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Singapore Bicentennial 2019 by Milkcananime

As Singapore celebrates its 200 years this year, also known as Bicentennial, I take this occasion to draw some of Singapore's heritage using our own anime characters. The history of Modern Singapore began in the early 19th century with the arrival of the British East Indies and Sir Stamford Raffles. While Singapore had long existed in the centuries prior to the British arrival ­– as a settlement under various names such as Singapura and Temasek – it was the signing of the 1819 treaty that signalled the founding of Modern Singapore.



I usually draw in landscape mode using A3 drawing paper. I hardly sketch unless it is a geometry or vector design but jump straight to drawing. In designing this heritage piece, the first building I drew was the old Singapore National Library, followed by the Chinese Garden. The Central Fire Station was more complicated than I thought and this part took me the longest. Kakichan the Oyster and Algae Chan on the bumboat was the most fun to draw and I found myself constantly smiling. While the top portion seems a tad serious, the bottom portion was all kawaii and playful. All in all, this piece took me about 3 weekends to finish. From this point onwards, my illustrator Shiriel Corda took over and digitalized the artwork.


Explanantions (from top left to right) :

Central Fire Station
Completed in 1909, the Central Fire Station was Singapore’s first proper and modernised fire station. It was a three-storey building with an impressive lookout tower. The tower was used to spot fires in the vicinity.
Besides housing the firemen and their families, the station also had an engine house, a repair shop, a carpenter shop, a paint room and a training yard. The Central Fire Station is located at Hill Street.
Conservatory Shophouses
Typically, shophouses consist of shops on the ground floor which open up to a public arcade or "five-foot way", and which have residential accommodation upstairs. Shophouses, like terraced houses in England and townhouses in the U.S., abut each other to form rows with regular facade, with fire walls between them and adherence to street alignment.
These shophouses speak to us of Asian heritage and culture more strongly than almost any other structure does. Tourists often enjoy walking and taking pictures around shophouse districts because of the variety of colours used in their facade decoration. 
Singapore National Library (old)
The National Library had its beginnings in 1823 and was inextricably tied to the establishment of Singapore’s first major educational institution. Raffles laid the foundation stone in 1823 for the Singapore Institution and the building was completed in 1837. However, this national icon of Singapore which had survived through the turbulent times of World War II, but could not defend itself, was closed on 31 March 2004 and demolished in 2005 to make way for the construction of the Fort Canning Tunnel.
Singapore Chinese Garden

Designed by Taiwanese architect Prof. Yuen-chen Yu and built in 1975, the space is modelled after the northern Chinese imperial style of architecture and landscaping, particularly during the Sung dynasty period. The ‘Bai Hong Qiao’ bridge, for instance, follows the style of the 17-Arch Bridge at the Summer Palace in Beijing.

At the entrance of Chinese Garden, you’ll find a pair of majestic stone lions guarding its gates. Statues of these proud creatures have traditionally stood in front of imperial palaces, tombs and temples in ancient China, and are said to possess a mythical ability to protect.
Indeed the 13.5-hectare garden feels like a slice of ancient China transplanted to the west of Singapore, complete with a series of stone bridges, pagodas and a tea house.
Gasing (Spinning Top) – played by Moochan
The traditional game played mostly among the Malays in Singapore is the Gasing. The game resembles a wooden “grenade” (gasing) with a protruding metal tip. A rattan string is used to wrapped around the and the player has to throw and release the string to allow the top to drop and spin.

How it’s played:

Tie a string tightly around the top of the gasing.
Throw the gasing and pull back the string at the same time. The gasing that spins the longest wins!
In the spinning contest, the person who can afford to keep his top spinning for the longest amount of time wins the match. The top is usually launched and then carefully transferred onto a wooden panel to spin for as long as it can. Surprisingly, the current record stands at two hours! If you were playing the striking match however, you wouldn’t have to watch a top spin endlessly – instead, you’d be playing to topple your opponent’s top by deliberately striking their top with yours. The aim is to displace it and cause it to lose its speed and balance.
Batu Seremban (5 Stones) – played by Miwa Haruka
Batu Seremban is a game that is played with five stones. Seremban refers to the West coast of Malaysia where the game was brought to Singapore from. In the past, players used to substitute today’s pyramid-shaped cloth bags of sand or rice with actual stones or seeds.
The game of five stones is believed to have originated in Ancient Asia, during the Siege of Troy in 1184 BC. Played sitting down, the game that involves a complete set of eight steps, has been said to improve eye sight, memory, and concentration.
How it’s played:
Throw the five stones on the ground and select one stone. Then, toss it in the air.
With the same hand, pick up a second stone from the ground and catch the first stone very quickly before it touches the ground.
Now with two stones in hand, toss one of the stones into the air and pick up a third stone from the ground.
Next, throw one of the three stones in hand into the air, whilst picking up a fourth stone from the ground and attempting to catch the falling stone.
Finally, throw the fourth stone into the air and pick up the final stone on the ground.

