Where We Come From: Stories and Memories of Cantonment, Keong Saik, Tanjung Malang and the Tanjong Pagar Area by Ethos Books

Date: 20 June
Time: 10.30 AM - 11.45 AM

Programme will be livestreamed from Ethos Books' Facebook page.

Imagine when with people, you have the ability to peer into their being able to peer into people's memories of past places and times. Some of these memories overlap; some diverge. In your mind, they come together and form an intricate pattern, offering you a glimpse into the times your grandparents and your parents have lived through.

This ability is yours to have, when you join this digital conversation with our three speakers. Charmaine, Sarafian, and Wai Han bring together their childhood memories of the 1970s and 80s: businesses in Chinatown, family visits to the mosque and makam (tomb) at Bukit Palmer, the way of life in Keong Saik. Memories of stories as told to them by their parents.

An appreciation of where we come from gives us with a deeper appreciation of where we are today.

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About the Speakers

The birth address of Chan Wai Han is 45 Cantonment Road, and she has vivid memories of her very young life there. Her first pair of specs was made at Chai Ming Optical Co. along South Bridge Road. Supper at “Foot of the Big Tree” (大树脚) at North Canal Road in the 1960s was part of her indelible childhood memory. Going for Cantonese opera at the Kreta Ayer People’s Theatre with her grandma, aunt and mum formed part of the early entertainment for her sister and her.

Charmaine Leung grew up on Keong Saik Road in the 1970s and 1980s, living across a brothel which her mother operated. After a life overseas for almost 20 years, Charmaine returned to Singapore and discovered a vastly different Keong Saik Road. Her childhood and the changes she witnessed upon her return prompted her to pen a memoir of her childhood years, 17A Keong Saik Road (Singapore: Ethos Books, 2017).

Since 1985, Sarafian Salleh has spent most of his spare time studying and researching the history of the Malay world. His passion intensified when he began constructing his family tree, most of whom are of Bugis descent. His knowledge and authority on the subject have led to him being honorifically called Tuah Bugis in social media. Since 2001, Sarafian has been photographing and documenting various Malay holy sites and cemeteries throughout Singapore and has accumulated a great number of photographs and material of historical interest.

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*limited to the first 500 complete responses

Category // Talks