1. What is my understanding of Singapore's history before the visit to the museum and the trail?
My understanding of Singapore's history, was quite shallow. All the knowledge I had is from my secondary textbook and that was like 15 years ago, therefore my understanding of Singapore's history is very limited. I only know remember that Raffles founded Singapore, Singaporeans suffered during the Japanese occupation and life then was a living hell.
All I know about Little India, that it is near Sim Lim and Mustafa is located there. Little India is a place where you can find a lot of Indians. I don't really have any idea on the history of Little India.
2. What did I learn about Singapore's past on the trail?
I learnt that Little India was a section in Singapore dedicated to Indians to reside in. I learnt that buffalos was kept there in early nineteen century, therefore the road was named buffalo road. I also learnt that there are various religious worship places to cater to the different religious beliefs of the people and some streets were actually named after some British colonial officers who were there at that time. With the help of the various information boards located there, it aids in my understanding of Little India's past.
The trip to the National Museum was a fruitful trip for me, as it helps me to understand Singapore's past better with the use of voice tracks for explanations, artefacts and it's arranged in chronological order.
3.What were some of the new discoveries that I made on the trail?
For the trail to Little India, the new discoveries was on the Chinese mansion that belonged to the late Tan Teng Niah, the details of the mansion is fascinating. However, I had a question in my mind : Why do he choose to set up his business in Little India instead of Chinatown? The other new discovery, was that Sakya Muni Buddha Gaya Temple has worshippers from the Indian and Chinese community. All the while, I thought that each community will only visit temples of their own religion but that's not the case there. So I realised that harmony between the different races already existed way before.
4. Has enough been done to preserve Singapore's past? What could have been done
There is a fair bit that the Singapore government is doing to preserve Singapore's past, like the preservation of buildings, artefacts and now the use of monuments to acknowledge the past. However, saying that I felt that more could be done to preserve Singapore's past, like the Tan Teng Niah mansion. I felt that the current shop is doing injustice to the mansion. With the mansion rich history, it could be turned into a small hotel with the theme of living in the past. So that people could stay there for a short period of time and experience how life was like in that time using utensils and others to recreate it. Or the mansion could be turned into a museum about Little India's history, with recreations of how Little India was like in the past, so that the future generations could visually see for themselves the transformation of Little India.
5. How has the trail helped me in my understanding of Singapore's history and History as a discipline?
It helps me to have a better understanding of Singapore's past with the use of artefacts and information boards to voice guides. Although, having said that trail deepened my understanding of Singapore's History. The thought of 'selection' comes to mind (From AAH 202). All the artefacts and information boards was placed there by the government and that is their version that they wanted to showcase to the world. It affirms that History is all about selection and how we look at it from our own perspective.
6.How could what I have experienced be translated into my future classroom?
As the trail at Little India was a fruitful and tiring experience, having to walk for about hours non-stop. It will be necessary for me to choose from all the various location of heritage to fit into, what do I want the students to know about Little India's past so that it would be beneficial. I would also give my students some notes of the places that we will be visiting, so that they will be able to understand it better due to time constrains of field trips.