Singapore is a richly woven tapestry of many cultures, Chinese, Malay and Indian to name a few. On this visit to Singapore I decided to stay in “Little India”, a colourful district with Indian inspired architecture, Vegetarian cafes (yum) and plentiful markets.
Wandering through the streets, I happened on the Indian Heritage Centre, a relatively new institution celebrating the diverse heritage of the Indian culture in Singapore. The generous and enthusiastic guide led us through fours levels of the history of Indian migration to Singapore and its iimpact on the island state
Migration is a universal human experience which changes both individuals and their culture. I learnt about the first muslim migrants who were more of Yin variety (Sufi) than those of the Yang persuasion,and of course the impact of colonialism on the community.
One of the most fascinating aspects of the centre was the building itself. We moved from level to level via a stepwell. Stepwells were constructions of the past which were designed to hold rainwater which supported the community. It was a hub for women who met on the steps and connected not over a coffee but a pail of water.
I learnt such a lot in just over an hour, from big eyeopening aspects of this rich culture to small but touching facts like how some of Ghandi’s ashes were scattered in the Singapore river.
I left to find the restaurant recommended to me where I had the best Chennai Masala ever!