Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall Hot
A pioneer of China’s revolutionary struggle in the early 20th century, Dr Sun Yat Sen made numerous trips to South-east Asia; a sympathiser, Teo Eng Hock, turned over this villa to the cause. While there are a few videos, replica objects and waxworks, the spacious halls and galleries are overwhelmingly reliant on captioned black and white archive photos.
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Remebrance for an important historical character
The 1911 Revolution in China, in which a corrupt Qing imperial dynasty was overthrown and China's first republic established in its place, holds dear to many local Singaporeans at that period of time. Singapore, being the epi-centre of mass immigration from Europe and parts of Asian, is made up of an influx of different races and cultures, of which the Chinese forms a major portion.
Dr Sun Yat Sen, the visionary revolutionary, conducted many a meeting over his act in Singapore. In this way, it could be said that Singapore was a strategic base of operations for him, in which he collated money, resources and men for his fight for a free and fair China. The Museum is good in that it gives documented exhibits and displays on his journey in accomplishing his goal. Moreover, there are genuine artifacts that were associated or used by him, though in limited range as most of his possessions are distributed across similar museums in mainland China and other countries where he was a major influence in as well.
Rich in heritage and in remembrance of an important historical event and the figure that helped achieve it, the memorial hall is indeed a good place to spend an educational afternoon!
Chinese Heritage Revamped - A surprisingly refreshing treat
As with most local Chinese students, I didn't have too strong a memory of the Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall, except for us being hurried about on an excursion to the place. So it definitely came as a big surprise for me when a family friend from overseas insisted I bring her to the place some time last year after hearing a good review about it.
Despite my initial hesitations, I was surprised to find myself in for a refreshing treat at the museum. Besides the museum's revamped premises (which I hadn't known about till we reached the place) and much wider variety of artefacts and interactive displays, there also seemed to be a greater focus on the cultural, language and ideological developments of modern China than before, which made our walk-through the museum a seamless and engaging thought journey, rather than just a mere exploration of facts. While some of the Chinese exhibits proved to be a challenge for my overseas friend to understand, our pleasant-natured tour guide more than made up for it with her patient explanations and comprehensive commentaries.
I picked up a few museum brochures on my way out, and was amazed to find a wide range of event offerings for the young and old, from movie screenings to story-telling workshops. It's definitely a great pity that this museum is often overshadowed by the larger local museums, and I would certainly recommend it as a unique stop-over to relive the visions of Southeast Asia's early Chinese diaspora.
Unless you're bored
I feel bad giving such low marks to the Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall, but frankly this place bored me out of my wits. I was forced to go to the museum on a school trip, to learn more about Chinese history. I was a terrible student in Chinese class so I did not follow the tour well and felt listless because I could not focus on the exhibits.
Worse still, this is a small museum and entrance isn't free for adults and foreigners. As a tourist I would rather go to the larger National and Art Museums, which occasionally offer free entry to all.
If you love Chinese history, perhaps this heritage site will rivet you. If you are anything but, chances are, you will not enjoy your visit.