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1 // JAN 2011 //


Greetings from the Preservation of Monuments experiential learning to support learning

Board (PMB) education team! We hope you had outcomes in History, Social Studies and National
a wonderful start to the New Year! Education.

2010 saw our National Monuments make To that end, we invite you and your students
headlines and discussed frequently in to experience, craft, celebrate, discover, wield,
the media, in the context of issues such anticipate and visit! Yes – all this ACTION at
as preservation, identity and education. our monuments! Be part of the anniversary
Subjective as the topics may be, they signify an celebrations of one of the oldest buildings
increasing interest in built heritage and what in Singapore and enter your students in a
our monuments mean for the individual, the competition for prizes we wish we owned
community and other stakeholders. Indeed, ourselves! Create a special monument trail
Singapore’s National Monuments have a for your learning journeys with us, or secure
unique ability to ignite learning, and foster a yourself a spot for this year’s Operation
strong sense of engagement, ownership and MONUMENT! educators’ workshop happening
responsibility towards the community and in March!
nation. Against this backdrop, PMB’s education
team has crafted a series of programmes for In the first of our quarterly newsletter, we also
you and your students in 2011 that are aimed bring you our special FEATURE – celebrate
at enabling a better understanding of the Chinese New Year by getting to the root of
monuments and exploring their relevance to auspicious animals and symbols in Chinese
the present day. culture! Here’s wishing you (事事顺利 shi shi
shun li) success in all endeavours!
“Yes! Useful, inspiring, engaging! Field-
based learning excites teachers and students
alike.” (By MOE Curriculum Planning Officer, Yours truly,
participant in PMB educators’ workshop) PMB Education Team

Your valued feedback to our pilot educators’

workshop Operation MONUMENT! conducted
last year encouraged us, and guided our
efforts at creating tools for place-based and

If you are interested to be on our special

mailing list, please drop us a note at nhb_
nationalmonuments@nhb.gov.sg and include
your name, school, subject you teach and email


Learning Journeys to Our New National Monuments

Take your students up close to the icons in our history and heritage through
learning journeys to our two newly gazetted monuments which were unveiled
to the public in December 2010! Challenge them to observe and discuss how our
pioneer architects sought to express the nation’s new-found independence and
aspirations towards progress and modernity in the Singapore Conference Hall
and Trade Union House built in 1965, or invite them to contemplate the legacies
of our pioneers and war dead, memorialised in the Esplanade Park Memorials
comprising the Tan Kim Seng Fountain, Cenotaph and Lim Bo Seng Memorial.

i Enquire with us on educator and student fieldtrips to these monuments.

Operation MONUMENT! Educators’ Workshop

We heard you! Come 10 and 11 March, Operation MONUMENT! returns as a

two-day workshop, with the second day dedicated to a special monument trail
where educators can try their hand at creating fieldtrips and lesson plans using
monuments. Piloted in 2010, Operation MONUMENT! challenges educators to
create an exciting learning environment by taking teaching out of the classroom
into real sites of experience. Through this workshop, educators will learn how to
use monuments and museums for source-based and place-based learning.

i A fee of $100 covers course material as well as refreshments. Places are

limited. Look out for our email or sign up now to secure a spot!

175th Anniversary of the Armenian Church of St. Gregory the Illuminator

Be part of the 175th anniversary celebrations of the Armenian Church in

Illuminate 175 (I-175), where the activities will turn the spotlight on Singapore’s
oldest church and its memorial garden on 12 and 13 March! Make a date with
your friends and family to eat, drink, try your hand at orchid craft, or join in our
half-hourly tours. Come learn about the history of this neo-classical landmark
built by the community associated with Singapore icons such as the national
flower Vanda Miss Joaquim, the Raffles Hotel and The Straits Times. Stay till dusk
to enjoy the special performances under the stars, put up by local musicians and
the Armenian community. If you have never met an Armenian before, here’s
your chance!

Students are invited to be part of this event, as participants in the special
competition for primary and secondary school students to design a poster on
the Armenian Church, with attractive cash and novelty toy cameras* as prizes!
Shortlisted entries will be displayed at the Church, and you and the public will
have the opportunity to vote for your favourite entries on 12 and 13 March.
Results will be announced on 13 March, right before the concert. Watch out for
more details in the competition package that will be sent to your school!

* Cameras are proudly sponsored by thirtysix.

i Iluminate 175, 12-13 March; concerts 6-9pm, with half-hourly tours and craft
activities between 2 and 6pm. Free entry.

Details of the competition will be emailed to your school!


Monthly Walking Tours

Starting from January 2011, we will be offering guided tours to our monuments
every last Sunday of the month. Uncover fascinating stories about the religious
beliefs of the Indians in Chinatown, the royal links between Yueh Hai Ching
Temple and Former Telok Ayer Market, or be privy to an ex-Holloway Lane
resident’s memories of the Raffles Hotel and St. Andrew’s Cathedral. Look out
also for our interactive and hands-on tour of the Armenian Church created
especially for children.

i Registration for the tours is required due to limited slots. Please refer to www.
pmb.sg under Monthly Walking Tours, for information and schedule.

