The Asian Civilisations Museum just sit beside the history-rich Singapore River, which is the lifeblood of the island for more than 600 years. The Singapore River Gallery is the first gallery you will see after making your way to the second level.
The gallery showcase the early trade at Singapore River during the pre-colonial times (1400s – 1700s) and and the colonial times (1819 – 1959). You will see the items that exchanged hands between the traders, such as ceramics and textiles.
Now, let me show you some of the artifacts that caught my attention. In this photo right below, are the office supplies used by Chettiar money-lenders, including red inks, petty cash, coins and currency notes. By looking closely at the notes, you would know who Singapore was under during that period.
Most of the people working along the Singapore river were also coolies(laborers), who worked tirelessly everyday. The photo below depicts the laborers’ quarters, or you would call it in Coolie Keng in Chinese dialect.
Back then, opium was also prevalent in Singapore, especially among the Chinese. The wealthy traders, as well as the poor workers, smoke opium. That’s the equipment they used.
Of course, we shall not miss out the story of the famous Sir Stanford Raffles who founded Singapore and helped turned this little island into a thriving trading port. You can read his full story at the gallery. Just outside the Asian Civilisations Museum, you will find his statue at the Raffles Landing Site!
After understanding the Singapore River story, let’s proceed to find out more about the region…
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