A Reel-ly Good Story: History in Five Minutes
BiblioAsia Reels turns a BiblioAsia story into a short video. Take five to learn interesting things about Singapore history.
The Story of Two Whales
The skeleton of a blue whale was once the centrepiece of the former Raffles Museum. The skeleton was gifted to the National Museum of Malaysia in 1974.
Another whale skeleton, that of an adult female sperm whale, is currently on display at the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum. The whale carcass was found drifting off the coast of Jurong Island in July 2015.
The Modernist Home of Pioneer Architect Lee Kip Lin
Located at 32 Binjai Park, the family home of the late architect Lee Kip Lin has stood the test of time with its simple and yet modern design. His wife, Mrs Lee Li-ming, shares some interesting features and characteristics of the house that was built in 1973.
A Clandestine Operation in Keppel Harbour
On 26 September 1943, a team of Australian and British commandos and sailors launched a daring raid on Japanese ships in Singapore’s Keppel Harbour. The covert attack, called Operation Jaywick, has been retold in a comic book titled The Victor Book for Boys: The Commandos at Singapore.
The Frying Pan Piano
The concert grand piano at the National Library Building once graced the stage of the Victoria Memorial Hall, though it was once criticised by many international pianists for its abysmal tone. Find out how it came to replace the original Steinway at the Memorial Hall, and how it ended up with such a reputation.
Professor Yu Chun Yee Performs on the Chappell Grand
Professor Yu Chun Yee previously taught at the Royal College of Music in London. At age 18, he won the prestigious Singapore Musical Society’s pianoforte competition in 1955 judged by Julius Katchen. Here, Yu plays on the recently refurbished Chappell grand once used by international pianists at the Victoria Memorial Hall. A cheaper replacement for the Memorial Hall’s old Steinway grand, the piano has a chequered history and was widely criticised for its tone. It is now a public piano at the National Library Building.
Interview with Rachel Heng
The Great Reclamation is a work of historical fiction set in Singapore that has received rave reviews from the New Yorker and the New York Times. A coming-of-age love story, the novel took Singaporean author Rachel Heng five years of research into topics such as land reclamation, the Japanese Occupation, and postwar politics in Singapore. We speak to her about her book, her research process, and the challenges of writing historical fiction.