Time to joget at Kampong Gelam

15 10 2022

It was joget time tinged with quite a fair bit of nostalgia on the front lawn of the Istana Kampong Gelam last evening during the gala opening of the MHC ClosingFest. The event also saw Guest-of-Honour, Minister of State, Ministry of Home Affairs & Ministry of National Development letting his hair down by reciting a pantun and joining in at the end of the joget session.

The opening gala is part of a series of activities being held as part of MHC ClosingFest as the MHC or Malay Heritage Centre winds down (or rather up) towards its closure at the end of October for a revamp (it is scheduled to reopen in 2025). Besides the last night’s event, a series of activities are also being held across weekends in October that will not only celebrate the legacy and milestones of MHC, which the former palace of the descendants of Sultan Hussein houses, but also celebrates of the cultures of the Nusantara, from which some members of the wider Malay community in Singapore trace their roots to.

The Bazaar Nusantara, which is being held this weekend (15/16 Oct 2022 4 to 10 pm) for example, will feature the cuisines and cultural practices of the Baweanese, Bugis and Banjarese. There will be performances of Baweanese silat and Javanese kuda kepang, as well as a keris (dagger) cleansing ritual.

More information on the activities can be found on the MHC’s Peatix page.

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The beautiful Portuguese Church in a new light

22 08 2022

There’s no better time to have a look at the newly restored St Joseph Church than during the Singapore Night Festival. Beautifully illuminated for the festival, the church, which in my opinion is one of the most beautiful churches in Singapore, is quite a sight to behold. What is especially wonderful during the night festival is that the church has been opened to the public for heritage tours and performances featuring the beautiful voice of Corrinne May and also the church’s Sacred Heart Choir.

To appreciate the beauty of the wonderfully restored interior of the church, it is also best to make a daytime visit on a sunny afternoon. That is when the church’s beautiful set of stained glass is best appreciated. The church, which closed for extensive repairs and renovation in August 2017, was reopened in time to celebrate its 110th anniversary. The second church to stand on the site, the current building was consecrated by the Bishop of Macau, Dom João Paulino Azevedo e Castro on the 30th of June 1912.

Established by the Portuguese Mission, the church catered to the Portuguese and Portuguese Eurasian community and continues to the the spiritual home of the Portuguese Eurasian community. The Portuguese Mission’s presence in Singapore can be traced back to 1825 and followed the arrival of Jose D’Almeida to Singapore on a permanent basis. Mass was initially held at Dr D’Almeida’s Beach Road house before a chapel was set up on Bras Basah Road in 1933. The mission then built a church on the current site in the 1850s. The church was for much of its history, administered by the Portuguese Diocese of Macau (and the Diocese of Goa before that). It was only in 1981, that it came under the Archdiocese of Singapore. The Bishop of Macau however, continued to appoint priests to the church until 1999.

Other posts related to St Joseph’s Church:

A one hundred year old beauty (about the church)

A look into the Portuguese Church’s beautiful Parochial House (about Parochial House, which is still being renovated)

Giving the Sacred Heart a right heart (about the restoration of the church’s stained glass in 2014)

Good Friday at the Portuguese Church (about the annual Good Friday procession)