National Monuments of Singapore Education Kit

We invite you to explore our National Monuments education kit to incorporate

monuments in your teaching! Designed to support learning objectives in History,
Social Studies and National Education, the kit contains write-ups on Singapore’s
monuments and includes ideas on using monuments for a visit, pre and post-visit
classroom work. It also comes with a pull-out map which you can use to design
trails and learning journeys to the monuments! Wield these learning tools and
download the kit free from the PMB website or MOE Edumall!

i Download your free copy from www.pmb.sg. Limited print copies come free
with selected PMB school programmes and educators’ workshops.

Resonance: Songs of Our Forefathers

Launched in 2009, this publication features 24 of Singapore’s National

Monuments captured through artistic photography by a group of renowned local
photographers, with special emphasis on their architectural details. Purchase a
copy to find out how you can tap on the fascinating tales about Singapore’s past
and present that each monument unveils to enrich your lessons!

i $85.60, available at all major bookstores. Sign up for any of our education
programmes to enjoy a 40% discount. Offer while stocks last.


Of Monuments and Memories Travelling Exhibition

After making its rounds to 12 public sites in 2010, PMB’s travelling exhibition
Of Monuments and Memories, featuring 27 stunning photographs of our iconic
monuments, will make its way to schools this year! 4 out of the 14 host schools―
St. Gabriel’s Secondary (April), Raffles Institution (July), Xin Min Primary (August)
and Junyuan Primary (November)―will be opening the exhibition to schools in
their clusters. Watch out for these dates and be sure to take your students to
visit the exhibition and participate in the exciting programmes which the schools
have lined up to celebrate Racial Harmony Day, International Friendship Day and
National Day!

Due to overwhelming demand, we will be opening a few more slots for the basic
package from July 2011 and extending the exhibition’s run to 2012!

i For more information about the exhibition and to make a booking to host the
exhibition, please contact Ian Lin at 6332 8515 or ian_lin@nhb.gov.sg.

Why do you think animal figurines are used have come to be associated with all things
to adorn buildings? If you look closely at auspicious in Chinese culture―prosperity,
our Chinese monuments―temples such wealth, good fortune, longevity and
as Thian Hock Keng Temple and Yueh Hai happiness.
Ching Temple, residences such as House of
Tan Yeok Nee and even Former Thong Chai This Chinese New Year, discover how these
Medical Institution―you will find animals figurines found on Thian Hock Keng Temple
carved or painted on roofs, beams, windows are related to auspicious Chinese New Year
doorways and walls. Majestic, elegant characters and greetings! See if you can spot
and even fearsome in appearance, they them when you visit the temple!

LIONS “Wishing you success in all endeavours!” (事事顺利 shi shi shun li)

This pair of auspicious lions appears as

ornamentation on the ridge (backbone) of
the roof of Thian Hock Keng Temple. The
realistic and lively lions are evocative of the
auspicious saying shi shi shun li (事事顺利),
as 事 (shi), meaning endeavour in English,
shares the same pronunciation as the word
lion in Mandarin—狮 (shi).

PHOENIXES “Good Fortune!” (福 fu)

This frieze, also found on the roof of the wealth and status (富贵 fugui), and in turn,
temple, depicts a scene of two phoenixes signify the auspicious meaning of good
flying towards three peonies, attracted to fortune (福 fu), a Chinese character which is
the scent of the flowers. In Chinese culture, often hung upside down during Chinese New
the phoenix (凤 feng) symbolises happiness Year to signify fortune’s arrival (福到 fudao),
(幸福 xingfu) while the peony (牡丹 mudan) which is pronounced in the same manner as
symbolises happy marriage, romance as well the inverted character (福倒 fudao).
as good fortune (福 fu). When both phoenix
and peony come together, they represent

FISHES “Wishing you year after year of abundance!” (年年有余 nian nian you yu)

The carp (鲤鱼 liyu) which can be found in 鲤 (li) is pronounced in the same way as the
another frieze on roof, is associated with the word benefit (利 li), and fish (鱼 yu) has the
auspicious Chinese New Year greeting nian same pronunciation as the word abundance
nian you yu (年年有余), also shouted out over (余 yu) in Mandarin.
the tossing of yu sang (Chinese New Year dish
with slices of raw fish). The Chinese word

BATS & BEASTS – Representing the Gods of Good Fortune, Prosperity and Longevity

The round windows surrounding the

entrances to Thian Hock Keng are symbols of
fortune, prosperity and longevity. The four
bats at the corners represent good fortune,
as the Chinese character for bat (蝠 fu) has
the same pronunciation as that of fortune
(福 fu). If you look closely at the window,
you will notice that there are 6 eyes which
belong to dragons without horns, otherwise
known as beasts or shou (兽) in Chinese,
pronounced in the same way as longevity
(寿 shou). Train your eye towards the centre
of the window, and you will observe that the
dragons form the shape of a Chinese stove
(炉 lu) which has the same pronunciation as
the word prosperity (禄 lu). Together, they
make up (福禄寿 fu lu shou), the familiar
three Gods of Good Fortune, Prosperity and

61 Stamford Road, #03-08 Stamford Court, Singapore 178892

Tel 6332 7953, Fax 6332 3590, www.pmb.sg

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