It’s been a near four-year wait, but Singapore’s Peranakan Museum
reopened to the public on 17 February after extensive renovations.
The museum, spanning nine galleries and more than 800 objects over
three floors, has been significantly upgraded thanks to the support of
patrons donors and Peranakan communities.
Kennie Ting, director of Asian Civilisations Museum and Peranakan
Museum, said each of the museum's permanent galleries now has its own
distinctive look and feel, “and spotlights a particular aspect of
“While some favourite and familiar elements remain, there are parts
of the museum that would feel very different, very contemporary, even as
we've attempted to evoke the essence of the 'Peranakan aesthetic'.”
Ting said visitors are encouraged to re-encounter the multiple
cultural roots of 'Peranakan' and explore how the culture – “a living,
dynamic one” – continues to shift and evolve.
Each of the museum's permanent galleries showcase a particular aspect of Peranakan culture.
The refreshed museum explores the multi-faceted diversity of
Peranakan culture and communities such as Arab Peranakans, Chinese
Peranakans, Chitty Melakans (or Peranakan Indians), Eurasian Peranakans
and Jawi Peranakans.
Ting explains, “In Malay, the word 'Peranakan' has 'anak', or
'child', as its root, and means 'locally-born' or 'of the same womb’. It
was a welcoming and inclusive sort of word, used by Malay-Indonesian
communities in Southeast Asia to refer to other communities who had made
a home in this region, and blended the rich local culture with their
own proud heritage.
“Peranakan communities are thus cross-cultural in nature and speak to
the sort of cultural diversity and mixing inherent in South-east Asian
port cities such as Singapore.”