The Peranakan Festival
The Peranakan Restaurant, Claymore Connect, 442 Orchard Road
27 May to 17 June 2017, Weekends only, 11 am to 6 pm.
If you’re scratching your head and wondering what’s new to do in Singapore over the next month (that’s not the Hari Raya Bazaar), then you’re my kind of people. I am here to tell you, the Peranakan Festival will salvage our bored minds.
Okay, sorry for the drama, but I am taking a vein from the Peranakan Culture. I just attended a preview of the festival, which features, dance performances, food, entertainment, aunties who sing and plenty of colours (really, colours), and witnessed first-hand the drama of being a part of a traditional Peranakan Festival. Everything from the curtains to the outfits, to the wardrobe and the food, had a little bit of enthusiasm, just the way it should – drama is the spice of life, no?
Spectators and festival enthusiasts (that’s you and me) can expect weekly traditional shows and performances in the areas that have been designated for this festival, at Claymore Connect. If you’re wondering where that is, its the mall adjoining Orchard Hotel (so you can park there, if you’re driving). Getting there isn’t much of an issue if you can brave the orchard road traffic on a weekend.
So, on to what you can really see and do: if you’re into poetry or watching cultural shows, they have a series of them lined up for you with Joget Joget performance (a traditional Peranakan dance) which you can be a part of if you wish. As Raymond Khoo, the organizer was telling me, not knowing how to dance is not a problem, they have the Nyonya Aunties to teach you how to shake your hips and wave your hands just right! The Peranakan culture is not just about song and dance, but love and poetry too, which can be witnessed with Dondang Sayang, a love ballad performed in Malay.
If you’re looking for a little more than just hip shaking or poetry recitals, then get your hands dirty in the arts and crafts workshops or the traditional cooking workshops held on the 3rd floor right next to The Peranakan (the organizing body and restaurant). Arts and crafts for kids will mean silk-screen printing and stamp carving, among others. The cooking course and workshops come at a fee of $50, where you not only learn to make dishes such as Nasi Ulam but walk away with a certificate and a recipe card. Not much of a hands-on person in the kitchen? No problem – they have free tastings of traditional Baba-Nyonya cakes, cookies and biscuits. Yes, I know I’ve really caught your attention now!
If you are pretty non-committal and just want to walk around, the exhibition is free for all. You can purchase some of the trinkets or traditional jewelry and ornamental pieces while walking around, or watch the making of Bunga Rempai, a traditional Peranakan Potpourri blend.