SINGAPORE: A year-long series of events will officially kick off on Monday (Jan 28) to mark the 200th anniversary of the arrival of Stamford Raffles, a key turning point in Singapore’s modern history.
To start the ball rolling, the annual i Light Singapore event and Light to Night Festival will run from Jan 28 to Feb 24.
They will feature works specially curated for the bicentennial commemoration.
Six bridges spanning the Singapore River, including Cavenagh Bridge, Anderson Bridge and the Helix Bridge, will be transformed through light art installations by local artist Michael Lee and five international counterparts.
Themed Bridges of Time, they allow visitors to experience different aspects of Singapore’s long history.
The Light to Night festival will see key moments and characters in Singapore’s history projected in lights on buildings around the Civic District, including the Asian Civilisations Museum, Victoria Theatre and Victoria Concert Hall, The Arts House and National Gallery Singapore.
Among the projections is Sayang di Sayang, which depicts the life and work of Zubir Said, who composed Singapore’s national anthem. Another is The Resident, which pays tribute to William Farquhar and his novel ideas.
STEP INTO HISTORY
Those who want to "go back in time" to witness history can do so via an app which will also be launched on Monday by the National Heritage Board and National Parks Board.
The BALIKSG app allows members of the public to revisit historical events such as the signing of the 1819 Treaty, "meet" historical characters and learn about historical places through the use of augmented reality.
Throughout the rest of the year, other initiatives and activities will be launched around the island.
The Singapore Bicentennial Office said that through these events, the public can look forward to an array of diverse and immersive events not just in the 200 years since 1819 but also 500 years before.
Its deputy director Wong Chock Fang said: “The Singapore Bicentennial is about 1819, one of the key turning points for Singapore. But it’s also about the time before and after 1819.
"It’s a commemoration of our journey from 1299 all the way to today. We want to look at all that’s happened throughout the centuries, the communities and individuals who’ve arrived and contribute to the modern Singapore we know today.”
Manpower Minister Josephine Teo, who is overseeing the bicentennial commemoration activities, said she hopes that the events, planned in collaboration with various community partners, ethnic groups and religious institutions, will “ignite a curiosity among Singaporeans for our long and rich history”.
“This is true to the spirit of openness that Singapore embodies. We should always keep an open mind about different people, cultures, religions, values and beliefs. There’s always something to understand and learn,” Mrs Teo said.