Vice & Virtue: 1800s Singapore

Vice & Virtue: 1800s Singapore

Every Woman

Singapore's history began neither at independence in 1965, nor when Raffles stepped onto our shores in 1819. 

Between these two milestones, 19th century Singapore has a backlog of fantastical stories of vice and virtue - from colonial power struggles between the British and the Dutch to government sanctioned drug cartels and prostitution rings; Singapore was at the nexus of drug trafficking and yet is home to some of the earliest printed religious tomes in Southeast Asia. 

It is also the birthplace of the first English scientific journal of the region, and a social awakening autobiography written by a Malay scholar whom some saw as brown-nosing the British. 

Vice and Virtue uncovers forgotten stories of politics, opium trading, literature and prostitution through Singapore's first, earliest and extraordinary maps, letters, newspapers, journals and books in the National Library Board's Rare Collection.

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