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January 02, 2020

Singapore’s Heritage – A Learning Journey

Singapore is home to people from all over the world. Although education is primarily in English, the country is one of the few that recognizes four national languages, namely English, Mandarin, Tamil and Malay. While the country is presently well-known for her racial harmony, with different races living and working in the same space, Singapore was once subject to British colonial rule that classified the local population based on their race alone. Specific quarters were given: Chinatown to those of Chinese ethnicity, Little India to those of Indian ethnicity, and Kampong Glam to those of Malay ethnicity. These enclaves no longer segregate the different races, but instead, now play a big part to Singapore’s culture and are in fact used in primary education as excursions! There is so much to explore. Here are some educational history and learning facts about these three spaces:

1. Chinatown

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Present-day Chinatown is a bustling hub filled with hawker food, historic temples and hip bars frequented by young and old alike. Cultural diversity shines in this enclave – it is the only Chinatown in the world where a Buddhist temple, Indian temple and Muslim mosque can be seen in the same enclave. Exploring the area is a learning journey like no other, when one is able to dig deep into the histories of these age-old buildings. Chinatown is also home to some of the most amazing hawker food – check out Maxwell Food Centre and Amoy Street Food Centre for local delights!

 

2. Little India

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Once a place that were the living quarters of Indians in Singapore, Little India is now home to a myriad of old and new architecture from quaint little shop-houses to the Indian Heritage Center that towers over the streets filled with vendors selling fresh produce. Not to mention, Little India also boasts the 24-hour Mustafa Centre where students and working adults alike patronize its premises in search of cheap products ranging from electronics to groceries. 

3. Kampong Glam

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The word ‘Kampong’ stands for village, while the word ‘Glam’ is believed to have derived from the word ‘Gelam’, which refers to the Cajeput Tree. This area was once designated for the Sultan, Malays and Arabs. Reflecting the Arab-Malay world, this place is filled with bustling restaurants that serve Turkish and Middle-eastern cuisines. Of course, the star of the show is none other than Masjid Sultan, one of the most prominent mosques in Singapore that is also a national monument of the country.

The three places carry a huge part of Singapore’s history within their enclaves! YMCA Learning Centre Singapore carries out learning journey programmes to these areas as part of our study tours!

 

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