The game of five stones has seen players invent many different variations, each with varying difficulty. Interestingly, this game has also travelled to many different countries and assumed different names such as Jackstones, Chuckstones, Dibs, Dabs, Fivestones, Otadama, Tally and Knucklebones.
Marble – besides Miwa Haruka
Also known as kelereng or goli, Goli is a game played with marbles. Made of either glass, clay, limestone, or plastic, the marbles are used to hit another players’ marbles in an attempt to claim them. The marble game is often played in a sandy area.

How it’s played:
Draw a circle on the ground and each player will place a marble in it.
Draw two parallel lines.
Throw the marbles from behind one of the lines.
Player whose marble is nearest to the opposite line starts the game.
Players then stand behind the opposite line and throw their marbles at the ones in the circle.
Player gets to keep the marble that is knocked out of the circle’s boundary.

Goli requires skill and accuracy to throw one’s marble to displace the others in the circle. Often, players miss the circle by throwing their own marbles too hard or aiming for packed areas of the circle that is more challenging to dislodge other marbles. The end of the game arrives when there are no more marbles within the circle anymore and one of the players has collected the bulk of the circles’ marbles for himself. This was one of the most popular outdoor games in the 70s and 80s.

Bumboats - rode by Kakichan the Oyster and Algae Chan

Bumboats were used in the Malay Archipelago for loading, unloading and transportation of cargoes, supplies and goods from ship to shore, and vice versa. In Singapore, bumboats are also called twakow or tongkang. They were once used extensively for transport purposes along the Singapore River, Rochor and Kallang rivers, and also along the coast of the mainland and other nearby islands.
The front of these boats are often painted with “eyes”, so as to enable them to see danger ahead. Old rubbers tyres fixed to the sides of these boats are used as shock absorbers in case of collision with the quay, jetty or other boats.

Life surrounding the bumboat is seen as the epitome of early Singapore’s entrepreneur spirits. Bumboats are often laden with all kinds of goods. Workers or “coolies”, each bare-backed with only a pair of trousers, carried the bulging sacks ashore, and walked precariously across a plank, connecting the water and land. Underneath the boat’s curved canopy are pails, pots and pans. The bumboats could have been their homes where they would also cook and wash up afterwards. A hard life for these illustrious workers who helped build Singapore to what it is today.
Since the Singapore river clean-up campaign in 1983, bumboats have been refurbished and given a fresh coat of paint with colourful illumination. They are now used as River-Taxis by licensed operators to ferry passengers – which comprises mainly tourists – along the Singapore River for sightseeing and pleasure rides up and down this historic waterway. 
Hopscotch – played by Amami Kisa (Queen Bee)

The children’s pavement game was said to have originated from the Roman Empire era, and became popular in England in the 17th century. After the Second World War, the game made a comeback in London, and its popularity soon spread to Malaya and Singapore.

Hopscotch was often called teng teng locally. The game was played by drawing a series of numbered squares on the ground – either scratched out on dirt grounds or with a chalk on concrete floors – and using pebbles or stones to “reserve” the squares. Due to the airplane-like outline of the square diagram, it was also known as the Aeroplane game.

In the game, each player would have to hop, skip and turn around, throwing his or her stones onto the squares to “occupy” them. According to the rules, the players could not hop onto an “occupied” square or stepped onto the outlines of the diagram. At the last square, often in the shape of a semi circle instead, the player would have to turn around and pick up the stone without seeing it. The first player to complete the game would be the winner. (Queen Bee sort of cheated in this game because she could "take-off" easily).
See more Singapore traditional games here
Trishaw rider – rode by Yushiko (cyclist) and Kimaru Chan (passenger)
A trishaw is a bicycle with a sidecar, powered entirely by the cyclist. The trishaw was a popular mode of public transportation in the immediate years following the end of the Japanese Occupation (1942 to 1945) in Singapore, but started to suffer a decline in popularity from the mid-1950s onwards. By the late 1970s, trishaw riders were regarded as a dying breed with most of them primarily involved in the tourism trade.
The average income of trishaw riders in the 1950s and 1960s varied depending on the number of hours worked and fares collected, which ranged from as low as $3 to $20 a day. Trishaw riders could charge $0.20 for every half mile or part thereof travelled. Alternatively, they could charge $1.50 for every hour or $0.40 for every additional quarter hour of travel. 
However, Trishaw rider’s life is harsh and they are often being prejudiced socially and considered to be from a lower socio-economic class.
You may download these illustrations as wallpapers for your computer.



As we celebrate the Singapore Bicentennial this year, let us take a step back to remember the heritage, history and our roots of what transformed Singapore from a third world to a first world nation and not to forget to pay tribute to our fore fathers whom had laid the foundation of what Singapore is today.

Written by Max Wong










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