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The story of Kampong Glam unfolds on Arts Central documentary

Dated: 27 May 2005

Not many people know that local food like satay, mee siam and nasi padang had their beginnings in Kampong Glam. The food brought in by the early settlers such as the Arabs, the Javanese and those who came from Sumatra have now become part of Singapore cuisine. These tasty facts and other equally interesting developments that helped shape and contribute to the rich cultural heritage of the kampong will unfold in a one-hour documentary titled The Kampong Glam Story, on 2 June, Thursday at 10pm on MediaCorp TV12 Arts Central. 

The documentary, commissioned by the Media Development Authority and produced by independent production company The Big Picture Productions, will be telecast in conjunction with the official opening of The Malay Heritage Centre on 4 June. The centre, located at 85 Sultan Gate, will be opened by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

Viewers will be invited to re-live Singapore's early days through the recollections of the grandfather of former Cabinet Minister Othman Wok: he tells of how the kampong - a Malay word meaning "village" - originated, the significance of the Glam tree (from which the kampong got its name) and how the early settlers who arrived from places like Java and Sumatra and contributed to the place's cultural heritage. Viewers will also learn that early Singapore was occupied by the "Orang Laut" or people of the sea, and that the great-grandfather of Mr Othman Wok was one of these hardy folks.

The documentary also focuses on the Arabs who made their mark on the landscape, the success stories of people who found a niche in providing products and services for those who came for worship, like perfume shops and money belts, and how the different ethnic groups, the Javanese and those from Sumatra, shaped the trades which grew out of Kampong Glam. The grand-daughter of Haji Yusof, the owner of Gedung Kuning or the Yellow Mansion, also pieces together how the house once built for one of Sultan Hussein's grandsons became their home when her grandfather, who saw the cultural and historical value of the building, decided to purchase it and make it his family home.

"Through the documentary, we hope that viewers from all walks of life will come to appreciate the rich history and culture behind Kampong Glam and its contribution to Singapore's heritage" said the MDA's Director of Media Content, Ms Amy Chua.

For more information, please contact:
Koh June May
Senior Manager
Corporate &Marketing Communications
Media Development Authority
Tel: 68379636