Monday, September 2, 2013

Museum Hopping: Peranakan Museum

Ok, I am not gonna apologise for my lack of updates because it's become some habit already.
And the reason is always the same: Army. Can't believe I stayed in for whole week last week!

Anyway, I am updating now haha.
Few weeks back, Fero and I decided to go for some museum hopping instead of usual Cafe Hopping.
If you're non-Singaporean (or you are one but too ignorant), Singapore do have a very huge scene of museums. There many different kinds, such as Arts, or historical, and even cultural museums.

The one I am gonna show you all today is more of cultural museum: Peranakan Museum

The building of the museum itself, used to be the famous Chinese school, Tao Nan

Many Locals will know what or who are the Peranakans. If you do not know, I actually snapped a photo of the history and background information of them for you to find out more.

Basically, the Baba Community are a group of people of mixed ethnics (mixed blood).
We are very familiar with this group known as Nonya. They belong to this community.  

Picture of the olden typical Baba families

The Baba community is a group with very rich culture practices.

And they are very particular with every single small details. From their cutleries to cupboards and to jewellers. Every single details are not ignored. And this is surprising given the limited resources in which they have back in the olden days. 

Below are some exquisite items which you'll get to find in their house:

In the above picture, you're actually staring at a very very exquisite and time-consuming piece of artwork, which apparently is a very common skill amongst the Nonyas in the community. 

It is a blanket made up of MILLIONS OF BEADS!
And each and every single one of them are thread by hand!!! 
Come on, if you were to ask the girls in Singapore now to even sit down and start sewing, that's quite a miracle already. Forget about asking them to sit down and thread all the beads one by one!

Can you imagine millions of beads to thread? How long does it take?

Not only that, just look, there are images formed!
How the hell do they know how to form such a beautiful piece of artwork back then?! 

Two Words: Stunning and Amazing 

Marriage is a very big event in all families, no matter what family background you're from.
The Baba Community is no exception as well. 

I mean, we all have princess tiaras etc.
But just freaking look at the headdress and jewellery pieces which the ladies wear when they are getting married!! OMG OMG, I wonder if they are very heavy.. How to balance man?

Seriously...they even have 8 Immortals being carved out on the headdress.. Gosh.

This Pagoda-look-alike thing is actually their jewellery box.
Wah, if got burglar wanna steal also very hard lo. Confirm damn heavy and so not easy to steal -__-

The typical wooden furnitures (needless to mention anymore, full with details) that we can find in the houses of the Baba Community. My house's "sofa" are all these wooden ones as well. So not comfortable to lie on, I swear. 

Dressing tables and display cupboards which are dam huge ass in size:

More colorful beads items which the Nonyas are able to made with their 2 bare hands!
I bet they confirm damn free everyday lo. Or they are just too bored HAHA! I so #badass 

This is how a newly wed's bed will look like. It is actually very big because it consists of what we call a Queen Size bed in modern world, and right beside it is another single bed. For whatever they mentioned that, it is for more space for the couple. actions going on eh? Roll here and there LOL! 

In their wedding ceremony, they also have huge "parades" going on.
At first when I saw the display, I thought it was a funeral kinda thing because of the lanterns. 

For the Chinese, we do see the lanterns (as shown in picture below) being carried around as a person passed on. So I was quite shocked that the Babas actually use the lantern as part of such a joyous occasion. This goes to show that there are different cultures around the whole world. 

If you're wondering, the Chinese word imprinted on the lantern means Happiness or Joy. 

More blessings to the couple, such as living together to ripe old age and love forever

Haha dear Fero boy tried to join in the happy occasion as well! Wooohooo get married!!

This is how the front of the houses of the Babas will look like

The 2 statues that you see standing at the front are what we call Qi Ling.
They are placed there to ward off evils and to bring in good luck for the families.
Actually the Babas do have a lot of similar practices as the Chinese, come to look at it. 

And we do have the surname of the residence living within
It's like a "THIS-IS-MY-HOUSE" kinda thing haha

They also have audio guides to show us how the community used to communicate with one another
Like how do they talk, and the language which they used. I love the phone in the above pic!

Next, we moved on to the religious side of the Babas:

Again, another similar Chinese practice, they also have Door deities, which helps to ward off evil so as to bring peace and happiness within the family. We can find the paintings of the deities on doors of houses too

As shown above, that's how an altar will look like in the Baba's house
Not to my surprise, they are very grand as well. Just look at the boards in the background. 

And this is how an ancestor altar will look like

Typical kitchen of the Babas, mostly made up of wood for the instruments used

And of course, how can they forget making master pieces out of everyday items such as the bowl and cups? If they get the chance, they will make everything look gorgeous, and here you go. 

If you did realise, the Babas actually like to have insects being painted onto their cutleries. 
Some examples include butterflies and bees. They do so, as these insects symbolises a good harvest and that there will always be food on the table.

This is rather intriguing to me as it comes as a culture shock to me that, such small details which we all tend to neglect, could actually mean so much to another community's culture. 

This kind of wraps up my trip to the Peranakan Museum and I must say that it's definitely been a very fulfilling one. I mean, instead of going around shopping and spending lots of money, why not spend an afternoon at the museums?

You'll be surprised how interesting they could be!
Also, admission is FREE. Yes, I mean it, FREE for Singaporeans and PRs :)

The Peranakan Museum is located at 39 Armenian Street, Singapore 179941

The opening hours are as:

Saturday - Thursday: 10am to 7pm
Fridays: 10am to 9pm

Enjoy your trip and do wait for me to blog more about other museums which I've visited recently!
Till then, love you guys who still supports my blog! 

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