Singapore once named as ‘tricky place to stay’

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via Straits Times, 10 October 2018: More behind Singapore’s name, according to old records!

Singapore River. Source: Straits Times

Singapore River. Source: Straits Times

Singapura, as explained by some Portuguese authors in the 16th century, is translated from its original language in Malay into Portuguese as falsa demora, which means the wrong or tricky place to stay.

Meanwhile, the name Barxingapara, which appeared in maps in the early 1500s, can be broken down as follows: “bar” means a kingdom of a coastal region, “xin” means “China” and “gopara” or “gapura” is the word for “gateway”.

Dr Borschberg’s talk is part of the ongoing Nalanda-Sriwijaya Centre’s lecture series called 1819 and Before: Singapore’s Pasts, organised in the lead-up to the bicentennial next year. The first lecture in the series took place in July.

Source: Singapore once named as ‘tricky place to stay’, Singapore News & Top Stories – The Straits Times

Categories: Singapore

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[Lecture] Portuguese and Dutch Records for Singapore before 1819

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Readers in Singapore may be interested in this talk tomorrow at ISEAS.

Portuguese and Dutch Records for Singapore before 1819
Date : Tuesday, 9 October 2018
Time : 10:00 am – 11:30 am
Venue : ISEAS Seminar Room 2
About The Lecture
In the mid-1950s, a young lecturer in the history department at the University of Singapore named Ian MacGregor embarked on an ambitious project to research the history of pre-1800 Singapore and Malaya by using Portuguese documents. His findings were published in three articles in the Journal of the Malayan Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society between 1955 and 1957. The untimely death of this researcher ended abruptly what appeared to be a promising trajectory in writing the history of Singapore and the region. For the past two decades, research on the Portuguese and other early European sources touching on the region in the 16th and 17th centuries has intensified and, thanks to modern IT facilities that provide easier access to archival materials worldwide, the question has resurfaced as to what the value of the Portuguese sources might be for identifying important events in Singapore’s pre-modern history. This has become especially important against the backdrop of the ongoing preparations for the Singapore Bicentennial in 2019. This seminar should be seen as a contribution to the historiography of pre-1800 Singapore insofar as it critically engages with the different types of materials at hand, compares them with other period European sources, and reviews some of the different materials that have been published in recent years.

[Job] Visiting Fellow (Archaeologist) – Nalanda-Sriwijaya Centre

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via the Nalanda-Sriwijaya Centre. Position open for an archaeologist with a PhD. Applications close on 15 October 2018.

The Nalanda-Sriwijaya Centre (NSC) invites Archaeologists to apply for the post of Visiting Fellow:

Primary Responsibilities:

  • Prepare and conduct the annual NSC Field School for undergraduate-level students in a Southeast Asian country.
  • In-charge of editing and soliciting papers for the Archaeological Report Series.
  • Conduct and publish original archaeological research on Southeast Asia while at NSC.
  • Assist NSC in the organisation and management of conferences, workshops and seminars.
  • Contribute to ISEAS collective research and public outreach efforts.

Requirements:

  • A PhD. in Archaeology
  • Expertise in Southeast Asian archaeology and/or premodern history.
  • Experience in conducting archaeological excavations or field work in Southeast Asia.
  • Good organisational and student-management skills.
  • High level of editorial and writing skills in English.
  • Ability to speak a Southeast Asian language preferred.
  • Positive work attitude, great communication skills, and ability to work under tight schedule.

A remuneration package commensurate with experience and ability will be provided. Contract for two years with option for renewal. Those interested are invited to submit a cover letter; updated CV; research proposal; two sample writings; and two reference letters to:

Senior Manager (HR),
ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute,
30 Heng Mui Keng Terrace,
Singapore 119614
Or email to positions@iseas.edu.sg

Veteran archaeologist to conduct six-week dig at Fort Canning

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2012 photo of Prof. John Miksic at Fort Canning

via Straits Times, 01 September 2018: Prof. John Miksic is conducting a new excavation of Fort Canning Hill, a significant archaeological site in Singapore at the invitation of the National Parks Board in the lead-up to Singapore’s bicentennial in 2019. Note: Article is behind a paywall, but I found the full text on the NUS Southeast Asian Studies blog.

