Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Book launch: Peranakan Tiles Singapore

I was invited to Victor Lim's book launch on Peranakan Tiles Singapore, a first ever book that features the beautiful tiles often found in Peranakan houses in Singapore and also in Bukit Brown. It was a labor of love for Victor, who also happens to be a volunteer guide in Bukit Brown with his growing knowledge and collection of this tiles, he partnered Anne-Pinto Rodrigues and working together for the last 8 months or so, this coffee table book of sorts saw light. I am thankful to Victor for his personal invite to the event that was held at the Peranakan Museum and whose guest of honor was Baba Peter Wee (a descendant of Tan Keong Saik)

Book launch e-invite 

A copy of the book which i bought 

Victor Lim with Anne-Pinto Rodrigues
I remember Victor recounting his story of how he, as a young lad back in 1971 witness Singapore breakneck development. Part of the major changes that took place was the destruction of old buildings along Rochor Road (at the current Sim Lim Square site). The old buildings according to his account had a lot of beautiful tiles that were not been salvaged when it was demolished. Making friends with the building contractors, he and his friend manage to collect some of this tiles for free. This led to a life long journey of him becoming a collector of authentic peranakan tiles and eventually starting a tile company called Aster by Kyra Pte Ltd that is able to reproduce or customised this tiles based on the Peranakan designs. Victor also speaks passionately of the need to conserve what's left of the peranakan tiles has a intangible heritage and legacy of the peranakan community.

At the end of the launch, there was light refreshments that were served on top of reproduction peranakan tiles that participants of the book launch got to keep as gifts ! What a wonderful idea.
My article will not talk about the book itself, for that you should get a copy ! But it does help me is to understand and reference further the origins of the tiles based on its design, i.e whether it is from England, Belgium, Japan, etc. If you cannot find the book in major bookstores yet, try the Peranakan Museum Shop.

Below are some the wonderful tiles i saw during my exploration of Bukit Brown, a heritage park which is a place which many personalities are buried and also contains many artifacts of rich historical value.

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