Saturday, 16 April 2011

Selections | Our guestbook

Over the years, the guest book at the NUS Museum has always been a repository of thoughts and reactions from our audiences in relation to the various exhibitions. From time to time, we task ourselves to peep into the book. Whilst this is by no means a "scientific" exercise in assessing audience behavior etc etc. it might be seen as a visceral (maybe even, self-indulgent) attempt at rationalizing for ourselves (as museum practitioners), the things we do and why...?
Two amazingly interesting and well-curated exhibits. “The Sufi and the Bearded Man” is highly important in its representation of a fast disappearing world of Malay Islam. I have asked my students to visit this exhibit and will continue to do so for as long as it runs. These are traditions that will soon disappear. Congratulations on having the courage and initiative to display them! Camping and Tramping through the Colonial Archive is also an incredibly useful resource for students of museology.  
- [signed] Emma Flatt (Asst. Prof. History Group, NTU) 
Thank you for putting together this exhibit. It is one excellent space in which we can interrogate the idea/physicality of the (colonial) institution of the museum. This alongside another concurrent exhibition “Silent Coercion: Sumatra’s East Coast Through a Colonial Lens” in the National Museum provides a much needed critical approach to museology. Collectively, they pose interesting and pertinent questions especially as we negotiate notions of postcoloniality in Singapore.
This exhibition was for me a damming indictment of the violence and trauma perpetuated by the subjugation of British Malaya to an unrelenting colonial gaze. How can one read of the richness and wisdom, in say, the healing practices and not mourn the loss that colonialism has caused, what with its disenchantment, sterile project of modernity?
 The Third World does not belong on the walls or behind the glass casings of the museum space. At the very least, we should be drawing on/mutilating these surfaces, and engaging in a spirited rewriting over/of the colonial archive.
- [signed] Beverly, Singaporean 
Some comments are more light-hearted:
I specially like “the sufi and the bearded man” exhibition. It is so real and after reading the captions, it somehow gave me “goosebumps!” go and see it and experience it yourself.
- [signed, but illegible] 2011
I love the healing bones! I was having a cough, once I touched it, I recovered! Anyone who needs healing, go find it! 
- [signed] James, 24/2/2011

Shabbir Hussain Mustafa (NUS Museum)

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