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Hero Picture : Devotees at Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple 1962 Courtesy of National Archives of Singapore

Along Waterloo Street, a devotee from the Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple walks two doors down to the neighbouring Sri Krishnan Temple to offer prayers.

This is a common sight in the area, where temples, churches, a mosque and a synagogue are all within a stone’s throw of one another. These houses of worship stand as testaments to the diverse communities who lived, worked and played side by side around Queen, Waterloo and Bencoolen Streets in Singapore’s Bras Basah.Bugis precinct, exemplifying the values of understanding and openness that have allowed them to exist and thrive together.   

Cathedral of the Good Shepherd 1900s [Courtesy of National Archives of Singapore]

Cathedral of the Good Shepherd 1900s Courtesy of National Archives of Singapore

With the launch of Harmony Walks by the National Heritage Board (NHB), you will be able to embark on free guided walks along Queen, Waterloo and Bencoolen Streets and learn more about the commonalities shared by diverse communities in the areas of religion, culture and built heritage.

Devotees at Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple 1962 Courtesy of National Archives of Singapore

Devotees at Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple 1962 Courtesy of National Archives of Singapore

The Queen, Waterloo and Bencoolen Streets Harmony Walk covers a total of seven religious institutions – Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple, Sri Krishnan Temple, Maghain Aboth Synagogue, Cathedral of the Good Shepherd, Church of Saints Peter and Paul, Kum Yan Methodist Church and Masjid Bencoolen. 

Maghain Aboth Synagogue - Courtesy of the Preservation of Sites and Monuments National Heritage Board

Maghain Aboth Synagogue - Courtesy of the Preservation of Sites and Monuments National Heritage Board

Queen, Waterloo and Bencoolen Streets were originally part of a European quarter according to the Raffles Town Plan, which was published in 1828. However, by the mid-1800s, significant numbers of Eurasians, Chinese, Indians, Jews, Malays, and other communities had settled in the area, bringing with them their respective religions and cultural practices.

Maghain Aboth Synagogue - Courtesy of the Preservation of Sites and Monuments National Heritage Board

Maghain Aboth Synagogue - Courtesy of the Preservation of Sites and Monuments National Heritage Board

These communities engaged with and embraced one another, and continue to do so to this day, establishing a brand of cultural and religious harmony that is integral to Singapore and its people.  

Participants of the Queen, Waterloo and Bencoolen Streets Harmony Walk can look forward to discovering more about the commonalities that have helped bridge the gap between the different communities.

Participants will also hear about the everyday interactions between communities that have helped cultivate a better understanding and acceptance of their social and cultural differences. For instance, the Maghain Aboth Synagogue is served by a family of Hindu cooks and custodians, who have become masters of kosher cuisine.   

Discover common practices found across different spiritual and cultural traditions. Both Muslims and Christians practise fasting, the former during the month of Ramadan and the latter during the period of Lent.

The Queen, Waterloo and Bencoolen Streets’ two-hour guided Harmony Walk will be held weekly from 23 November 2019 to 31 March 2020 (not inclusive of public holidays and with a break between 9 and 31 December 2019).

Registration for walks from April 2020 to June 2020 will be available from February 2020.

The walks will be conducted on Saturdays starting Saturday 23 November at 9:00am , then Sundays at 4:00pm or on the last Friday of every month at 4:00pm 

Registration for the guided walks is available HERE
 

Comments

Rated
7.5
Richard
ELITE
831 comments
25 November 2019
This is a common sight in the area, where temples, churches, a mosque and a synagogue are all within a stone’s throw of one another. These houses of worship stand as testaments to the diverse communities who lived, worked and played side by side around Queen, Waterloo and Bencoolen Streets in Singapore’s Bras Basah.
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Rated
8
Event
CONTRIBUTOR
2 comments
15 November 2019
The National Heritage Board (NHB) was formed on 1 August 1993. As the custodian of Singapore’s heritage, NHB is responsible for telling the Singapore story, sharing the Singaporean experience and imparting our Singapore spirit. NHB’s mission is to preserve and celebrate the shared heritage of our diverse communities, for the purpose of education, nation-building and cultural understanding. It manages the national museums and heritage institutions, and sets policies relating to heritage sites, monuments and the national collection. Through the national collection, NHB curates heritage programmes and presents exhibitions to connect the past, present and future generations of Singaporeans. NHB is a statutory board under the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth. Please visit www.nhb.gov.sg for more information.
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