When Nations Remember II Presentation
More updated photos at irememberSG on Facebook.
I was offered an opportunity and privilege to speak at the "When Nations Remember II: Friends of the Singapore Memory Project" for the topic "Blogging Personal Stories to Advocating the Singapore Memory Project".
The venue was held at "The River Room, Asian Civilisation Musuem". This photo of the same building beside the Singapore River c 1937. Photo Credit: National Archives of Singapore.
Thanks to Nurulhuda Binte Subahan of SMP for preparing the Powerpoint presentation slides in ppt file and the conversion of the file format to JPG file by my friend Chew Kee Boon, I am pleased to post this postmortem presentation blog (for living people) though.
The theme of "Blog to Express: A blogosphere learning experience to express with blog".
This is an individual, personal blog.
Featured on this slide:
1. Highlight of the selected blog on "Memories of Bukit Ho Swee Fire" at the PM Lee Hsien Loong's National Day Rally 2011 .
2. Foodage traces Singapore's food history in the years since independence.
3. "How a Nation Rebuilt itself - Overcoming the Bukit Ho Swee Tragedy: James Seah" blog submitted to irememberSG here .
4. "I grew up in Bukit Ho Swee" group on Facebook created the first post on 10 February, 2008.
The March of Time - Book IV - Makers of our Modern World [Hardcover]by E.C.T. Horniblow (Author), J.J. Sullivan (Author), J.R. Burgess (Illustrator). Published by The Grant Educational Co. Ltd. (Found this from a search on amazon.co.uk through Google).
With lack of my interest in history about the British Empire, Greece, the kings and queens, the emperors and empress of faraway lands. The only exception was the chapter on "Conquer of Rome" by Romulus and Remus, the Rome's twin founders in its traditional foundation myth. The only curious part of the story in the history textbook about a she-wolf found them and suckled them. A shepherd and his wife then fostered them and raised them to manhood as shepherds which interested me in the legend.
I became interested in other school subjects mentioned about the foundings of Singapore and places where I grew up in Singapore...Singapore memories, not foreign memories. To be related only to my present life in Singapore, I thought.
My first blog on "Blog to Express" on 7 October, 2007 to post the topic Why Blog? .
The "One Way Ticket to the Singapore River" blog is linked to "Sharing by Memory Corps" here to avoid repetition on the blog.
In the "Tanjong Pagar - Blog the Walk" blog here , I described my first government service job at the Maxwell Road Outpatient Clinic, Ministry of Health at Kadanayallur Street.
The clinic was just beside the heritage building with many rented rooms in Chinatown in the 1940s. What an affinity to work at a place where my father once stayed where he migrated to Singapore. He could then have many Singapore memories to share his personal thoughts on the blog with me.
[This olden building at the junction of Erskine Road and Ann Siang Road has a personal history related to me as a young boy many years ago. While he was still alive and we went for dinner at Chinatown, my late father pointed at this building and said: "When I left Quemoy, China in a little boat at Boat Quay in the 1930s, I rented a tiny shared room with a few co-workers in this building".]
This buiding was renovated with the external architecture and structure retained under URA conservation program to be converted into the current Scarlet Hotel. This is a place of Singapore memory which my father had passed to me.
Unfortunately, very few stories of Chinatown in the early days of Singapore were told to me by my father, after landing at Boat Quay for a last ticket by boat from China here .
James with father, elder brother (back left) and a cousin from Brunei.
From my contemporaries and the few childhood friends at Bukit Ho Swee kampong I have contacted, they have little time to tell their grandchildren and great grandchildren the stories of the place where they grew up. Sadly, there are fewer of my "street urchins of Bukit Ho Swee" friends to miss over the years. Its a matter of time for me to go too.
For as long as I could find time and I could share in any small ways I can to carry on the mission of Singapore Memory Project with my friends of Memory Corps. Every contribution by friends of MC in SMP counts, from generations to generations.
As spoken by Dr Yaacob Ibrahim in his speech: "The SMP is not just about building a database of memories or stories. Each memory helps to add to the collective that enriches our understanding and experience of our past".
Excerpted from irememberSG on Facebook:
Life is a series of lived memories.The stories of our elders could be submitted through proxy blogs by their children, grandchildren, great grandchildren and other family members.
The Singapore story is not simply a tale of one city's rise from third-world to first, but is also one that is enriched by each one of us and our uniques experiences, irememberSG hopes to share these stories, relive these memories and retrace the steps trodden by people who have experienced Singapore.
In primary school in 1950s, I read a fiction book "Rip Van Winkle" by American author Washington Irving.
Irving locked himself in his room and wrote non-stop all night. As he said, he felt like a man waking from a long sleep.
If we were to have a "Rip Van Winkle" who slept in Singapore in 1965 and awake now in 2011, what sort of memories for this place, different times and different experiences and journeys for him to share with us.