The inaugural Peranakan Arts Festival and the 28th Baba Nyonya Convention from November 4 – 8 2015 have come and gone in a twinkle of an eye.
During this time, The Lawn at Empress Place and Victoria Theatre were turned into a festive celebration of Peranakan culture and ethos, in conjunction with SG50, Singapore’s jubilee.
The Convention, in particular, from 6 – 8 November, was celebrated with a record 350 delegates from 14 Peranakan associations from Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Australia, Singapore and even a delegate from Japan.
Convention highlights included:
– The musical comedy Bibiks Behind Bars, Kena Again!;
– The launch of the Marshall Cavendish publication, Being Baba, done in collaboration with The Peranakan Association Singapore;
– A full morning seminar in an engaging never-tried-before format that featured the likes of Cultural Medallion winners Ivan Heng and Alvin Tan, and renowned food consultant and chef Violet Oon; and
– The first ever Tok Panjang in the open grounds of Empress Place.
By all accounts of delegates, the Convention in Singapore was a qualified, enjoyable success. Delegates loved Richard Tan’s Bibiks Behind Bars Kena Again! – many laughed until they shed tears. They took to the book Being Baba (a compendium of selected articles from 20 years of The Peranakan magazine). They loved the new interactive seminar format, masterfully managed by Ivan, which allowed them to share in-depth views with passion with the larger Peranakan community from so many cities. Many were also touched to tears by the second play, Pintu Pagar, an excellent production scripted by Desmond Sim and staged with gifted actors.
The only let down was the food. Not the food quality, but its delivery. Particularly at the Tok Panjang. On behalf of the organizing committee of the Convention, we apologize unreservedly for falling short. We had the best of intentions and were committed to providing a grand, enjoyable time for Convention delegates. There were very painful moments but there were also very good moments. Valuable lessons have been learnt from the challenges and these will be shared with our friends from the Federation of Peranakan Associations in the region as they take turns to organize the annual Baba Nyonya Convention.
The 28th Convention was the very first time that the younger members of the Association like myself have been entrusted to conceptualise and take the lead. This is part of our Association’s vision that the continuity of the culture rests on the younger generation and the reins of leadership must be passed on eventually.
Having said all these, on behalf of the organizing committee of the Convention, I would like to thank our partner GenerAsia for putting tremendous energy and effort in helping us to organize the complex elements of the Festival and the Convention, the government agencies, our sponsors, volunteers and all participants who pitched in. We couldn’t have made it without you.
Most importantly, I would like to express our sincere appreciation to all Convention delegates for making time and effort to be part of our celebration.
To everyone, a big KAMSIAH.
See you next year in Phuket.
The 28th Baba Nyonya Convention