The eagerly awaited exhibition Rihlah – Arabs in
Southeast Asia (Rihlah means journey in Arabic)
was launched at the National Library on 10 April.
To be held till October, the exhibition acknowledges the close ties between Southeast Asia and the Arab community. On display are photographs and artefacts ranging from personal documents to musical instruments many of which are on public display for the first time. Be enthralled by the rich history and culture of the Arabs in Southeast Asia. This exhibition is definitely a visual feast not to be missed.
The “Spotlight” article documents the development of the Tamil literary scene in Singapore which has more than one hundred years of history. Featured in the article are some Tamil literary pioneers who have contributed significantly to the growth of Tamil literature in Singapore. Some major Tamil literary works are also mentioned in the article.
The research findings of two of our Lee Kong Chian Research Fellows, Tan Chee Lay and Mahani Awang, are published in this issue. Tan Chee Lay undertakes a comparative study of film criticism on Singapore films in post-1965 Singapore Chinese and English newspapers and journals. Film criticism plays an important role in contributing to and promoting the local film industry. Mahani Awang looks at the role and involvement of women in warfare in Malaysia and Singapore from 1941 to 1989. Using both historical method and gender as analytical tools, she attempts to find out the role of women vis-à-vis men in various activities connected to war.
The different Chinese dialect groups in Singapore are associated with certain skills and trades. A feature article by Jaclyn Teo, a librarian with the Lee Kong Chian Reference Library, looks at the occupational specialisation of Chinese dialect groups in Singapore from 1819 till the 1950s. Highlighted in the article are the dominant trades for Hokkiens, Teochews, Cantonese, Hakkas and Hainanese.
Launched in April 2006, the National Library’s Distinguished Readers Initiative aims to honour and pay tribute to prominent and learned Singaporeans whose leadership and professional success in their respective fields have propelled Singapore as a key player on the global stage, whether in government, business, academia or the arts. The National Library was privileged to have interviewed Dr Andrew Chew, Distinguished Reader and former Chairman of the Public Service Commission. Excerpts of the interview are published in this issue.
Featured in this issue are three collections of the National Library – the Environment and Sustainability Collection, the Asian Children’s Collection and the George Hicks Collection. The Environment and Sustainability Collection aims to inform and provide insights and ideas on a broad spectrum of resources on major environmental trends and issues such as climate change, global warming, sustainable development, green business and buildings and clean technology. The Asian Children’s Collection is a unique collection of more than 20,000 children’s titles with Asian content. It provides a good resource for researchers interested in the origins of Asian-oriented children’s books and the influences and attitudes affecting the pattern and stages of their development. The National Library is fortunate to have received a collection of more than 3,000 books from George Lyndon Hicks – economist, author, book-lover, traveller, businessman and long-time Singapore resident. The collection’s main areas of focus are the economics, history and culture of China, Japan and Southeast Asia.
Happy reading! We look forward to receiving your comments and feedback.
Ms Ngian Lek Choh
Director National Library