Soul searching: Peranakan Museum

Inspired by the book Peranakan Museum Guide, I visited Peranakan Museum on Saturday, 10 Jan 2015. Better late then never, me the hokkien peranakan has never been to this museum. (Visit the museum to find out the different types of Peranakans- Malacca Peranakans, Penang Peranakans, Hokkien Peranakans etc.)

Armed with the guidebook. GO GO to Peranakan Museum!

Armed with the guidebook. GO GO to Peranakan Museum!

In case you do not know, Singaporeans get free entry to museums, remember to bring your identification card!

Admission sticker

Admission sticker

I was first amazed by the different types of Peranakans. So shameful, I didn’t know there are so many types, and call myself one!

Some of the exhibits were familiar to me. Not because of the popular show by MediaCorp, Little Nonya 《小娘惹》, but because my grandmother used to have them at home. My grandmother used to stay with me, until the day she passed away on 17th May 2000. (No way I will forget because my birthday is on 18th May.)

Nonya in Sarong Kebaya

Picture of a Nonya in Sarong Kebaya

This picture reminded me of my grandmother, and she’s fondly known as “Mama”. (Or also known as Satu Ah Ma- because she speaks Malay, and Satu means 1 in Malay.) I’ve seen her younger days photos, and she looked like this! Slim, and gorgeous in the Sarong Kebaya. I’ve worn a Sarong Kebaya before, and it belonged to Mama. That was during my secondary school days in Cedar Girls’ Secondary School, we were celebrating Racial Harmony Day.

Different Sarong Kebayas

Pretty Sarong Kebayas on display

When a Nonya dons her Sarong Kebaya, you can’t miss the different jewelleries and accessories. Even during mourning period, there are silver and pearl accessories to go with the dressing.

I went to the museum alone, but it was not boring at all. I spent a good 3 hours roaming in the museum, taking lots of photographs. It took me more than a week to sort out 300+ photos!

For those who prefer to have a guide, there are free guided tours in the museum at selected timings. You might want to check with the museum for the schedules.

I’ve always been proud of the fact that I am a Peranakan! I think it’s also because I am one, that’s why I am gifted with a taste for good food, and also love for cooking. Pretty sure it’s in the blood that’s why I enjoy spending time in the kitchen, and preparing food for people.

I was so intrigued by this scene. A bibik in the kitchen, talking about what to do/cook for that day! Older female Peranakans are called Bibik, and they are very strict in the kitchen! Somehow it reminds me of Mama, her looks.

Bibik in the kitchen

Bibik- what you call an elder Peranakan lady

There are so much to explore, although many familiar sights, but some are completely new to me. Afterall I didn’t grow up in a typical Peranakan family. When I was a baby, I stayed in a Kampong in Yio Chu Kang area with my maternal grandparents, and moved to HDB when I was 18 months. From then on, my life was about the HDB story.

Furnitures like these mirrors are new to me. I’ve never seen them in person before.

Mirror 3

#Mifie, Mirror and Me!

Mirror 2

Another #Mifie. Mirror and Me!

A wedding bed

A wedding bed

If you are interested in finding out more about Peranakan culture, do visit the museum. And you can also read about it, Emily of Emerald Hill is strongly recommended! (And if you are a tourist coming to Singapore, you might be lucky enough to watch it on stage if the timing fits!)

A visit to the museum

This trip definitely taught me a lot, who am I, what are my roots. I hope you enjoy the place as much as I do!