For my heritage trail it was accompanied by my friends and the trail we chose was Walking in the Footsteps of our Fore mothers.
As a Singaporean, i honestly didn’t know there such was a thing called a “heritage trail” that existed until this little trip and i was glad that i went on this trail as i feel it was kinda like giving our fore mothers the recognition they deserved. People would typically only think of our forefathers / founding fathers and relate only men to it when history is concerned because that’s what i would do. 😛 But i was wrong in doing so as or dear fore mothers also played a part in “building” Singapore. But i had no clue as to what they did and that sparked my curiosity to embark on this trial.
This trail consisted of 9 stops:
1) Singapore Council of Women’s Organisations
2) Sculpture Square (old Methodist Girls’ School)
3) Stamford Arts Centre (The Theatre Practice)
4) National Library of Singapore
5) CHJIMES (old Town Convent)
6) Singapore Management University, Lee Kong Chian School of Business (Old Raffles Girls’ School)
7) National Museum of Singapore
8) YMCA Building
9) St. Andrews Medical Dispensary (current site overlooks SMU)
When reading some of the plague boards and through the description of some websites i feel that all these women had the compassion to do whats right even when their opinions didn’t matter at that point of time as decisions were mostly made by males but yet from what I have read up on them they stood grounded to their decisions which i find was really brave.
During the trial it wasn’t easy as, you would think walking to places fairly close to one another would be easy buy no. So, in order to find these places we had to rely on Google Maps but we found ourselves having difficulty to even locate some of the places and whats worst was that for the last location of the trail the GPS location was in the middle of the road.
Firstly, the Singapore Council of Women’s Organisation
2nd stop was the Sculpture Square,
it is one of the remaining last few Gothic architecture in Singapore and was used as a school back then.
3rd stop was the Stamford Arts Centre,
The woman involved with the building is Goh Lay Kuan is closely associated with the birth of modern Singapore theatre.
4th stop was the National Library of Singapore,
The woman involved with this building is Hedwig Anuar, she was a Pioneering librarian and women’s rights activist who was determined to build up the library’s collection and have succeeded so much whereby it started off with 1 library but has now branched off to 9.
5th stop was CHJIMES
The woman involved with this building was Reverend Mother St Mathilde, who in charge to guide and support and educate girls regardless of their social class. In this she taught her fellow nuns needlework whereby they were able to sell products to Chinese merchants to raise funds.
6th stop was the Singapore Management University,
The woman involved is Maggie Lim, nee Tan. She was the first to win the prestigious Queen’s Scholarship. Whereby later on she helped to maintain supply lines to the Malayan People’s Anti-Japanese Army and served as the Endau camp doctor.
7th stop was the National Museum of Singapore,
The woman involved is Han Sai Por who was one of Southeast Asia’s top sculptors.
Sai Por won the Cultural Medallion in 1995, the top prize at the 11th Triennale India in 2005 and the Outstanding City Sculpture Award in China in 2006.
8th stop was the YMCA Building,
The woman involved is Elizabeth Choy, who was a War heroine, politician and teacher.
During the Japanese occupation she was locked in the YMCA which served as a prison for those who were suspected of being Anti-Japanese. She was slapped, kicked and spat at and electric shocked but she still chose not to confess which i really admired about as i have not heard of many stories involving a woman who chose to not betray her country.
9th stop was the St. Andrews Medical Dispensary,
(it got relocated to somewhere else)
In conclusion i feel that these women be it in a small/big way had both played a meaningful part in the upbringing of our nation. But if i were to choose who id admired the most it would definitely be Elizabeth Choy. I’ve watched shows whereby guards tortured people just to get information out of them and only those who stood by their core values didn’t give in. Elizabeth was tortured till an extend by electric shock whereby it had scared her for life but even then she did not reveal any information nor confess anything to the Kempeitai (Japanese military police) which really tells you something about her.
All in all this trail will indeed not be forgotten as i learned something meaningful from from it as i now know how some of our fore mothers played a part in the upbringing of Singapore. Without this heritage trial i would still be thinking it was only our fore fathers that did majority of it. And i did enjoy this trial 🙂 as i learnt to navigate using Google Maps better.