[On Paper] The Orang Laut of Singapore: Past, Present, Future

  • Language: English
  • Target Audience: Adults
  • Category: Singapore & S.E.A
Availability: 2
Thu, 22 Aug, 2019, 7:00 PM - 8:00 PM (GMT+8)

National Library

Level 5 - Possibility Room

100 Victoria Street

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  • Language: English
  • Target Audience: Adults

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This talk examines the Orang Laut (Sea People) as indigenes of Singapore, placing them in geological, archaeological, historical and current contexts. Learn about their connections to the Orang Laut of the Riau Archipelago (an archipelago comprising some 3,200 islands) in present-day Indonesia.

As sea levels are set to rise globally  in the next few decades, what can we learn from the Orang Laut’s modes of adaptation to a similar phenomenon some 7,000 years ago?

About the Speaker
Dr Vivienne Wee is an anthropologist who has conducted extensive field research in Singapore and Indonesia, especially in the Riau Archipelago. She has a PhD in Anthropology from the Australian National University and holds a MSocSc in Sociology from the University of Singapore, and Bachelor’s degrees in Music and Anthropology from the University of Minnesota.

This programme is held in conjunction with the upcoming exhibition On Paper: Singapore Before 1867. 

Maps, private and official documents, paintings and photographs found in libraries and archives are the main sources of information used to write Singapore’s early history. Visitors to On Paper: Singapore before 1867, will be able to explore the variety of materials that have and can be used to understand our histories and our understanding of our historical narrative. This includes significant documents such as a 17th century map showing the presence of a harbour-master on Singapore island, the 1824 Anglo-Dutch treaty as well as records like wills, watercolours and photographs that provide rare glimpses into the otherwise unknown lives of ordinary people in early Singapore. On Paper presents a rare treat, exploring an under documented period of our history.


On Paper: Singapore Before 1867
28 September 2019 – 22 March 2020
Level 10, Gallery
National Library Building


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