In March we will explore another jewel of a neighbourhood, Joo Chiat, a place where Singapore’s rich multicultural heritage really comes alive. Once filled with coconut plantations and used as a weekend retreat by wealthy city dwellers, Joo Chiat developed into a laid-back residential suburb by the early 20th century.
Also famous as a district oozing Peranakan culture — which in Singapore consists mainly of a mix of the two rich cultures emanating from the marriage of early Chinese traders with Malay women — our Joo Chiat walk will explore this legacy, including the unique pre-war architecture — colourful two-story shophouses and terrace houses with ornate facades, intricate motifs and ceramic tiles.
Religion has always played a central role in the Peranakan culture; in earlier days, this was in the shape of Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism — often a blend of all 3! We will visit one of these 3-in-1 places of worship to see handcrafted, decorated paper objects, commissioned for the departed to enjoy in the spirit world as part of the rituals surrounding ancestor worship with its emphasis on filial piety.
We will also discover Christianity’s impact on the Peranakans in the form of the 1930s Bethesda Church, recently designated as a conservation building, and one of only two Christian churches offering Peranakan church services here.
For a truly Peranakan experience, we will end our walk with kueh appreciation in the company of a 4th-generation Baba (male Peranakan) who will share with us his passion and vision of how he strives to preserve his culture in the modern context of Singapore.
Our Tuesday Small-Group Discovery Walks are aimed at visitors and new Singapore residents, but we find even “old timers” learn a lot. We keep to a maximum of 10 participants and pace the walk to take our sultry climate into account — lots of water and air-con stops are included.
Please note confirmation of this tour including the exact meeting place etc will be sent via email to all those registered about 24-hours in advance; this will be preceded by a Peatix or Verlocal message to all registered.
We do need a minimum number of 6 to run these; occasionally we have to cancel due to insufficient numbers — but we try not to! (If we must, we’ll of course refund your payment.)
Please note that the cost of these tours is a little higher because we are keeping the group size small.
The quality, however, will be very high. And don’t just take it from us, here are comments from a recent Tuesday Small-Group Discovery tour:
"I would like to thank you for the tour yesterday, it’s been a wonderful morning! Your guide is amazing and so expert about history."
"I just wanted to let you know that my aunt had a brilliant time yesterday. She couldn't say enough about the tour and how great your guide was. Thanks so much! I will certainly recommend you."
"Your guide was WONDERFUL! We all enjoyed her. I'm looking forward to the next tour.”