The Singapore Heritage Festival 2016 was recently concluded on 15th May 2016, over a three weeks period starting on 29th April 2016. The heritage festival 2016 was packed with events, exhibitions, workshops, performances, guided tours, talks etc. I wasn’t able to attend all of them and I was only able to visit the weekend highlights on 29th April and 30th April – A Taste of Heritage at the National Museum of Singapore, on 14th May 2016, Movies Under the Ubin Stars and Music Performances @ Ubin.

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For the two Singapore Heritage Festival events that I attended, they attracted quite a big group of visitors to the event. The Taste of Heritage was really great, bringing back the food stalls that once plied their food and trade outside the National Museum of Singapore. Their popularity can be seen from the steady lines of queue for the various food stalls. Visitors at the National Museum of Singapore were treated to traditional dance performances under the stars, with strings of colourful light bulbs providing the glamorous fun night out. I would really love to buy some of those food from the stalls during A Taste of Heritage, sit on the wooden stools/benches and enjoy a night out under the city star lights. However, it was too popular and quite packed for me to buy the food and a seat under the Singapore night sky. Nevertheless, it was a great nostalgic atmosphere that I really enjoyed.

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During Singapore Heritage Festival 2016, P. Ubin played a significant role, with the island involved to be part of the Singapore Heritage festivities during 14th and 15th May 2016. During that weekend, it was an awesome opportunity for those who don’t know much about P. Ubin to visit the little island off the north-east area of Singapore and learn from the various activities and events organised for Singapore Heritage Festival 2016.

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The highlight for me was Movies Under the Ubin Stars and Music Performances @ Ubin on 14th May 2016. I went over in the late afternoon, catching the music performances @ Ubin by a few young upcoming and also some established musicians too. During the intervals, I walked around the main village area, this area seemed to have stopped in time, most of them were pretty much still in their original design and decoration. I first visited P.Ubin in 1990 during my secondary school days, while some other parts of P.Ubin had changed (quite a lot for some parts of Ubin), the main village still remains iconic and nostalgic.

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As dusk approaches, the wayang stage and the open area there came to life with visitors and the Ubin residents gathering there like the good old days watching an opera performance, except that we were watching a movie by Royston Tan, tittled “Homecoming”, a new film about Pulau Ubin by Royston Tan (world premiere). This new film is commissioned by the National Museum of Singapore for Singapore Heritage Festival 2016.

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The settings were perfect, the venue was perfect to show the “Homecoming” movie, truly and authentic, Movies Under the Ubin Stars! The P. Ubin weather was just nice in the night, cooling, refreshing after the late afternoon rain. The visitors and Ubin residents were eagerly anticipating for the start of “Homecoming”, it meant something deep down, deep inside their hearts, it meant something special to the Ubin residents and it definitely struck a deep chord inside me. “Homecoming” connects the residents to their Ubin roots and Singaporeans to the history and heritage of P.Ubin and how P.Ubin played a part in Singapore’s early nation building years. When I was watching the movie from the back of the crowds, my friend Belinda introduced me to Royston Tan! I am a big fan of his works and it was a great honour to meet him in person!

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When the movie “Homecoming” was being screened, we can hear the crowds shouting out their fellow Ubin residents’ names when their acting part came into play, acknowledging the community spirit and bonding on P.Ubin. Do we still have this community spirit and bonding in the modern Singapore society today? Would we able to bring this “Homecoming” back into our modern Singapore society?

As the movie drew to a close, the lights came up again, with a huge, loud and warm round of applause filled the Ubin village ground. This was really heartwarming! The cast and crew of “Homecoming” went up to the wayang stage, it’s like a meet the fans segment! The photography moments, taking group photos, celebrating the history and heritage of Pulau Ubin.

Leaving on the bumboat ride out of P.Ubin, on the night of 14th May 2016, this had been a great and wonderful Singapore Heritage Festival 2016, this was Homecoming to me.


Created with flickr slideshow.