4 things to look forward to at Singapore HeritageFest from May 1 to 28

This year’s festival features over 80 programmes highlighting Singapore's transport and sports history.

Kelly Chin

Gets emotionally attached to fictional characters.

Published: 25 April 2023, 6:41 PM

The National Heritage Board’s (NHB) annual Singapore HeritageFest (SHF) will return for its 20th edition from May 1 to 28.

Celebrating Singapore’s diverse heritage and culture, this year’s festival revolves around Singapore’s sporting heritage and public transportation history. It features a line-up of over 80 programmes, including cultural trails, hands-on workshops, tours, talks, exhibitions and film screenings. 

This year’s SHF involves 60 community partners, including new partners like the Children’s Museum Singapore and Mass Rapid Transit as well as various community festivals like the Singapore Hokkien Festival.

Here are four things visitors can look out for at this year’s festival.

1. Explore the past and present with trails and tours

Visitors interested in photography can join Instawalk Black & White: From Trishaws to Trains

This tour takes visitors on a two-hour walk though Bugis and City Hall where they can take black-and-white photos of historical sites. A nano-influencer will be present to provide tips to help bring their pictures to life. 

Instawalk will be held on May 6, 13, 20, 27 at 155 Waterloo Street from 9.30am to 11.30am. The registration fee is $60 for one pax and $100 for two.


Participants can hone photography skills while listening to stories of past transportation trends. PHOTO CREDIT: TRIBE TOURS


Another tour, Behind the Turf: An Exclusive Tour at Jalan Besar Stadium will let visitors hear from a representative from the Football Association of Singapore and learn more about how sports have evolved over the years in Singapore. 

Behind the Turf will be held on May 20 and 21 at 11am. The registration fee is $15 per person.

2. Learn more about public transport at exhibitions and talks

Those interested in the transport sector can check out A Showcase of Public Transport  Memorabilia held at the National Museum of Singapore on May 6 from 1pm to 6pm.

The showcase will include sharings by Matthew Tay, Singapore’ youngest bus driver turned bus captain, and Muhd Naz Farihin, a bus enthusiast, and feature a large personal collection of items relating to public transport.

Matthew will also be speaking at A Lighter Side of History: A Sharing Session by Matthew Tay at 10.30am on the same day.


Matthew rejected offers from universities to pursue his dream of driving a bus. PHOTO CREDIT: MATTHEW TAY


Also at the National Museum of Singapore, visitors can check out artworks featuring NHB’s 10 heritage trails and take part in storytelling sessions, craft activities and quizzes at this year’s Homeground installation from Apr 28.


The installation features shophouses designed in collaboration with local artist Sadiq Mansor. PHOTO CREDIT: NATIONAL MUSEUM OF SINGAPORE

3. Get involved with immersive workshops

SHF 2023 will also feature a series of workshops. These include the Letterpress Guided Tour – Remembering the Bus Ticket from May 1 to 28 where participants can have a hands-on experience learning how bus tickets were “printed” back in the past. 

The workshop has two sessions daily from 10.30am to 12pm and 1.30pm to 3pm. The registration fee for this workshop is $15 for students and $20 for adults.


Bus tickets used to cost 50 cents to 90 cents in the 1970s to 1980s. PHOTO CREDIT: TYPESETTINGSG


For those looking for a more physical experience, the Silat Cultural Open House 2023 is also available. 

Participants can experience hands-on training from experienced practitioners, witness demonstrations and immerse themselves in the artistic and physical aspects of Silat; Indigenous Indian Arts: Silambam

There will be two sessions on May 20 at 2pm and 4pm, and May 21 at 10am and 2pm. Each session costs $25 per person.


The one-hour workshop that introduces the basic techniques of the popular Indian martial art. PHOTO CREDIT: KALARI ACADEMY

4. Catch screenings and plays

SHF will also feature a light-hearted play titled Changing Shift, by Lim Hai Yen. 

Inspired by real stories that revolve around the experiences of transport workers, Changing Shift is narrated by a taxi driver whose optimistic persona inspires passengers to rethink dilemmas and perspectives on life from within the comforting confines of his cab. 

Changing Shift runs from May 6 to 7 at 5pm to 5.30pm and 6.30pm to 7pm at the National Museum of Singapore.

This year’s SHF will also showcase the third edition of Cinema Reclaimed: DRIVING, KICKING, AND PUNCHING! which spotlights how sports and public transportation have been seen through the cinema of Singapore, from the post-war studio era right through to the 2000s.

The full list of programmes can be found on the Singapore HeritageFest website.

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