On volunteering for the Singapore Bicentennial

When I learnt about the Singapore Bicentennial, I felt it was the perfect match for me! As a foreigner in Singapore, it gives me an opportunity to piece together the history and culture of a nation by documenting the oral history of her people. There are many reasons I would recommend people to be a part of this. But if I can share just one, it would be that these stories will inspire Singaporeans to explore more stories around them and potentially rediscover their own roots.

There are many reasons I would recommend people to be a part of this. But if I can share just one, it would be that these stories will inspire Singaporeans to explore more stories around them and potentially rediscover their own roots."

Sunanda Verma
Singapore Bicentennial Volunteer

Piecing together history from memories

I have met some wonderful people and documented some incredible stories. I recently interviewed a gentleman who belongs to one of the oldest Sikh families in Singapore. Mr Charanjit Singh traced his family links to Mr Ishwar Das Kohli, the first Punjabi interpreter to be recruited by the British to Singapore in 1893. That journey of discovery was both exciting and humbling for him.

On admiration for migrant homemakers

I particularly admire the community of immigrants and migrant homemakers. Mostly women, the onus of building relationships in the neighbourhood lies on them. They go the extra mile in overcoming language barriers and loneliness. Often unacknowledged, they provide the emotional foundation that a family builds on. The people I have interacted with for my projects reaffirms my belief that these women are at the heart of integration among communities.

Future aspirations for Singapore and Singaporeans

I hope this will rekindle an interest in the oral history of Singapore, and encourage families to rediscover their treasure trove of memories. The better we understand them, the more we will be able to develop for the present and our future.

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