Meet Our Guides
Photos by Alain Schneuwly
Shanti Bhattacharya +
Shanti Bhattacharya is a Singapore Tourist Board Licensed Guide in English, French, and Russian.
Shanti was born and grew up in Singapore in the 70s, worked in Paris for H.E. Mr David Marshall in the 90s and following that, lived 20 years in Moscow during the heady days of glasnost and perestroika!
During her time in Paris and Moscow, she organised and conducted various cultural and walking tours, raised funds for orphanages and hospitals by organising bazaars involving up to 130 foreign embassies and holding ex-co positions in various Women's Groups like International Women's Club and Asia-Pacific Women's Group.
In 1985, Shanti set up and managed the Peranakan Museum in Emerald Hill Road where she worked for several years. During this time, she also performed in Peranakan themed stage shows and theatre.
She is back in Singapore seeing her son through National Service and makes regular trips to Moscow where her husband still lives and works.
In addition to English, French, and Russian, she is also fluent in Bengali and Malay.
Catalina Tong +
A trilingual cat, Catalina Tong has a warm persona and is passionate about guiding both indoor (yes she guides in 3 different museums including the brand new Natural History Museum) and outdoor (Pulau Ubin has a special place in her heart).
She is the consummate storyteller that goes the extra mile. She trawls far and wide for amazing anecdotes and her strength is her depth of research to bring out the best tales. She is also an animal lover and bird whisperer at times.
Bubbly, smiley especially when it comes to all things about heritage, culture, and food. Yes, she is a Foodie - loves to eat and loves to cook too! To her, Singapore is truly a foodie haven where food is celebrated from street food to the Michelin-starred restaurants.
She has lived half her life in Singapore and half overseas. A global citizen but her heart is here in Singapore.
She has an amazing depth of knowledge about our beautiful city and will enjoy being your ‘ambassador’ when you are in town.
She is fluent in English, French, Cantonese and speaks good mandarin.
Bruce Bird +
Bruce Bird’s first visit to Singapore was in 1968 as a young Australian Naval officer on his first warship. He spent some 25 years in the Navy and an equal amount of time in private enterprise.
Bruce’s other roles have included being the Assistant Defence Adviser to Singapore and Brunei, where he also dual-hatted as the Royal Australian Navy Liaison Officer in Singapore. In this role he was responsible for the resupply of visiting Australian warships.
But his dream over all those years was to become a Singapore Tour Guide and he is delighted to have recently achieved this goal!
Nowadays his main objective is to work with people – whether they be Singaporeans, expats, or visitors - who are interested in learning about Singapore’s history, both general and military.
Bruce also has a NATAS qualification, which allows him to take tour groups from Singapore to other countries all around the world. He speaks Australian - & English!
Wan Ling +
Wan Ling is a nature guide who enjoys sharing her knowledge of plants and animals with anyone who is willing to listen to her.
As an IT engineer with a Japanese MNC, she used to spend her weekends outdoors with her birding friends. The advent of digital photography allowed her to combine this with birding, increasing the opportunities for her to observe nature.
She is an active volunteer guide with the National Parks Board and guides at various parks and nature reserves.
Her favourite haunt is Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve. When she is not guiding, you may find her at one of the platforms at Sungei Buloh watching the world (birds) go by.
Wan Ling speaks English, Mandarin and Cantonese, and is conversant in Japanese.
Pavla Schneuwly +
Growing up in Czechoslovakia, Pavla set out to discover the world as soon as the Berlin wall collapsed, and at 22 she came to Singapore to study Mandarin. Her years living, studying and working in different countries plus her 2 “Third culture” children born to her and her Swiss / French husband, have given her a broad understanding and appreciation for diversity.
After learning the art of tour guiding as a volunteer guide in the National Museum of Singapore & Malay Heritage Centre, Pavla reinvented herself as a professional tour guide to share her passion for her Little Red Dot island of a home.
With an interest in history, culture, architecture and languages, she loves connecting the cultural dots. Pavla’s caring & positive attitude ensures she easily relates to people with different backgrounds and walks of life.
Pavla speaks English, French, Mandarin and Czech.
Licensed Singapore Tourist Guide Certified Docent at National Museum of Singapore & Malay Heritage Centre
Pat Tan +
Janet Patricia Tan is an experienced local guide whose different cultural backgrounds make her quite unique.
