The Young and the Brave showcases Past Forward projects that give voice to the kind of stories that are often too easily brushed aside in the national conversation. It is presented by the irememberSG fund and the Singapore Memory Project. Let’s set forth and discover a new side of Singapore through fresh eyes at the National Library!
Superhero Me @ the Atrium
It is not something you can see, but everyone walks around with inner worlds and perhaps even a hidden persona inside. And you can make that inner self into a superhero!
At the Superhero Me Festival in the Atrium of the National Library, stray festivities reach you before you have even walked up close! Happy jams, exuberant colours and gigantic dinosaur mascots litter the atrium, all veritable kid-baits!
Kids get to star in their very own Superhero Me adventure film lovingly put together by the team, where they journey to a craft wonderland and discover how to make a better world! Get inspired from their Wall of Props crafted by their 7-year-old pioneer Superheroes from recycled material, or better still, come in your own costume! We watched some accompanying adults discover their inner children and playing alongside the kids too.
A colourful effort by Logue in Motion, they’ve come together with the purpose of encouraging children to become their own superheroes and have the confidence to make great changes in their lives. Parents and educators are encouraged to affirm them in their desire to do good with their powers!
Seeing Singapore @ the Atrium
To go from the riot of colours into the muted blacks of the Seeing Singapore exhibition next door, opens all the other senses to sensory overload. Smells, touches, sounds, it is a wonder the things we do not notice when we are so used to relying on our sight.
Ironically, we watched Jenny Ng’s documentary of the visually-impaired recounting their memories of Singapore experienced through their fingertips, hearing and other senses, in order for us to begin to see from their point of view.
Their memories have a level of detail that is almost artistic in nature, and characteristic of the perennial observers of the world around them. And yet, observing their world is what we do here.
No spoilers, but the other senses are nudged into blossoming hyper awareness in this interactive exhibition.
Unseen Memories @ the Lobby
After being made touchingly aware of how the visually-impaired experience the world, in Unseen Memories, we were made to walk as closely to in their literal shoes as technology and story-telling can get us.
With the use of an immersive virtual reality device called Oculus Rift, we were ‘given’ partial blindness, and a scenario to play out. As you experience it, Penny, a school teacher who lost her sight at the age of nine, narrates a very frequent situation that the visually-impaired encounter when in public.
It threw us for a loop to be made so aware of the gap between sympathy and empathy inside us.
It is a worthy exercise, being made to experience ‘unhelpful help’ when trying to find our way around in a train station in the story narrated into our ears. No, more accurately, it was an experience edged in terror, even when we knew at the back of our minds that we could take off the Oculus Rift at any moment and return to our visible realities. Creator Wally Tham has given us food for thought here.
We walked away, with better tips in mind for helping our visually-impaired comrades navigate the world around them without adding to their troubles. It is in a reflective mood that we stepped off the lift on the tenth floor for the Island Nation exhibition.
Island Nation @ the 10th floor
The invisible islands of Singapore, it is not something that we think about much in our silvery steel towers.
Most would say they think of Singapore as an island, as in singular. If nudged, we would mention Sentosa and Pulau Ubin, although most men would hardly need much prompting to bring up Pulau Tekong.
But contrary to popular belief, the island nation known as Singapore is not one island, and have comprised of more than 60 islands at one point of time. As Singapore progressed economically, many of the offshore islands were zoned for specific purposes, and its residents were relocated to mainland Singapore.
Island Nation a documentary project by Captured, comprising Edwin Koo, Juliana Tan and Zakaria Zainal, captures the stories of Singaporeans who once lived on the southern islands of Singapore.
The excursion to the islands of St John’s, Lazarus and Seringat in the documentary was like a taking a step back into time for many. The gotong royong (community) spirit was truly alive that day as the former islanders prepared food that everyone could share. Funnily enough, despite the lack of coordination, no two dishes were the same! A walking tour of the islands became a chance for these folks to make new memories – posing for pictures with their former neighbours and taking photos with their smart phones of landmarks where they had lived or played – all the while reminiscing about old times.
All exhibitions are running until the end of June.
Unseen Memories and Seeing Singapore – Talks
Date: 27 June 2015, 2pm-5pm
Location: Imagination Room, Level 5, National Library
Registration is full! Thank you for the overwhelming support!
Previous write-up on Island Nation here.
All words and photos by irememberSG team
unless otherwise credited.