Singapore Night Festival (SNF) is back after a two-year hiatus with a plethora of light installations, performances, experiential programmes, a festival village and more. 

The focus of this year’s SNF is the intriguing stories of the Bras Basah.Bugis (BBB) precinct. This area will be lit up from 19 Aug to 27 Aug, 7:30 pm to 12 am. Additionally, you can look forward to joining the Heat Of The Night Race and Mystery Thru Time Competition (Scroll all the way down for details!) 

Read on to learn about the six landmarks in the BBB area. The information may help you win prizes in the contests!

  1. The Cathay 
The Cathay was known as Singapore’s tallest building until 1954, when the status was taken by the Asia Insurance Building. Photo Credit: Vivian Goh

The Cathay Building first opened in 1939 with a cinema in the front block. It’s the first public place in Singapore to have air-conditioning. Two years later, its 16-storey apartment tower behind the cinema was completed, making Cathay the tallest building at the time. 

During the Japanese occupation of Singapore, Cathay became home to the Japanese Broadcasting Department. Inside the theatres, pro-Japanese propaganda films were screened. Outside the building, severed heads of looters and others who defied Japanese rule were displayed. 

In 2003, Cathay Building was gazetted under a new monument preservation scheme. Its art deco facade was preserved while the rest of the building was redeveloped and reopened in 2006. 

The Cathay Cineplexes closed in June this year – after 83 years in operation. Taking its place is the Projector X: Picturehouse, whose soft launch will coincide with the opening night of SNF. You can check out this new outlet. 

Also, look out for a play titled Cathay Hotel: The Curse of the Missing Red Shoe at Cathay Green during the SNF. It’s a story about how two lovers were separated due to a mysterious curse. 

CHIJMES was named after the initials of the original school on-site,
Convent of the Holy Infant Jesus (CHIJ) Photo Credit: Shannon Gan

CHIJMES’s current site used to house the English-medium Convent of the Holy Infant Jesus (CHIJ) schools and the Chinese-medium St. Nicholas Girls’ School. It also has a chapel, an orphanage and a boarding house.

In 1983, the schools relocated due to redevelopment plans. Their buildings were demolished and rebuilt into the headquarters of Singapore’s Mass Rapid Transit. The rest of CHIJMES, including the chapel, was gazetted as a national monument in 1990 before it’s turned into a commercial complex. 

During the SNF, you will see a projection mapping by Jo Ho and Intriguant on the front of CHIJMES Hall. Titled Through Worlds, it’ll bring you through the history and imagined future of CHIJMES.

  1. Fort Canning Park
Enjoy the tranquillity of nature and see some ancient relics at Fort Canning Park.
Photo Credit: Shannon Gan

The idyllic Fort Canning Park is where many residents hang out for picnics, performances and exercises, but rumour has it that the hill on which it sits is haunted as it’s the resting place for ancient rulers like Iskandar Shah. In fact, the hill was originally named Bukit Larangan or Forbidden Hill. 

When Stamford Raffles arrived in Singapore in 1819, he built his first residence on the Forbidden Hill, which was subsequently known as the Government Hill. 

Some 40 years later, the governor’s residence was moved due to security concerns, and an artillery fort was built on the hill, which was then renamed Fort Canning. In 1981, Fort Canning Hill and the expansive green spaces around it were renamed Fort Canning Park. 

The park will make its SNF debut this year. You can catch Chloë Manasseh’s mural, Under My Tree Root, at the park’s spiral stairway. You can also find Lynette Quek’s Tunnel Graffiti at the park’s Tree Tunnel.

  1. National Museum Of Singapore
The National Museum of Singapore aims to inspire the world with stories
about Singapore and the world. Photo Credit: Shannon Gan

Did you know that the National Museum of Singapore was originally named Raffles Library and Museum when it opened in 1849? It’s well known for its collection of artefacts and specimens from a wide range of fields such as zoology, geology and botany.

In 1960, the museum was separated from the library and was renamed National Museum. 

When Singapore gained independence in 1965, the museum started to focus more on the nation’s cultural heritage. All zoological specimens were shifted to the Zoology Department at the National University of Singapore (NUS). 

During the SNF, you can check out a projection mapping titled Stories from Forbidden Hill by Maxin10sity at the National Museum.

Look out for an illuminated glass staircase inside the museum too – courtesy of artist Victoria Hertel. There’s also an installation titled We Can No Longer Be Strangers After This by Perception3,  which highlights changes in the post-pandemic world. 

  1. Stamford Arts Centre 
Stamford Arts Centre has three blocks that house various professional art companies.
Photo Credit: Justin Lee

Stamford Arts Centre (SAC) is home to four companies: Shantha Ratti Initiatives, Ding Yi Music Company, p7:1SMA Ltd and the Traditional Arts Centre. They specialise in traditional arts forms from each of Singapore’s major ethnic groups.

The building used to house a Japanese elementary school from the 1920s to 1941 – when it shut due to WWII. During the Japanese Occupation, it was reopened as the First National People’s School. After the war, it became home to two different schools before it was redeveloped as SAC in 2019. 

At the Night Festival, you can look forward to Justin Lee’s installation, Celebration of Life+Style, at the building. The installation aims to question the impact of technology on our daily lives. 

You can also catch performances like Percussive Rhythms and join a series of art and craft activities like the Singa Rangoli workshop.

  1. Stamford Court Clock Tower
Look out for the projection mapping on the front of Stamford Clock Tower done by students from Ngee Ann Polytechnic’s
Media Post-Production (MPP) diploma during this year’s Singapore Night Festival. Photo Credit: Lueur, Ngee Ann Polytechnic

Decorated with glass panels and brown-coloured marble, Stamford Court is the youngest building in the list.

It’s built in the 1990s to replace the former EU Court, a 72-year-old art deco building owned by prominent businessman Eu Tong Sen. 

The National Heritage Board (NHB) is now located in the Stamford Court building. 

Be sure to make a stop at the Stamford Court to check out various projection mapping artworks on its clock tower. 

One of them is titled Madeleine, a pop art-style piece by Lueur, a 5-member team from Ngee Ann Polytechnic’s Media Post-Production diploma. They will take you on a journey through the BBB precinct with their stories in the projection. 

There’s also Glitches of You by Amanda Tan and The Melting Pot by Adeline Tan and Benedict Teo

Join These Contests

1. Mystery Thru Time Competition

From now till 7 Aug, you can take part in the Mystery Thru Time competition. Follow the @sgnightfest’s Instagram page and start solving riddles by 10 pm everyday. You will stand a chance to win prizes like Grab vouchers. 

2. Heat Of The Night Race

Gather your friends and families to solve riddles about different landmarks in the BBB area. You can find clues if you visit the National Museum on 19 – 20 Aug or 26 – 27 Aug, from 7:30pm to 11pm.

To take part in the self-guided race, you have to pay an entry price of $10 per person. A bundle deal is available for group entries. Attractive prizes up for grabs include dining vouchers and a staycation at The Capitol Kempinski Hotel Singapore.

The UrbanWire wishes you the best of luck!

This piece is sponsored by the National Heritage Board.

Proofread by Nashita Farveen, Effa Serena, Shanice Zhuang, Darrius Chua and Nnurul Shakinah