Her paternal grandmother was an Eurasian (Dutch and Indonesian) and her grandfather a Baba (Straits born Chinese ). She grew up with so many customs and traditions that she is what is locally known as a "rojak" - a tasty mixed salad of fruits and vegetables!
She has lived, worked and played in the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and Europe before settling back in Singapore a few years ago. She has re-licensed as a tour guide which enables her to share her passion for heritage, culture - & food!
Pat speaks English, Malay, Hokkien and Italian.
Callie Tan +
Whether she’s sharing inside knowledge on historical buildings or stories behind a place or artwork, Callie has spent many happy hours enlivening the Singapore experience for visitors and locals alike.
Callie is also actively involved in conducting art tours and sharing the Southeast Asian visual art scene.
She is fluent in English and conversant in Mandarin.
Jimmy Sim +
Jimmy has been a Tourist Guide for the past 40 years, i.e. he was virtually born to it!
He enjoys going off the beaten track to explore Singapore's nooks and crannies and is both particularly fascinated by & knowledgeable about the country's World War 2 history.
Being Singaporean, he is of course an obsessive foodie and is always looking for great new places to "makan".
In his free time, he loves to explore other countries around South East Asia & discovering the rich culture and heritage of the region.
In addition to English, he speaks Malay.
Betty Wee +
Betty Wee’s early retirement provided an opportunity of a more than three-year stint as a volunteer in Israel. While there, she did pit-stop vacations in Europe where her curiosity for tour guiding was sparked.
On her return to her native Singapore, she stumbled upon guiding at the Museums and she is presently on a roller-coaster ride discovering hidden stories all over. Whether in the museums or out on the streets of Singapore, whether related to nature, culture, or heritage, she is finding stories just waiting to be discovered, and to be told.
Her enthusiasm & energy are boundless & was recognized in 2010 when she was an Active-Ager Awardee, due to her active volunteerism.
An avid walker and jogger, she enjoys exploring both new and old places and takes joy in the natural beauty of her surroundings - in their many forms! She loves to wander the streets of the rich historical neighbourhoods of our island, and is at the same time fascinated by the gentrification taking place in so many places.
Gek Lee +
Gek belongs to Singapore’s baby-boomer era. She was born in a house in the notorious Jalan Besar area, spent her growing up years in Little India where she learnt how to count 1 to 10 in Tamil from her Indian friends next door with whom she played and fought with in the back alley, was schooled in a Christian mission school and spent most of her adult working life in a government ministry. In 2012, she decided to retire herself early for a more leisurely life.
Five years on, she finds her plate full with her docent duties in different museums and galleries, as well as the various tour guiding assignments she undertakes on a free-lance basis. She is passionate about Singapore and always ready to share about this little red dot’s past, present and future. So when not guiding, she is likely burrowed deep in her readings and research, or out looking for interesting spots to explore, or learning from others about heritage, history, culture, and all-things-Singapore. And she is loving every minute of it.
Her language skills include English, Mandarin, Teochew, Hokkien, Cantonese… and of course, she has not forgotten her 1 to 10 in Tamil
Alice Goh +
I’m second generation Singaporean & passionate when it comes to food!
I love to eat and like to find out what ingredients are found in each dish and also the method of preparation. I also love to travel to different countries to try out local cuisines.
I’m fairly new at tour guiding tho experienced in tour leading as my late husband used to conduct driving holidays to Malaysia and Thailand.
I work with a Social Enterprise that provides job opportunities to Persons with Special Needs. I also love gardening and volunteer with the Fort Canning Spice Garden as well as at Gardens by the Bay.
I speak Mandarin and several local dialects (Teochew, Hokkien, Cantonese)
Edward Lim +
Ed was born & bred in Singapore and has lived here all his life, except for 4 years living in West Berlin in Germany before the fall of the Wall.
He was a Sales & Marketing person for many years supplying Medical, Technical & Scientific Instruments to Hospitals, Universities & High-Tech companies in Singapore. He left Marketing in 1998 for a less stressful profession, and to follow up on an interest in Nature as he had always been curious about this world. Since then, he has completed a great deal of self-studies & attended numerous talks, lectures & presentations on Flora & Fauna and still does so today. He has also visited many important mangroves & rainforests in S.E.Asia to learn about their importance to our fragile environment.
Gained his STB license in Jan 2000 and is a general as well as a specialist nature Guide registered with STB, as well as a volunteer nature guide with National Parks.
Ed speaks English, German, dialects & some Malay & Thai.