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A Place Out Of Time

Do you love museums or hate them? Are they curio cabinets displaying old junk or treasure chests filled with carefully curated objects that transport you to another time and place? In this episode, Max walks us around the National Museum of Singapore. Along the way, he admits how distant he feels from the exhibits and tries to understand why. To do so he  talks to NUS professor TC Chang, who speaks about Benedict Anderson’s idea of the imagined community and how this powerful notion plays out in museums and songs for National Day in Singapore.

Special thanks to Dr Chang Tou Chuang, Department of Geography, National University of Singapore

Read the transcript

The facade of the National Museum of Singapore
An old kitchen display


Malayan nursery rhymes


A display of school uniforms


From left to right: Max Chan Weng Kin (class of 2017), Joan Lai Jie Ying (class of 2017) and Keoy Hui Xin Joyce (Class of 2018)

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – References – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Anderson, Benedict. (2006). Imagined communities: reflections on the origin and spread of nationalism. 2nd ed. London; New York: Verso.

Gillen, J. (2014). “Tourism and nation-building at the War Remnant’s Museum in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.” Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 104(6), 1307-1321.

Kong, Lily & Yeoh, Brenda S.A. (1997). ‘The construction of national identity through the production of ritual and spectacle: an analysis of National Day parades in Singapore’, Political Geography, 16(3), 213-239.

Ooi, Can-Seng. (2009). ‘The Orient responds: tourism, orientalism and the national museums of Singapore”, Ratasatra San [Bulletin of the Faculty of Political Sciences, Thammasat University]. 30(2) (May – August), 113-155. (in Thai, translated by Chewasit Boonyakiet)

Ooi, Can-Seng. (2010), ‘Histories, tourism and museums: re-making Singapore’. Heritage Tourism in Southeast Asia. (eds) M. Hitchcock, V.T. King, and M. Parnwell. Copenhagen: NIAS Press, 83-102.

Ooi, Can-Seng (2001), ‘Dialogic Heritage: time, space and visions of the National Museum of Singapore’. Interconnected Worlds: Tourism in Southeast Asia. (eds) Teo, P., Chang, T.C. and Ho K.C.  Pergamon Press, Oxford, 176-192.

Dr Chang Tou Chang’s Profile

Published in Podcast Episodes S1


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