Our Jubilee Walk

Our Jubilee Walk

The Jubilee Walk took off at the tail end of Singapore’s Golden Jubilee year. The 8-km-long trail leads participants to iconic sites and historic monuments based in the Civic District and Marina Bay precinct. It was paired with the launch of the SG50 Jubilee Big Walk on 29 November 2015 morning, which saw some 25,000 walkers covering a shortened 5-km route.

Jubilee Walk is an inter-agency collaborative effort involving the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth, National Heritage Board, National Parks Board and the Urban Redevelopment Authority. It commemorates our 50th anniversary of independence and revisits historical milestones of our nation-building. A positive upshot is that it encourages a spontaneous walk to soak in often overlooked sights and sounds in the city centre – many of them took root decades or even a century ago.

Jubilee Walk was launched at the National Museum of Singapore, the conceivable centrepiece of the Bras Basah.Bugis precinct. It is only one a few conserved buildings to still serve its original intended function. Opened in 1887 as the Raffles Library and Museum, it is today the National Museum of Singapore, one of the key custodians of our national history.

Jubilee Walk was launched at the National Museum of Singapore, the grand centrepiece of the Bras Basah.Bugis precinct. It is only one of few conserved buildings to still serve its intended function. Opened in 1887 as the Raffles Library and Museum, it is today the National Museum of Singapore, one of the key custodians of our national history.

A stone’s throw away from the National Museum is the Peranakan Museum, a museum dedicated to showcasing the Peranakan heritage and culture. Unlike the former, the Peranakan Museum was repurposed from the former Tao Nan School, one of the oldest Chinese schools in Singapore.

A stone’s throw away from the National Museum is the Peranakan Museum, a museum dedicated to showcasing the Peranakan heritage and culture. Unlike the former, the Peranakan Museum was repurposed from the former Tao Nan School, one of the oldest Chinese schools in Singapore.

The latest institution to open and the new crown jewel of the Padang is the National Gallery of Singapore, which houses the largest collection of modern art in Singapore and Southeast Asia. The gallery is housed in two national monuments, the former Supreme Court and City Hall – the latter a notable historic site that witnessed events like the Japanese Surrender and the swearing-in of our first Yang di-Pertuan Negara Yusof bin Ishak and first Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew.

The latest institution to open and the new crown jewel of the Padang is the National Gallery Singapore, which houses the largest collection of modern art in Singapore and Southeast Asia. The gallery is housed in two national monuments, the former Supreme Court and City Hall – the latter a notable historic site that witnessed events like the Japanese Surrender and the swearing-in of our first Yang di-Pertuan Negara Yusof bin Ishak and first Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew.

The establishment-led Jubilee Walk should be lauded for encouraging citizens to explore their living environment. This sense of journeying and spatial awareness should be adopted and applied in our respective neighbourhoods and housing estates, from the bird-singing corners, void decks to the wet markets and playgrounds, to name a few. For the less initiated, there are handy community or ground-level initiatives led by societies and individuals that help us explore and appreciate our living environment.

The Armenian Church of Saint Gregory, Singapore’s oldest church, is the true embodiment of community effort. The Armenians contributed significantly to Singapore – from establishing the resplendent Raffles Hotel, to co-creating the Straits Times and to creating our national flower, the Vanda Miss Joaquim. On the church grounds is a memorial garden where tombstones of prominent Armenians can be found, like that of Agnes Joaquim, our national flower creator.

The Armenian Church of Saint Gregory, Singapore’s oldest church, is the true embodiment of community effort. The Armenians contributed significantly to Singapore – from establishing the resplendent Raffles Hotel, to co-creating the Straits Times and to creating our national flower, the Vanda Miss Joaquim. On the church grounds is a memorial garden where tombstones of prominent Armenians can be found, like that of Agnes Joaquim, our national flower creator.

This building served many houses before it became the Arts House. It was first built as a residential house for John Argyle Maxwell in 1827, and became a courthouse, Assembly House, and Parliament House. It finally became the multi-disciplinary arts centre, Arts House, in 2004.

