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Photo credit: YOUTHOPIA/SARAH ALYSHA

Reflections at Bukit Chandu reopening on Sep 9 with three new galleries

Visitors will be allowed to enter Reflections at Bukit Chandu for the first time since its closure in October 2018.

Noreen Shazreen

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Published: 3 September 2021, 11:25 AM

After a three-year closure, Reflections at Bukit Chandu will reopen its doors to the public on Sep 9. 

This will be the first time visitors can enter the heritage site, following extensive redevelopment and infrastructure improvements.

Housed in a restored black and white colonial bungalow on Pepys Road, the site was initially constructed in 1930 for British senior staff of the Opium Packing Plant. In 2002, the bungalow was converted into a World War II interpretative centre to showcase the Malay Regiment’s significance in the Battle of Pasir Panjang.

“Reflections at Bukit Chandu commemorates the tenacity and heroism of the Malay Regiment in the Battle of Pasir Panjang, a pivotal moment in Singapore’s World War II history. 

“With this revamp, we also hope to share with visitors more insights into the pre-war character of Pasir Panjang and Bukit Chandu,” said Chung May Khuen, director of the National Museum of Singapore.

 

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The sculpture depicting the Malay Regiment soldiers, commissioned by the National Archives Singapore, has been moved to the centre of the site to welcome visitors. PHOTO CREDIT: YOUTHOPIA/SARAH ALYSHA

 

The first-floor exhibits focus on the history of the Malay Regiment while paying tribute to their bravery and dedication during World War II.

They include sections such as The Malay Regiment, which displays the uniforms and entrenching tools of the soldiers, Into Battle, an immersive multimedia display that chronicles the Battle of Pasir Panjang in 1942, and Aftermath, a memorial to honour over 100 soldiers who were killed during the battle.

 

reflections-bukit-chandu-adnan-saidi.
The exhibition also features familiar key artefacts, such as the bronze sculpture of Lieutenant Adnan Saidi. PHOTO CREDIT: YOUTHOPIA/SARAH ALYSHA

 

Other highlights include rare pre-war film footage featuring Lieutenant Adnan, bullets from the Battle of Pasir Panjang found around Pasir Panjang Ridge in the 1970s, and bullets that were discovered within the bungalow compound during an archaeological search in 2019.

Three new sections – Packing Chandu, The Lounge and On The Lawn – have also been incorporated on the second and ground floor as part of the revamp to provide a broader historical context beyond World War II.

At Packing Chandu, visitors can learn more about the history of opium production and the regulations imposed to combat opium addiction in Singapore. 

The space, which previously housed exhibits highlighting the Malay Regiment, has been reworked to provide information on the harmful effects of opium addiction. The artefacts also showcase reports from The Anti-Opium Clinic.

 

packing-chandu-exhibition
The Opium Packing Plant was once located at the foot of Bukit Chandu, which is also known as Opium Hill. PHOTO CREDIT: YOUTHOPIA/SARAH ALYSHA

 

As the anti-opium movement gained traction, the government began limiting the sale of opium by imposing opium licenses in the late 1930s. Opium packaging then shifted to metal casings, with each tube carrying a specific amount of opium that is allowed to be consumed.

 

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Opium consumption was strictly regulated in the late 1930s and people had to register for an opium license in order to consume it. PHOTO CREDIT: YOUTHOPIA/SARAH ALYSHA

 

Another new section is The Lounge, a veranda filled with rattan furniture where guests can unwind or take a quick rest. 

The Lounge allows visitors to experience how former residents of the bungalow would enjoy the sea breeze while getting a glimpse of the Singapore Strait and other landmarks in Pasir Panjang. It also features archival photographs, offering visitors insight into the history of Bukit Chandu and Pasir Panjang.

 

the-lounge-reflections-at-bukit-chandu
The windows are intentionally opened to let visitors experience what residents who lived through the Battle of Pasir Panjang saw before the land was covered with houses and trees. PHOTO CREDIT: YOUTHOPIA/SARAH ALYSHA

 

The third addition to the exhibition is On The Lawn. It features new outdoor installations such as local landmark Longyamen (dragon’s teeth gate) and a pineapple kart to symbolise the area’s once lavish pineapple plantations.

In addition, the back porch also displays a rumah sampan (houseboat) that was once inhabited by the Seletar people.

 

houseboat-reflections-at-bukit-chandu
Visitors are allowed to climb into the houseboat and take photos, experiencing what it was like to live in the waters. PHOTO CREDIT: YOUTHOPIA/SARAH ALYSHA

 

All visitors will be entitled to free admission from Sep 9 to Sep 26 to celebrate the reopening of Reflections at Bukit Chandu.

Singapore citizens and permanent residents will continue to enjoy free admission from Sep 27 onwards. Ticket prices start from $4 for tourists and foreign residents, with package deals available.

To facilitate seamless and contactless entry, visitors are encouraged to pre-book their admission tickets in advance via the museum website from Sep 6 at 12pm. 

They can enter the heritage site in groups of no more than five individuals and no mingling across groups will be allowed.

Reflections at Bukit Chandu, located at 31-K Pepys Road, Singapore 118458, will reopen on Sep 9 from Tuesday to Sunday, 9.30am to 5pm. The last admission ends at 4.30pm.


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