2012 photo of Prof. John Miksic at Fort Canning

2012 photo of Prof. John Miksic at Fort Canning

The lives of Singapore’s ancient rulers and people who worked in the royal Malay palace at Fort Canning Hill are being probed further by a pair of archaeologists.

Speaking to The Straits Times, veteran archaeologist John Miksic, 71, said he will be co-leading an excavation at the historic Fort Canning Park for six weeks from this weekend with Associate Professor Goh Geok Yian, 46. It will be Professor Miksic’s 13th dig at the park.

The National Parks Board invited Prof Miksic to conduct the dig as part of its overall restoration works at Fort Canning Park. This comes in the lead-up to Singapore’s bicentennial next year. The park will be the venue of the main bicentennial showcase.

The archaeologists will be assisted by a team of students and volunteers as they work in a large 10m by 5m pit near the park’s Spice Garden.

The area, which is also near the Registry of Marriages and the Keramat Iskandar Shah, has been interpreted as a 14th-century palace workshop after an earlier discovery of a “large charcoal feature” where iron tools were likely used.

Archaeologists had also found thousands of glass beads as well as small fragments of gold and clay crucibles at the site.

On the upcoming excavation, Prof Miksic said: “It is a significant site because it has the densest concentration of 14th-century artefacts in undisturbed soil anywhere on Fort Canning. We are likely to find a mixture of Chinese, Malay, South-east Asian, and Indian artefacts. The only question is whether we will find any new kinds of objects which we have not found before.”

The hill was once home to what was likely a large palatial complex dating back to the 14th century. A keramat or shrine was also located there – it was named after the last king of Singapura, Sri Sultan Iskandar Shah. He spent three years as king of Singapura before the island was invaded by the Majapahit empire at the turn of the 15th century. When Singapura fell, Iskandar Shah fled to Johor and eventually founded Melaka.

According to Prof Miksic’s book, Singapore And The Silk Road Of The Sea, 1300-1800, an initial dig at Fort Canning in 1984 ascertained that the hill had been occupied in the 14th century. Pottery made in China during its Yuan dynasty was discovered there.

Next year, a dedicated heritage museum is set to open at the three-storey conserved Fort Canning Centre, and will include artefacts dug up from Prof Miksic’s earlier excavations there.

Archaeologist Lim Chen Sian said: “It’s a very large hill so the excavations conducted there so far are only the tip of the iceberg. There is potential to find more materials from the Temasek period. It would be nice to look back in time in the lead-up to the bicentennial.”

Source: Veteran archaeologist to conduct six-week dig at Fort Canning, Singapore News & Top Stories – The Straits Times

[Job] Faculty Position in Museum Studies & Heritage Studies – NTU 

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via ASEMUS. Deadline is 30 September 2018

The School of Art, Design and Media at NTU Singapore is looking for an Assistant / Associate Professor in Museum Studies & Heritage Studies.

Background
Young and research-intensive, Nanyang Technological University (NTU Singapore) is ranked 12th globally. NTU is also placed 1st among the world’s best young universities. The School of Art, Design and Media (ADM) at Nanyang Technological University (NTU Singapore) invites qualified academics / professionals to apply for a faculty position as Assistant/Associate Professor in Museum Studies & Heritage Studies.

In August 2018, the School of Art, Design and Media (ADM) and the Centre for Contemporary Art (CCA) at NTU Singapore are launching the region’s first Master of Arts in Museum Studies and Curatorial Practices. The successful candidate, in his/her role as Assistant/Associate Professor in Museum Studies & Heritage Studies, after a period of orientation, is expected to play a central role in driving this graduate programme forward and helping it develop on an international stage in the years which follow.