This building served many houses before it became the Arts House. It was first built as a residential house for John Argyle Maxwell in 1827, and became a courthouse, Assembly House, and Parliament House. It finally became the multi-disciplinary arts centre, Arts House, in 2004.

The Victoria Theatre and Concert Hall, which reopened in 2014, are not only the oldest buildings around. They were also the sites to some of the most monumental events in Singapore history: a town hall in 1862, a memorial for Queen Elizabeth, a hospital during the Japanese Occupation, a trial court for war crimes, the launch of the People’s Action Party, the first public performance of Zubir Said’s Majulah Singapura, and the launch of Singapore’s first television station, Television Singapura.

The Victoria Theatre and Concert Hall, which reopened in 2014, are not only the oldest buildings around. They were also the sites to some of the most monumental events in Singapore history: a town hall in 1862, a memorial for Queen Elizabeth, a hospital during the Japanese Occupation, a trial court for war crimes, the launch of the People’s Action Party, the first public performance of Zubir Said’s Majulah Singapura, and the launch of Singapore’s first television station, Television Singapura.

On the establishment front, the National Heritage Board and Urban Redevelopment Authority have championed heritage trails and published comprehensive thematic and neighbourhood trail booklets. Their booklets for the likes of Ang Mo Kio, Chinatown and Yishun are downloadable and mobile-friendly.

Societies and individuals have also pulled their weight in urging public appreciation of our living environment. Singapore Heritage Society is a vital heritage advocate. Civic group My Community has created informative trails of Queenstown and neighbouring estates complete with monthly tours led by volunteer guides. The Tiong Bahru Heritage Volunteers have also steadfastly conducted weekly tours of Tiong Bahru.

Geylang Adventures challenges place and enclave stereotypes with their tours and community initiatives while Jalan Medha infiltrates the smaller neighbourhoods with cosy yet informative tours. There are even mobile applications like JalanJalan.sg, which enable mobile users to discover historical landmarks in proximity to their current location using GPS technology. There truly is something for everyone.

The Lim Bo Seng Memorial, dedicated to war hero Lim Bo Seng, is among several memorials at the Esplanade Park that include the Cenotaph and the Tan Kim Seng Fountain. The Civilian War Memorial is also in the vicinity.

The Lim Bo Seng Memorial, dedicated to war hero Lim Bo Seng, is among several memorials at the Esplanade Park that include the Cenotaph and the Tan Kim Seng Fountain. The Civilian War Memorial is also in the vicinity.

Progressively modern buildings are part of the Jubilee Walk sights. The Esplanade has become an iconic Marina Bay precinct sight. Our de facto national performing arts centre should be extoled for making the arts accessible, running approximately 3000 programmes a year with 70% of them non-ticketed.

Progressively modern buildings are part of the Jubilee Walk sights. The Esplanade has become an iconic Marina Bay precinct sight. Our de facto national performing arts centre should be extolled for making the arts accessible – running approximately 3000 programmes a year with 70% of them non-ticketed.

Singapore’s most famous export, the Merlion, guards the entrance to the Singapore River. The design brainchild of a Van Kleef Aquarium curator, the Merlion is a masterpiece by local sculptor Lim Nang Seng. Lim has also done several public art work like the Dancing Girl sculpture in Tiong Bahru estate.

Singapore’s most famous export, the Merlion, guards the entrance to the Singapore River. The design brainchild of a Van Kleef Aquarium curator, the Merlion is a masterpiece by local sculptor Lim Nang Seng. Lim has also done several public art work like the Dancing Girl sculpture in Tiong Bahru estate.

If skyscrapers, conserved monuments and tourist destinations are indicators of our nationhood journey, then the neighbourhoods and estates are the heart and soul of our nation. They are where we live and play. Establishments can begin the dialogue on the arts and culture, but we should bring this conversation home to our family, friends and neighbours. Be it Bedok, Jurong or Toa Payoh, we can do the Jubilee Walk anywhere, anytime.

How do we go forward from 2015? We keep walking of course.

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