Going back in time to a few years back, I can’t remember when and where I met this bloke, he’s very friendly and nice. His name is Alvin Yapp and he’s the owner of a private museum in Singapore, the Intan, preserving and celebrating everything Peranakan. This is my heartfelt story of an exquisite Peranakan experience at the Intan.
How I met Alvin was most likely to be a museum event, I was introduced by Belinda, the great connector and networker. “Come and visit the Intan!” Alvin said to me. “Alright, sure!” I replied to Alvin. Fast forward to 16th June 2019, I finally visited the Intan! I had one of my most memorable visit to a museum here in Singapore, an exquisite Peranakan Experience at the Intan. Let me bring you through on my story of learning and exploring up close and personal Peranakan history, heritage and culture at the Intan with Alvin Yapp.
I joined a scheduled Intan Tea Tour with two other visitors from overseas, along with another family based in Singapore, on a Saturday morning. The Intan attracts both local and international visitors. The tour took about an hour, starting with a brief history on the origins of Peranakan history, heritage and culture by Alvin. Thereafter, he brought us around a tour of his Peranakan museum on the ground floor, telling the stories, the origin and history behind them.
On the second floor, there are even more Peranakan treasures! Prior to going up, Alvin kindly requested “No photography is allowed to be taken on the second floor”. We respected his privacy and request, no questions asked. Oh, what are the type of Peranakan treasures and collection on the second floor? I would like to keep this a suspense, for you to visit the Intan and discover them for yourself!
Upon finishing the tour, we went back down to the ground floor, sat down, had tea, delicious Nonya kueh and continued chatting with Alvin, listening to his stories. As the other visitors left, I stayed behind for a bit longer, preparing for the second half of my exquisite Peranakan experience. While chatting with Alvin, he shared this with me, “Every piece of Peranakan artefact inside the Intan has a story behind it.” I was curious, wanting to learn and understand more about Intan.
Me: When and how did the Intan get started?
Alvin: The Intan is sometimes referred to as an ‘Accidental Museum’ I started collecting Peranakan antiques to learn about my own culture. When I had my own apartment, visitors were keen to visit me to view and learn about P culture. We eventually registered ourselves at The Intan in 2006, and NHB appointed The Intan as a member of the museum roundtable association in 2010.
Me: What are some of your favourite Peranakan collections and what are some of the stories behind them?
Alvin: Each piece has it’s own story. My first piece is a humble planter’s chair. I got it from a garage sale by using my Dad’s station wagon. Another piece that is special to me would be a pair of beaded slippers that my g’ma gave to my mum. I always say….everything else, money can buy. Heirloom pieces are priceless.
Me: What makes the Intan so special and unique?
Alvin: Everything 🙂 Here are some things we keep hearing from our guests
- Am surprised that the owner still lives in the house
- Special to visit a ‘house’ museum where we can interact and engage with the owner/collector himself.
- It’s a living museum
- Very experiential where we can ask all the questions we want
- You can also check out Tripadvisor reviews….wat travelers’ say about The intan is extremely interesting!
There were stories on some of the Peranakan collections, some were heart warming, some heart wrenching when I heard it from Alvin, while looking at the Peranakan collections, I was amazed, touched and enlightened by them. That is the exquisite Peranakan experience that I am talking about earlier, only at the Intan, surrounded by a vast and wide collection of Peranakan history, heritage, culture, conservation and preservation, through the private stories, heart, mind, soul and amazing passion of Alvin Yapp, the owner of the Intan.
The Intan is not a big museum by floor size, it is a “huge” museum by the diversity of Peranakan culture packed inside there, filled with such a rich Peranakan history, heritage, culture, stories behind them and a level of passion unparalleled by the private museum owner Alvin Yapp. This is definitely one of the best private museum in Singapore, in my personal humble opinion.
I would like to invite you to book a visit to the Intan, go for your own exquisite Peranakan experience adventure! Thank you Intan, thank you Alvin, for this memorable exquisite Peranakan Experience!
<A TGH Photography x Canon EOS RP Explorer series production>
Information on the Intan
Address: 69 Joo Chiat Terrace, Singapore 427231
Telephone: +65 6440 1148
Important! Take note!
The Intan is a private Peranakan Museum. Please be kindly reminded that visits to the Intan are STRICTLY by appointments only! Book your Intan tour here on their website!
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/TheIntanSG/
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