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Malay Heritage Centre

Malay Heritage Centre (31)

It all began in 1999 when Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong came up with the idea of establishing cultural heritage centres for Singapore’s many different ethnic communities.  The goal was to teach and promote their history and culture in order to preserve the distinctive characteristics and values of each people.  He did this very well. As you’ve surely noticed, Singapore is developing at a vertiginous speed and is constantly meeting the challenges of an increasingly technological and globalized world. With this, any nation runs the risk of losing its identity. 

So, thanks to this government initiative, the Malay Heritage Centre was opened to the public in late 2004. Moreover, it is housed in a building with great historical value – the beautiful palace that was once the Istana Kampong Glam, or the Sultan Palace. 

The Malays now make up about 15% of Singapore’s population, the second largest community after the Chinese. The Malay Heritage centre has developed many activities to keep their roots, traditions and cultural heritage alive such as exhibitions, festivals and other interesting activities.  Not surprisingly, this centre is located in Kampong Glam, the area designated by Sir Stamford Raffles precisely for the Malay people as well as the Muslim immigrants. Today it is a neighbourhood that houses some of Singapore’s historical gems, such as the Sultan mosque. 

This building was completed more than 160 years ago by Sultan Ali, son of Sultan Hussein Shah. It was very popular in the second half of the nineteenth century and, as you can see, it is an elegant structure built of bricks and other material imported from different parts of the region. 

The exterior is tastefully landscaped, decorated with Gelam trees and an unusual fountain. You can also see a traditional Malay boat, also used by the Sulawesi Indonesians. 

The centre has several galleries where you can learn everything about this culture. From the simple life of the Malay sailors to the elaborate stories of royal families, the golden years of the Malaysians, the achievements of its great entertainment industry or even their internationally known works of art.

You will learn all about this civilization with the help of educational materials, activities, models and multimedia. Without a doubt, a journey that is as endearing as it is interesting. 

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