| Singapore | 27 Nov 2015 | Asia Samachar |
If you are a Sikh and curious to find out more of stuff connected to Sikhs in Singapore, check out the Sikh Heritage trail application.
The mobile application developed by Ishvinder Singh and three others was launched in October 2015.
This is thier way of sharing with the younger Singaporeans the shared narratives from different cultures.
“If these stories are not created in our social studies textbooks, then I want to create them myself. Let us take the lead and search for our own answers, instead of expecting a handout,” he told the Straits Times in a recent interview.
The ST ran a story, entitled Visual markers of Sikh heritage, on Nov 26 with a photograph of Ishvinder standing at the junction of Lorong Bachok and Lorong 19 in Geylang, with a striking 1929 shophouse in the background.
Its elaborate facade depicts classic Chinese myths and legends. But a closer look at the pillars at the entrance reveals two carvings of Sikh “jagas” (Malay for guards), designed to “watch over” the building, the report notes.
Other locations in Singapore that highlight the links between the Sikhs and local history are documented in a Sikh Heritage Trail mobile application, it adds.
YOU CAN ALSO CATCH AN INTERVIEW WITH ISHVINDER AT SEWAKSTV:
Ishvinder, 28, embarked on the project last year almost by accident.
THE ST REPORT GOES ON:
Initially nonchalant about the tussle between civil society groups and the Government over the fate of the Bukit Brown Cemetery, his curiosity was piqued when he came across Internet images depicting statues of Sikh guards at Chinese tombs.
The Sikhs came to Singapore in the 19th century as soldiers and policemen serving the British. After World War II, many sought work as guards. They became so indispensable that their statues were placed before their employers’ tombs to continue guarding them.
The mobile app project, which cost about $10,000, received funding from the National Heritage Board and from Mr Singh’s contacts within the Sikh community.
He spent every weekend over five months documenting places of interest that had a link to Sikh heritage, with his research partner, Ms Vithya Subramaniam, 26.
The app includes a heritage trail that traces sites linked to the Indian sepoys working for the British military in the Outram area, and locates nearby Sikh temples, war memorials or gravestones that bear Sikh imagery.
These visual markers of heritage are important not only to provide the “initial draw”, but also to reveal the stories beyond the image.
Said Mr Singh: “That’s when the concept of a shared heritage comes in. It’s about seeing it from the lens of the other community. Why did the Chinese adopt these symbols and take them into the afterlife?”
Ms Subramaniam, a South Asian Studies graduate student at Columbia University, has learnt through her work that the history of the community’s settlement in Singapore is different from that of other Sikh diasporic communities.
She hopes that Sikhs in Singapore will recognise and celebrate their historical role.
Future projects that Mr Singh plans to organise under Sherdil Labs, a firm that he founded last year to promote Sikh heritage, include a heritage centre at the Silat Road Sikh Temple and an exhibition on Sikh identity.
It is up to younger Singaporeans to pass on these shared narratives from different cultures, he said.
“If these stories are not created in our social studies textbooks, then I want to create them myself. Let us take the lead and search for our own answers, instead of expecting a handout.”
[ASIA SAMACHAR is an online newspaper for Sikhs in Southeast Asia and surrounding countries. We have a Facebook page, do give it a LIKE. Follow us on Twitter. Visit our website: www.asiasamachar.com]
Ash heads Hong Kong business incubator ops in Singapore (Asia Samachar, 20 Nov 2015)
Pursue your passion, Singapore minister tells Sikh students (Asia Samachar, 9 Nov 2015)
Sarina sues Singapore GH for negligence after losing limbs (Asia Samachar, 6 Nov 2015)
Amarjeet’s war crimes court stint captured in Singapore book (Asia Samachar, 1 Nov 2015)
CSGB urges Singapore Sikhs to do personal prayers for Punjab (Asia Samachar, 20 Oct 2015)
Singapore duo ride 12,000km across Europe (Asia Samachar, 11 Oct 2015)
Jatinder on tabla with Singapore Chinese Orchestra in KL (Asia Samachar, 7 Oct 2015)
Blazing trail on Perak Gurdwara Heritage Trail (Asia Samachar, 23 Jun 2015)
Karamjit’s DNA gets RM1m booster (Asia Samachar, 10 Nov 2014)