Peranakan heritage in Singapore

So today was a cultural day, insofar as I spent a good deal of it in museums. This year marks 50 years of Singapore’s independent nationhood and every institution on the island (of which there are quite a few) seems to be focussing on aspects of the island nation’s story. 

My discovery of the day was the Peranakan Museum (, which tells the story of the blended population of the island and region, and in particular of the Straits Chinese of Singapore, Malacca, Penang and other ports along the Strait (which I will be visiting over the next couple of weeks). 

It was told enthusiastically by my guide, a Nonya lady passionate about her heritage. The image shows a display in the museum where the portraits of the Baba and Nonya (patriarch and matriarch) of a Straits Chinese family suddenly come to life and discuss the forthcoming wedding of their son, a matter of much planning, control and destiny for such a family. 

Fascinating stuff, even for those of us for whom such family control of these matters would be more nightmare than joy. Well worth a visit next time you pass through the city state.