Saturday, October 10, 2015

The National Museum of Singapore - Modern Colony

The Modern Colony gallery shows the progressive world of women in the late 1920s and 30s. Clothes were less prohibitive as shown by the display of mannequins in beautiful dresses with creative interpretations of the traditional Chinese qipao made this era particularly romantic.  Girls were progressively given education and women could become financially independent.

I was pleasantly surprised to see my old school Singapore Chinese Girls' School featured in the exhibits. SCGS was started in 1899 and was the first school initiated by a local  education reform movement to educate ladies ( in contrast to foreign/missionary effort ) headed by Song Ong Siang and Dr Lim Boon Keng, two gentlemen of the Straits Chinese community. Both gentlemen were Queen's scholars and Song Ong Siang was the first Chinese in Malaya to be knighted in Britain for his contribution to society.

National Museum of Singapore 
93 Stamford Road
10-7 pm daily
Admission : Free for Singaporeans and permanent residents (SG50 year)
$10 adults and $5 students and seniors aged 60 and above 

Before 1929, the girls at the Singapore Chinese Girls' School wore sarong kebaya or baju panjang to school ( as seen in the picture in the background ) .The first uniform was introduced in 1929 but the SCGS girls were teased by girls at other schools who called them  "amahs"  (domestic servants)  and rickshaw pullers as the uniform resembled the working attire of these people.  

Mr and Mrs Song Ong Siang 

          The glamorous side of society back in the 1920s and 30s when Singapore was a British crown colony

Grooming accessories of a bygone era

The evolution of women's shoes. From little shoes made for bounded feet (middle) to luxurious ones in gold and silver threads

Shoes made for elegant dancing parties in the 1930s

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