Yip Yew Chong's hand-painted bumboats on exhibit at Asian Civilisations Museum till May 31, 2023

One way to spend the June holidays.

Winnie Li | May 27, 2023, 03:06 PM

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If you are looking for something to do this weekend, especially one that is family-friendly, here's one option for your consideration.

Local artist, Yip Yew Chong, is currently exhibiting his installation titled "At work on the River" in front of the Asian Civilisations Museum (ACM).

The showcase will end on May 31, 2023.

What to expect

According to Yip's Facebook post, the installation comprises a fleet of at least nine hand-painted bumboats, along with a few crane lorries picking up goods from the boats.

At night, the bumboats will light up. Here's what they look like:

Image via Yip Yew Chong/Facebook

Interestingly, the number painted on one of the boats, SC1795, happened to be a permutation of the 4D number that won a consolation prize on May 21, 2023.

Screenshots via Yip Yew Chong/Facebook & Singapore Pools

Not bad.

Significance of the installation

In his post, Yip said that his installation reimagines the Singapore River teeming with bumboats ferrying goods between the ships anchored offshore and warehouses that lined the river bank.

Between the bumboats and warehouses, the goods were carried either by coolies manually on their shoulders or using lorry cranes.

In 1984, this scene disappeared when the last phase of the Singapore River clean-up exercise started, the artist shared.

The bumboats were relocated to Pasir Panjang, warehouses were rehoused in industrial parks, and residents were resettled in HDB flats.

Singapore HeritageFest 2023 programmes

While you are at ACM, you can also check out the various Singapore HeritageFest 2023 programmes, which Yip's installation is a part of.

Although the tickets for most of the events have been sold out, you can still catch the following three programmes on May 28:

Our Amazing Pioneers! with Shawn Seah

Time: 1:30pm to 2:30pm

Admission fee: Free

Venue: Discovery Room, Basement

Image via Asian Civilisations Museum

During the session with author and speaker Shawn Seah, audiences can learn more about the stories of pioneers who are immortalised in Singapore's street names, such as Eu Chin Street, Liang Seah Street, and Seng Poh Lane.

Seah will also explore the pioneers connected to the Aljunied and Bendemeer MRT stations.

The event is suitable for children between the ages of six and 12.

Playtime by the River! with Tina Sim

Time: 3:30pm to 5pm

Admission fee: S$20/parent-child pair

Venue: Discovery Room, Basement

Image via Asian Civilisations Museum

During this workshop, participants will be introduced to the buzzing Singapore River in its heyday and learn more about the bumboats that carried cargo down the waterway.

You can also make your own origami version of the bumboats and re-imagine the Singapore River by drawing it out.

Tina Sim and Alan Bay, the author and illustrator for Time Travel, Singapore! Our Singapore River, respectively, will conduct the session jointly.

The event is suitable for children between the ages of five and 10.

You can get your tickets here.

Move It! Drama performance

Time: 11:30am and 2:30pm

Admission fee: Free

Venue: Auditorium, Basement

Image via Asian Civilisations Museum

In this interactive drama performance, audiences will be able to sail through the seas and brave the storms with Sang Nila Utama, who will narrate the tale of his journey on a ship from the island of Bintan to Singapore.

The event is suitable for children between the ages of four and 10.

You can find out more about the Singapore HeritageFest 2023 here.

Top image via Yip Yew Chong/Facebook