahit forces attacked Singapura
Ruled for 03 years

During the 1800s, the British arrived.

Singapore was colonized and turned into a bustling port. 

A diorama depicting a view of Commercial Square in the 1850s

All along, I have thought that "Keling" was a generic derogatory term to call the Indian/Tamils

In 1942, the Japanese Forces forced their way into our homeland. General Percival surrendered to General Yamashita at the Ford Factory thus began our darkest history.

A Japanese language guided tour for some Japanese ladies. I wonder what went on in their mind as they learnt about the atrocities committed by Japan during the Japanese Occupation.

Ration card to purchase cooking oil

Operation Sook Ching

This is a diorama depicting Japanese soldiers screening Chinese men during the Japanese Occupation in Singapore. From 21 February to 04 March 1942, the Japanese carried out Operation Sook Ching to weed out anti-Japanese elements among the Chinese community.

In 1966, the Japanese government agreed to pay $50 million in compensation. Part of this compensation money was used to fund the building of the Civilian War Memorial in Beach Road.

After the Japanese Occupation ended, the people began to rebuild their lives and homeland. I believe this is where Mr Lee Kuan Yew and his political life came in in the history of Singapore.

This diorama shows the issue of the merger with the Federation being discussed on the streets of Singapore.

Who do you think this person resembles?

On 09 August 1965, Singapore was kicked out of Malaysia.  

Unemployment, poverty and unsanitary living conditions needed immediate solutions. Those were tumultuous times but under the leadership of Lee Kuan Yew, HDBs were built - we had a roof over our heads and our standard of living improved. 

A living room setup of a typical  HDB flat in the 1970s

Sierra 222 CTV 26 Television console clad in hardwood frame

We may be a relatively young nation but we have definitely come a long way. Do visit Singapura: 700 Years exhibition at the National Museum Of Singapore if you are interested to learn more about our nation building.

This exhibition is held at galleries 1 and 2 at the basement of the National Museum from 10am to 6pm daily. The exhibition is from now till 10 August 2015.

Admission is free for citizens and PRs. Admission fee is applicable for international visitors.

93 Stamford Road
Singapore 178897

(+65) 6332 3659 / (+65) 6332 5642

Opening Hours:
10am - 6pm daily
Last admission at 5.30pm

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