To support researchers to conduct innovative and impactful studies and to promote public understanding of local Chinese culture in Singapore, Singapore Chinese Culture Centre has initiated public lectures with support from academic institutions, co-organised iInternational cConferences with sharing by industry experts and international scholars, and successfully aided the launch of various studies and projects.
In collaboration with various faculties and academic institutions, SCCC presented lectures on a variety of topics to enhance the public’s understanding of the diverse nature of the local Chinese culture. View the public lectures through these videos now!
Diversity and Singapore Ethnic Chinese Communities International Conference Publication
“Diversity and Singapore Ethnic Chinese Communities International Conference” was jointly organised by the Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre (SCCC) and the Department of Chinese Studies, National University of Singapore in 2019. This was SCCC’s inaugural conference, and it examined the different aspects of the Chinese Singaporean community including identity, religion, literature, language and popular culture.
This digital publication is a collection of the papers presented in the conference, with a foreword by SCCC’s CEO Mr Low Sze Wee.
The Chinese Arts and Culture Research Grant was introduced to fund research projects related to Chinese visual arts, performing arts, culture and impact, and/or contribution of these Chinese visual arts and performing arts on Chinese identity and culture in Singapore.
The projects that were supported by the Research Grant are:
This project investigates the impact of Chinese ink art on 20th century Singapore modern and contemporary art. Focusing on artists taught by migrant mentors, it examines their integration of teachings into postmodern art through interviews. This research project elucidates the historical evolution of Chinese ink painting in Singapore, aiming to facilitate future research and offer pathways for deeper comprehension of its artistic voyage.
This research project aims to compile a comprehensive record of Singapore’s Chinese epigraphy. By analysing over 2000 inscriptions from various sites, including temples, schools, and hospitals, the project explores the Chinese community’s historical impact on Singapore’s evolution. This initiative not only seeks to deepen our understanding of Chinese culture’s transformation but also to provide a scholarly basis for future research on Singapore’s Chinese culture, arts, religion, and society.
This project studies Singapore’s classical Chinese poetry to better understand local society and Chinese Singaporean identity. Given the limited number of resources related to this form of poetry, this project studies newspaper archives to better understand the cultural importance of Singapore’s classical poetry and its link to traditional Chinese visual art. In addition, it explores contemporary artists’ incorporation of local poetry in their art works, thus enriching Chinese Singaporean history, society, and culture.
Website on Singapore Classical Chinese Poetry (link to website)
New Annotation of Hu Langman’s Poetry Collection from Wisdom Park (link to publication)
New Annotation of Zuo Binglong’s Selected Poetries from Qinmian Tang (link to publication)
This project delves into tensions between Chinese Singaporeans and new immigrants, dissecting the cultural elements perpetuating division. Government and institutional strategies for integration are examined, probing the use of “Chinese culture” to bridge gaps. The project investigates perceptions and emotions of both groups, assessing how immigrant influx shapes Singaporean and Chinese Singaporean identities. By alleviating tensions, promoting integration, and potentially forging a unique Chinese Singaporean identity, the study aims for societal harmony.
This project explores the evolution of intangible heritage, including rituals and festivals, within the Chinese clan associations. It assesses their impact on the environment, tangible heritage, and social memory. The project delves into how these cultural custodians sustain their heritage and involve descendants across generations. In addition, it examines the kinship-based associations’ role in shaping Chinese Singaporean identity. Documenting heritage, the study’s focus is on associations with a 100-year history, capturing both intangible and tangible cultural aspects.
This research project explores Singapore’s evolving urban Chinese religious heritage and the role of vernacular shrines in shaping micro-communities and networks amidst a multi-ethnic and society. Unlike previous studies on Singapore’s urban redevelopment and Chinese popular religion, this study focuses on vernacular shrines. Its objectives include examining these shrines as religious heritage and significant sites for Chinese religiosity, identity, and community formation. The research project therefore aims to provide empirical insights and develop shrine typology.
Everyday Sacred: An Exhibition on Vernacular Shrines in Singapore (can link to event listing page)
Chinese Vernacular Shrines in Singapore book
Chinese Vernacular Shrines documentary
This project assesses the impact of cross-cultural art fusion on Chinese culture’s perception. By examining blended art forms like performing Western music on Chinese instruments, the team seeks to ignite interest among both Chinese and non-Chinese Singaporeans. The study probes how amalgamating artistic elements from diverse cultures impacts views of one’s heritage and foreign cultures. Giving insights into the potency of blended art in bolstering Chinese culture.
This project’s objective is to establish an accessible database of missionaries and their publications, revealing their influence and breakthroughs predigital tools. This initiative uncovers historical nuances of how these missionaries integrated Chinese language theories into printing and propagation practices. It also investigates the missionaries’ geographic reach and impact on knowledge dissemination within their circle, print network, and local Straits and South Sea communities.
This project’s goal is to document local Teochew opera troupe, Lao Sai Tao Yuan, through contemporary photography and essays. It captures the art and its participants as culture and memory “creators”. These local performers and their shows are culturally significant, and the research visually chronicles actors’ transformation from everyday life to operatic personas. It examines diverse facets of this change, including stagecraft, costumes, makeup, narratives, and audience perceptions, showcasing the profound impact on both performers and viewers.
