We all love Singapore – its social diversity, economic breakthroughs, environmental developments, countless festivities and cultural bustles, and its warm and talented people. But the Singapore we know today didn’t happen overnight. In fact, like all other countries, this progressive island state has a storied history worth telling. In the coming year, we can discover and understand its rich past as we join Singapore in its celebration of its Bicentennial Commemoration.
It’s time to go down the memory lane and see how Singapore came to be and how it has thrived from its pre-1819 history. This year’s big celebration will be marking the 200th anniversary of the arrival of Sir Stamford Raffles in Singapore on 28 January, 1819. However, the year-long revelry will be a reflection of Singapore’s history before and after Sir Stamford Raffles, conveying the ever-evolving journey of the state towards the “Asian tiger” it is now.
From 28 January, everyone can expect myriad of events designed to take Singaporeans and foreign visitors on a reflective journey into the 700-year history and into its present state. The Singapore Bicentennial officially launched by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong will feature a bunch of new and exciting initiatives such as the augmented reality trail of the Singapore River and Fort Canning, where everyone will be able to see the signing of the 1819 treaty at the Padang through the new National Heritage Board and National Parks Board app. This augmented reality app will also allow users to “meet” the country’s early settlers including Sir Stamford Raffles himself.
From 28 January to 24 February, be prepared for a colourful and mesmerizing treat at iLight Singapore! A total of 32 artworks all based on the theme Bridges of Time, will be installed at Marina Bay, the Civic District, Singapore River and the Raffles Terrace. The artworks will include a representation of the Singapore Stone, a fragment of a large sandstone slab which originally stood at the mouth of the Singapore River, and humble clothing pegs, Prospegtive Perspective, exploring the expressive potential of everyday objects that recreate part of the Singapore skyline.
Also taking place from 28 January to 24 February, be sure to check out the Light to Night Festival, an urban art event that presents the milestones Singapore has taken throughout its 700-year history. The installations will include projections onto the National Gallery Singapore.
Starting 15 March, a series of projected installations will be launched around the city center every weekend until 7 April. Discover the stories of Singapore’s first migrants at Telok Ayer Street, or the story of a bustling port-town at Gelam-Rochor-Kallang, which are intended to reveal the lesser known stories of Singapore.
The highlight of the celebration – From Singapore to Singaporean: The Bicentennial Experience – will be bringing to life Singapore’s momentous evolution that had been shaped and influenced by wider regional and global shifts. Happening from 1 June to 15 September, the exhibition at Fort Canning Center will comprise an immersive, cinematic ticketed experience and a free and easy exploration through interactive pavilions within the greenery Fort Gate.
Don’t forget to check out The Future of our Pasts Festival on 16 February; Ink Mountain Exhibition until 31 March; New World, New Life Exhibition until 28 April; Raffles in Southeast Asia until 28 April; The Arrivals and Their Contributions until 31 December, and many more exciting, entertaining and educational displays everyone will surely love.
This grand commemoration is Singapore’s way of looking back, to be reminded of the many stories and the many men and women that have contributed to building the nation. Visit Singapore Bicentennial and unearth the stories from 1819 to present day that lead to the success of Singapore, making it the country it is today.
Ready to discover Singapore? Visit https://www.bicentennial.sg to check out the schedules of activities.