ADM is concurrently developing a teaching and research focus in Museum Studies & Heritage Studies which values innovation, critical thinking and leadership throughout the entire curriculum. Accordingly, the successful applicant will be expected to teach and conduct research in an interdisciplinary mode, and across a variety of fields which may include: Heritage Studies, History and Future of Museums, Museums in the Digital Age (Museum Informatics, Museum Technologies, Museums and the Web), Material Culture, Visitor Interaction, Program Leadership, Management, Educational Programmes and Methodologies, Digital Visualisation and Representation Technologies, Image Processing, Dynamic Monitoring and Structural Analysis of Monuments and Museum Objects. Other visual culture courses in the candidate’s area of specialization would be most welcome.

Qualifications
A PhD degree as well as a strong record of university level teaching, research, supervision and publishing, are desirable. Preference will be given to candidates with 1) expertise in interdisciplinary teaching at the advanced undergraduate and/or graduate level, 2) record of published research, 3) previous experience in museum leadership / management or collections research.

Experience in working with digital technologies such as 2 and 3D documentation, geographic information systems (GIS), remote sensing, spatial technologies, augmented and virtual reality, would be seen as an advantage.

Source: Faculty Position in Museum Studies & Heritage Studies | Singapore – Asia-Europe Museum Network

[Lecture] Ten Years of Archaeological Research in Indonesia: Highlights from the National Archaeology Research Centre

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Readers in Singapore may be interested in this lecture at ISEAS on Wednesday.

Ten Years of Archaeological Research in Indonesia: Highlights from the National Archaeology Research Centre
Date: 08 Aug 2018
Time: 10:00am – 11:30am
Venue: ISEAS Seminar Room 2

About the Lecture
The National Archaeology Research Centre (PUSLIT ARKENAS) was established shortly after Indonesia’s independence, on the foundations of the Dutch colonial Antiquity Service (Oudheidkundige Dienst, 1913). For about 105 years after its creation, PUSLIT ARKENAS has conducted archaeological surveys and research on land as well as underwater throughout the archipelago. The last ten years saw groundbreaking discoveries from the prehistory to the WWII periods. These discoveries will be presented at this seminar. These endeavors range from the Harimau cave, a site once inhabited by the Sriwijayan people on the estuary of Musi River (South Sumatra), to the early Mataram period Liyangan settlement site in Java, on the slope of Mt Sindoro (9th c.), and lastly, the WWII shipwreck of the German U-boat which sank in the Java Sea.

About the Speakers
Bambang Budi Utomo is an archaeologist at the Indonesian National Archaeology Research Centre (PUSLIT ARKENAS). He has participated in numerous research projects in Java, Sumatra, Kalimantan, and Lesser Sunda over the years. He has also written for various national newspapers and served as a reference source for semi-documentary films produced by private television stations. His primary research focuses on the Sriwijaya and Malayu periods, specifically on the influences of Sriwijaya in Java, Sumatra, Kalimantan, the Malay Peninsula, and Southern Thailand. More recently he has used maritime archaeology and history to try to understand Sriwijaya from a maritime cultural perspective in the hope of helping Indonesians understand their strong maritime connections that come from living in an archipelago.

Shinatria Adhityatama graduated from Gadjah Mada University in 2012 with a BA in Archaeology. He has been a maritime archaeologist at the National Archaeology Research Centre (PUSLIT ARKENAS) in Jakarta, Indonesia since 2013. He is an experienced diver with more than 400 logged dives since 2006. Shinatria has been involved in domestic and international maritime archaeology training and maritime archaeological projects in Indonesia and Australian waters, including the exploration of a German U-boat in Java Sea in 2013; the exploration of prehistoric maritime culture in Misool Island, Raja Ampat in 2014; a survey of the HMAS Perth in the Sunda Strait in 2014; the exploration of underwater archaeology in the outer islands of Indonesia; Natuna Island in 2015; research for shipwrecks around Belitung Island in 2015; the Fortuyn Project in 2016; submerged prehistoric landscapes in Matano Lake in 2016; and the HMAS Perth project in 2017.

