This word, “Bugis”, what comes into your mind? For the local Singaporeans and overseas visitors, the first thing that comes to their mind would most probably be Bugis Junction, Bugis MRT station or Bugis Village. Yet behind these few known names and locations in both local and international visitors, do you know about the history, heritage, cultural and economics that the Bugis community brought into Singapore, the influence and outreach that shaped the Bugis community and presence in today’s modern Singapore society?
Sirri na Pesse, loosely translated into “Honour and Pride” in the Bugis language, features the history and development of the Malay-Bugis community in Singapore, tracing their roots through the historical developments and changes in the Malay world during the 18th to 20th centuries. The exhibition Sirri na Pesse was officially launched on Friday 13th October 2017 at the Malay Heritage Centre by Guest of Honour, Mr Baey Yam Keng, Parlimentary Secretary, Ministry of Community, Culture and Youth (MCCY), along with the Malay Culture Fest 2017 that took place from 13 – 28th October.
During the launch programme, guests were treated to an amazing artistic showcase titled, “Aga Kareba Performance”, a compressed history of the Bugis people from the myth of creation to the beginning of their settlements in the Malay Kingdoms.
Act 1: Myth of Creation
Act 2: Thriving Port of Makassar
Act 3: The Makassar War
Act 4: Departure & Arrival
The 4 acts performed were very nice to watch, beautiful traditional dancing, music and performances. Through the narration by the emcee and short write up in the programme booklet, visitors like me were able to understand and learn more about the Bugis community in Singapore.
After watching the performance, I visited the Sirri na Pesse exhibition at Gallery 1 & 2. Due to time constraints, I made another trip back to Malay Heritage Centre and continued my learning and understanding tour of the history, heritage, cultural and economics development of the Bugis community in Singapore.
When you visit Sirri na Pesse exhibition at Malay Heritage Centre, make sure you start from Gallery 1, in the following order of the exhibits below (Remember to pick up the exhibition guide book before your start your tour)
1) The Bugis
2) Politics and Economy
3) Language and Literature
4) Indigenous Knowledge and Expertise
5) Presence in Singapore
6) Practices and Beliefs
7) Memory and Identity
“Navigating Bugis Identities in Singapore”, a perfect quote for the visitors to the Sirri na Pesse exhibition at Malay Heritage Centre. Indeed, I am navigating my tour and journey into the Bugis world, from their origins, whether of royal descent, or seafarers or merchants, I was like I am on their phinisi (a traditional Bugis ship) sailing through in time and history, from their origins to modern Singapore today, inside this highly enriching exhibition.
With my limited knowledge initially, I only knew the Bugis community as seafarers, merchants and business people. After visiting and leaving the Sirri na Pesse exhibition, I am glad to learn and know more about the Bugis community in Singapore.
There are so much more to learn and understand about Singapore’s history, heritage and culture, the Sirri na Pesse exhibition is an excellent exhibition that I strongly encourage people to visit, learn and understand more about them.
Over the years that I had been writing and covering heritage, history and cultural exhibitions, events and related topics on the ground, there is always new knowledge, understanding and appreciation of our different races and cultures in Singapore that helped to grow, change and shape Singapore today.
The Galleries 1 & 2 at the Malay Heritage Centre may be small in exhibition space floor size, however, they are able to showcase a rich, diversified, concise, enriching and eye opener on the history, heritage, culture, conservation and preservation on the Bugis community and identities in Singapore.
Exhibition details and information
Sirri na Pesse: Navigating Bugis Identities in Singapore (In partnership with the Singapore-Bugis Community)
Dates: 14th October 2017 to 24th June 2018
Malay Heritage Centre
Galleries 1 & 2
Malay Heritage Centre
Address: 85 Sultan Gate, Singapore 198501
Opening Hours: Tuesday – Sunday 10am – 6pm
(Closed on Mondays)
Last admission at 5.30pm
Facebook: Malay Heritage Centre
Telephone: +65 6391 0450
Created with flickr slideshow.