The 1950s and 1960s was a tumultuous period of change for Singapore. From self-governance (1959) to its merger with Malaya (1963) and then to independence (1965), it was a time when Singapore was beset with uncertainties and challenges as it sought an identity it could call its own. Despite the political turbulence and social unrest, children growing up in those times were still able to enjoy happy childhood years.
This gallery offers insight on the experiences of growing up in Singapore during the 1950s and 1960s through familiar social spaces where children would have spent most of their time. In kampongs (Malay for “villages”), schools and popular entertainment values, children found friendships and experienced an emerging local identity. Through personal anecdotes and interactive installations, relive the gotong royong (Malay for “community”) spirit that laid the foundation of a multi-racial Singapore and girded its post-war generation as they forged their dreams and aspirations.