by Loh Kah Seng, Alex Tan Tiong Hee, Koh Keng We, Tan Teng Phee, Juria Toramae
Published by Pagesetters Services Pte Ltd
Most of the old factories are long gone and many workers have retired. Combining history, memory and heritage, Theatres of Memory: Industrial Heritage of 20th Century Singapore takes a stroll through Singapore’s industrial past. From Jurong to Redhill and Kallang, the book uncovers the many hands that enabled the island’s transformation from a colonial entrepôt to an industrial nation.
Along the way, we will meet the pioneers of industry—government officials and production workers, men and women, Singaporeans and foreigners. We will hear laughter on the assembly line, descend into the quiet dark of the night shift, and relive the products once made in Singapore, from Rollei cameras and Acma refrigerators to carbonated soft drinks and Bata shoes.
About the Authors
Loh Kah Seng is a historian of Singapore and Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Western Australia. He is the author of several books, including Squatters into Citizens: The 1961 Bukit Ho Swee Fire and the Making of Modern Singapore (2013, shortlisted for the 2015 EuroSEAS Humanities Book Prize and 2018 Singapore History Book Prize), and Tuberculosis—The Singapore Experience, 1867-2018: Disease, Society and the State (co-authored with Dr Hsu Li Yang, 2020). He is interested in the varied histories and heritages of Singapore—housing, industrial, medical and culinary.
Alex Tan Tiong Hee graduated with a law degree and is a Trustee of the Settlement of Dr Lim Boon Keng (1921). He has a tremendous interest in history and heritage. He served as Honorary Secretary of Goh Loo Club, founded in 1905 as a meeting place for Chinese businessmen and community leaders. He also served as Council Member of The China Society and Honorary Secretary of the Singapore Heritage Society. He contributed to the book, World War II @ Bukit Brown by Claire Leow and Catherine Lim (eds.) (Ethos Books, 2016).
Koh Keng We is a historian and Assistant Professor at the Nanyang Technological University. He is the editor of Singapore’s Social & Business History: Through Paper Ephemera in the Koh Seow Chuan Collection (National Library Board, 2017). Tan Teng Phee is a historian and Chief Researcher at the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry. He is the author of Behind Barbed Wire: A Social History of Chinese New Villages in Malaya (1948- 1960), published in 2020.
Juria Toramae is a visual artist with a research-based practice. Working in the intersections of photography, cartography, installation and 310 moving image, she is interested in making visible histories and ecologies that would otherwise go unnoticed. Her work has been presented at international festivals and venues including the Singapore Art Museum, the Benaki Museum (Greece), the Chiang Mai University Art Centre (Thailand) and The Substation (Singapore).
Ly Nguyen is an urban planner based in Singapore. She graduated from Yale-NUS College where she majored in Urban Studies and gained an in-depth understanding of the city and its goods and evils. Her study and personal interest converge in the field of urban history, and specifically this book, which elucidates a crucial but less talked about aspect of Singapore’s development narrative.