Singapore Chinatown Tour: Religious Layers
From Telok Ayer to Thian Hock Keng
Frederik Rettig has lived and worked in Singapore since 2004, the same year he got his Ph.D. in Southeast Asian history from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London. He has researched and published on Vietnamese soldiers and workers in the service of France and also co-edited a book on colonial armies in Southeast Asia. The region’s female warriors, heroines, and revolutionaries constitute another research area, most notably the Indian National Army’s women’s unit, which had its main training centre in Singapore’s old colonial district during the Japanese occupation. Married locally with two kids, Frederik brings his interests in human beings and their experiences to his tours. He believes that Singapore, at the crossroads between East and West and always at the forefront of modernity, is one of the best places to do so.
Jane Iyer’s love affair with Asia started on her arrival as a “wee lass” in Singapore (by boat!) in February 1963. A native Brit, life has ensured that she has boomeranged back to Asia - as a trailing teenager in 1970, followed by 2 stints as a trailing spouse from 1999, in the middle of which she sandwiched 6 years in New York City. She’s grasped opportunities to get involved, and sees her volunteer work with Friends of the Museums (FOM) as nothing less than life changing. She served as its President in 2003/4, has guided in 3 museums, coordinated the Explore Singapore! Team, led Study Tours to other parts of Asia and ran film and book groups. In 2015 she took the plunge to study to be a Singapore Tourist Guide and starting to set up regular tours following on from this. An excellent organiser and administrator, she’s a passionate ambassador for her adopted home of Singapore. Particularly interested in heritage and history, she is also a keen supporter of the performing arts.
Growing up in Czechoslovakia, Pavla set out to discover the world as soon as the Berlin wall collapsed, and at 22 she came to Singapore to study Mandarin. Her years living, studying and working in different countries plus her 2 “Third culture” children born to her and her Swiss / French husband, have given her a broad understanding and appreciation for diversity. After learning the art of tour guiding as a volunteer guide in the National Museum of Singapore and Malay Heritage Centre, Pavla chose to be a professional tour guide to share her passion for her Little Red Dot island of a home. With an interest in history, culture, architecture and languages, she loves connecting the cultural dots. Pavla’s caring and positive attitude ensures she easily relates to people with different backgrounds and walks of life.
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