This project studies Chinese photography studios like the Lee Brothers’ from the 1890s to 1930s, exploring women in Singaporean photography. It contributes to gendered historiography of Singaporean photography by studying local newspapers and regional periodicals like The Young Companion and their influence on photographic trends. It assesses women’s agency in portraiture, investigating their roles both in front of and behind the lens, enriching insights into early 20th-century photography and its gender dynamics.
This project investigates 68 local United Temples, a continuation of previous epigraphic studies in Singapore. Through analysing inscriptions, the initiative uncovers the origins and histories of kampong village temples within the United Temples. It translates these inscriptions to reveal merger processes, autonomy struggles, and assimilation. The research delves into communal life and worship in historical kampongs, highlighting temple resilience amid relocations and short leases. By not only focusing on the collective United Temples but also individual histories, the project educates young Singaporeans about kampong life and communal heritage.
This project employs a corpus-based approach to analyse Singapore’s Chinese language varieties, and to explain multilingual interactions and sociolinguistics. With English prevailing at home, Chinese language structure in Singapore shifts. Gathering spoken data from varied age groups, the study documents linguistic evolution. Benefiting theoretical research, language planning, and teaching, it enhances communication among Chinese Singaporeans and speakers from different regions, ultimately contributing to language preservation and understanding.
This project delves into the establishment of I-Lien Dramatic Society and Dramatic Arts Society by Union Cultural Organisation (UCO) leaders, covertly sponsored by the Central Intelligence Agency, and The Asia Foundation (TAF). Analysing correspondence, memoirs, oral history, and Chinese drama, the project evaluates their organisational modes and political content. It assesses their alignment with TAF’s anti-Communist strategies, uncovering UCO’s Southeast Asian activities via TAF funding. Drawing from Cold War archives, it also examines cultural production and reception, contributing to Southeast Asia-Hong Kong connections and Cold War studies.
The objective of the Publication Grant is to disseminate research on Chinese Singapore culture conducted by institutes of higher learning, think-tanks, researchers and academics. This Grant will support publications in the following areas of research: Chinese visual arts, Chinese performing arts, Chinese culture, and Chinese Singaporean identity. Print and online publications can help create awareness and make such research available to a wider public beyond Singapore.
The grant accepts both print and online publications as suitable mediums to create awareness and make such research available to wider audiences outside of Singapore.
To apply, visit here!
The project aims to spotlight various forms of Chinese puppetry in Singapore, both existing and forgotten, leaving only artefacts and information. Despite its Chinese origins, this art has evolved over a century, intertwining with local identity. Singapore’s puppetry holds cultural value, upheld by dedicated heritage bearers amidst challenges like dwindling audiences. Documenting tangible and intangible heritage, the project targets youth as custodians. This introduction may spark interest, potentially revitalising Chinese puppetry. It offers an entry point and reference for understanding Asian cultural heritage.
Book titled Forgotten Heritage: A Graphic Introduction of Traditional Chinese Puppet Forms in Singapore
This project aims to grant public access to See Hoot Kee’s private records, unveiling the philosophical insights of early Chinese leaders through prose, poetry, and art. As a prominent figure in the Peranakan Chinese community, See played a pivotal role in constructing and leading one of Singapore’s earliest Chinese temples. His influence extended to supporting early Chinese migrants with religious facilities, funeral rites, and burial grounds. The project collaborates with the See family, who will share their private collections, fostering a deeper comprehension of the early Chinese community’s needs, values, and contributions.
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The project strives to preserve, promote, and present Singapore’s Chinese cartoon legacy. Through a 120-page black and white graphic novel, it spotlights seven pioneering cartoonists. This endeavor enhances the art of visual storytelling, intricately merging the life and contributions of these Chinese innovators in distinct chapters.
This project seeks to unravel the 190-year journey of Keng Teck Whay, enriching knowledge about Singapore’s Peranakan Chinese community. Its mission is to conserve the cultural heritage and ancestral customs brought by the association’s 36 founders from China. By documenting the social, familial, and genealogical history spanning seven generations, the project safeguards these legacies. It also propagates the values espoused by the founders, promoting their virtues within the community.
This publication spotlights the Nine Emperor Gods Festival, a prominent Chinese religious event in Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand. It imparts insights into its history, significance, and communities, thereby conserving its customs and knowledge. Unique to Southeast Asian Chinese communities, the festival distinguishes itself from similar observances elsewhere. With comprehensive coverage across 15 temples, the publication meticulously documents Chinese traditions and Southeast Asian history related to the festival. By combining visuals and texts, it delivers a holistic portrayal, enhancing awareness of Chinese Singaporean identity, arts, and culture. Its broad target audience includes both local and global individuals, ranging from newcomers to academics, content creators, and heritage enthusiasts, ultimately promoting a deeper connection and appreciation of Chinese culture in Singapore’s cultural milieu.