War relic detonated at construction site in Singapore

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via Channel NewsAsia, 30 July 2018:

The Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) on Sunday (Jul 29) detonated a war relic found at a construction site along Woodlands Road.

In a Facebook post on Monday morning, SAF said that its Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) team was activated at 11am on the day the relic was found and assessed it to be a 15cm-high “explosive projectile”.

Read more at https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/war-relic-detonated-at-construction-site-along-woodlands-road-10573328

Source: War relic detonated at construction site along Woodlands Road

Categories: Singapore

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[Lecture] The Orang Laut and the Realm of the Straits (Negara Selat)

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Readers in Singapore may be interested in this talk by Leonard Andaya on Wednesday.

The Orang Laut and the Realm of the Straits (Negara Selat)
Date: Wednesday, 25 July 2018
Time: 10.00 am – 11.30 am
Venue: ISEAS Seminar Room 2

About the Lecture
When Raffles visited the island of Singapore in 1819, he found only a few scattered houses of the Orang Laut and some Malay followers of the Temenggung of Johor. Still heavily forested, there was no evidence the island could ever rival the port city of Penang, established by the British in 1786. However, it was not the island but the seas around it that were its key geographical feature.

The straits off Singapore were the major thoroughfares for trading ships from Europe, Middle East, and India in the west, and China, Japan, Korea, and Ryukyu in the east. The Malays, who occupied both sides of the Straits, were the primary beneficiaries of this trade, but they relied heavily on the services of their allies, the Orang Laut or Sea People.

Yet the role of the Orang Laut has been largely forgotten or ignored. A contributing factor is the historian’s gaze which has been largely landlocked and unable to comprehend that the “few scattered houses of the Orang Laut” masked the reality of a thriving community pursuing a maritime lifestyle.

This presentation will examine the historical evidence in an effort to restore the Orang Laut to their rightful place as major players in the history of the world of the Straits from early times to the nineteenth century.

About the Speaker
Leonard Y. Andaya received his BA from Yale University and his MA and PhD from Cornell University. He is at present professor of Southeast Asian history at the University of Hawai’i, and has written extensively on the early modern period, particularly of Indonesia and Malaysia. His most recent publications are Leaves of the Same Tree: Trade and Ethnicity in the Straits of Melaka (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 2008); (with Barbara Watson Andaya) A History of Early Modern Southeast Asia (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015); and (with Barbara Watson Andaya) A History of Malaysia, Third Edition (London: Palgrave, 2017). He was the Tan Chin Tuan Professor in Malay Studies at NUS in 2011-2012 and is currently the inaugural holder of the Yusof Ishak Chair in the Social Sciences at NUS. He is currently writing a history of eastern Indonesia in the early modern period.

Angkor exhibition at Asian Civilisations Museum extended till July 29

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via The Straits Times, 09 July 2018:

Lifestyle News -SINGAPORE – The Asian Civilisations Museum (ACM) has extended its exhibition Angkor: Exploring Cambodia’s Sacred City by a week till July 29, 2018.. Read more at straitstimes.com.

Source: Angkor exhibition at Asian Civilisations Museum extended till July 29, Lifestyle News & Top Stories – The Straits Times

[Talk] Why Was There No Singapore Before Raffles?

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Readers in Singapore may be interested in this talk at ISEAS next Wedneday

Why Was There No Singapore Before Raffles?
Date : Wednesday, 18 July 2018
Time : 10:00 am – 11:30 am
Venue : ISEAS Seminar Room 2

This seminar will examine issues in the writing about the history of Singapore before 1819. Sir Stamford Raffles and Dr John Crawfurd, the second Resident of Singapore, lead in reporting that Singapore was uninhabited before the British arrived. Generations of historians have concurred with this description of Singapore at 1819 and gone further to claim, as former Professors K G Tregonning and C M Turnbull have done, that whatever may have happened on Singapore before 1819 is irrelevant to the island’s historical development thereafter. This seminar explores the assumptions underlying this understanding of Singapore’s history and how the work at the Nalanda-Sriwijaya Centre is challenging and revising these assumptions.