Malay Heritage Centre

Malay Heritage Centre Hot

(1 Review)
(1 Review)
+65 63910450   Email   Website   1601   1   0
85 Sultan Gate Singapore 198501
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Listing created by equina on February 19, 2013    

Officially opened by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in June 2005, the Malay Heritage Centre (MHC) provides wonderful cultural exposure and learning opportunities for visitors of all ages and interests. Situated amidst the Istana Kampong Gelam, Gedung Kuning and the surrounding Kampong Gelam precinct, the Centre acts as a vital heritage institution for the Malay community in Singapore. Through its exhibits, programmes and activities, the Centre hopes to honour the past while providing a means for present-day expression. The Malay Heritage Centre is presently under the management of the National Heritage Board in partnership with the Malay Heritage Foundation.

Additional Details:

Weekday Opening Hours:
Tue-Fri: 10:00 am to 6:00 pm, Mon: Closed
Weekend Opening Hours:
10:00 am to 6:00 pm
Entrance Fees:
Individual -
Adults: $4.00
Students*: $2.00
Seniors (60 years old and above)*: $3.00
Free admission for children below 6 years old.
Free admission for senior citizens above 60 years old, NSFs, full-time students and MOE teachers.
(Applicable to Singaporeans and PRs only)
*A valid pass must be produced upon request

Non-Singaporean Group Admission (for groups of 10 and above) -
Adults: $3.00
Students*: $2.00
Seniors (60 years old and above)*: $3.00

Singaporean and PRs Group Admission (for groups of 10 and above) -
Adults: $3.00
*A valid pass must be produced upon request
Price Range
< $10

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For a colourful and eye-opening cultural experience

I first chanced upon the Malay Heritage Centre a few years ago, while touring around Kampong Glam with my sister. I didn’t have a very strong memory of the place, apart from wooden panelled floors and the place being completely empty save for the two of us.

My next visit to the place came after hearing about an interesting exhibition, Yang Menulis (They Who Write), at the museum. I was pleasantly surprised to find the place much livelier than before, with several hands-on workshops taking place in and around the museum, and not just tourists, but many locals making a trip to the museum as well.

While the simple exterior of the museum remained unchanged, its interior seemed to have undergone a major renovation. With several new interactive exhibits and multimedia displays, the place was given a refreshing modern twist, while still largely retaining its traditional flavour. A favourite of mine was a space which screened traditional Malay movies, including the earliest silent movies. Though I could only catch a short snippet of a movie, it definitely added an interesting new dimension to my understanding of the early Malay culture in Singapore.

I was fortunate to have been at the museum on a Saturday night, and incidentally caught a colourful gamelan and Kuda Kepang performance, staged as part of Neighbourhood Sketches (a new programme featuring street performances on the last Friday and Saturday of the month). It was indeed an immersive experience that allowed me to gain a deeper and much more intimate understanding of the rich cultural legacy of the Malay community.

All in all, I would strongly recommend a visit to the newly renovated museum, to bask in the colourful Malay culture, and gain a new perspective on Malay heritage. Do be sure to catch some of the Neighbourhood Sketches too if you can – it certainly makes for a most memorable and eye-opening cultural experience!

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It's FREE!

More people should visit heritage centers like the MHC. Entrance to most museums are free to Singaporeans and the MHC is no exception. I learned a lot about Singapore's (hidden) history by simply spending an afternoon there. The history as portrayed in MHC is different from that typically seen on television or in school textbooks because it's history from the eyes of a minority group in society.

Being guided through the exhibits by a docent (guide) made the visit extraordinarily insightful, as he had a real passion for local history and it really showed, through the most basic of things he talked about. The origins of Malays, the wars they've been through, the reasons for the wars etc. were all fair game to him. The second floor (where you start the tour) is full of general artefacts, including some of Yusof bin Ishak's personal items.

The first floor, which you will then proceed to, is dedicated to specific Malay arts and cultural activities including but not limited to television, music, and stage performances. It is there where I realized that the Malay society in Singapore used to be more liberal, with magazines covers from the 60s featuring women in attires that will be considered scandalous today. A gentleman who worked there explained that much of how we perceive Islam today is influenced by Western ideals and beliefs, and does not truly reflect how Islam was, if permitted to grow organically.

Make a trip down to MHC if you're bored and looking for something to do! You really won't regret it, particularly if you're the inquisitive sort!

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