Stunning new entries made in Singapore’s Cultural Heritage List


It is not just that UNESCO keeps a list. New entries have been made in the National Heritage Board’s own list in 2021.
The first entry that has been made is of Kway Chap. It is originally from China’s Chaoshan region. It is the hawker staple that comprises broad sheets of rice noodles in soup and pork offal.
The second entry made is of Malay drum making. The craft of making drums like the kompang, hadrah and gendang had died out here before the revival of the Malay cultural scene in the 1990s.
The third entry has been made regarding the flower garland making. The demand for the flower garlands rises especially during the hindu festivals but there are concerns about the craft with very few young people picking it up.
The fourth unique entry made is of Tempeh and Tapai. Tempeh is made from fermented beans here and Tapai is fermented rice cakes. These are unique to South-East Asia and widely used in Malay cuisines.
The National Heritage Board list has also added the Jewish Passover. It is celebrated over 8 days here. It is one of the most celebrated festivals of the 2,500 strong Jewish community in Singapore.
One of the most peculiar entries made is of the Chinese sign board making. There have been fewer commissions in the recent years for these boards hung at the temples, clan associations and more. There is a lack of successors who could continue this craft and hence it needs to be preserved.
Yusheng and Lo Hei have also been added to the list. A lot of what Singaporeans recognise as Lo hei came from four chefs from Lai Wah restaurant who came up with a seven colored raw fish salad in 1964 and paired auspicious phrases with some of the ingredients. Zapin dance has also made it to the list. It originated in Yemen and was introduced in the region in the 14th century. Dancers mimic the movements of the animals and the natural world. The new entries which have been made are beautiful and unique. The fascinating and graceful culture needs to be preserved.


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