Monday, 24 February 2014

Diary of an NUS Museum Intern: Chua Kai Shyan

Note: Diary of an NUS Museum Intern is a series of blog posts written by our interns about their experiences during the course of their internships. Besides working hard and fast in their cubicles, our interns have travelled to Bandung and Malacca, organised symposiums, waded through tons of historical research and pitched in during exhibition installations. If you would like to become our next intern, visit our internship page for more information!

3 Temasek Junior College students joined the museum for the month of January as part of their Wonder-Observe-Weave! (WOW!) programme. Read on to find more about their experiences!


Our main focus on our attachment here at NUS Museum was famous artist Mr Ng Eng Teng. What made Mr Ng and his artworks especially distinctive from the rest, was the fact that we had two of his precious artworks located on our very own college! Throughout our internship we were able to have the chance to read through archives of his works and also research on the artist himself. It really is a great honour to be learning about such a famous and respectable artist.

We had two tasks related to Mr Ng Eng Teng and his artworks. The first was to write an article for our local school publication, the Temasek Times, while the other was to plan and carry out a school exhibition to help our friends in college learn more about Mr Ng, his artworks (especially those located in school!), and about NUS Museum. The amount of discussions and planning that went into completing these two tasks were endless. It really made me realize how much more important the planning process was compared to executing it.

Another thing I enjoyed was researching on the history of Mr Ng Eng Teng’s artworks in our college, the mural The Light of Life and the sculpture Pioneers of Temasek. Tracing our college’s history back to more than 30 years ago was no easy feat. It was obvious that the information we were missing about the artworks would not be available on the Internet. Who knew the answer to our questions could be found within our own college, and no – not in the school archives -- but actually from one of our college’s teachers! I was so grateful that a member of our college’s pioneer batch was still teaching here. He was able to share with us lots of information and stories that we would never have been able to find anywhere else. It really was an eye-opener, knowing that in this modern age of technology and the Internet, we can still learn much from stories told from those above us.

Holding the exhibition in college was indeed very fun and enjoyable. It was a great feeling having people come up to our booth in school and ask us about Mr Ng and his artworks. Knowing how some students graduate from college without even knowing the existence of Mr Ng’s artworks in college, we knew we could at least make a difference and educate others to help them know how special our school actually is. I also enjoyed making a short video about Mr Ng’s works in college!

Interning here at NUS Museum also gave us the chance to visit the Baba House. I especially loved this tour because the Baba House enabled visitors to experience how typical Peranakan homes looked and functioned in the 1920s, in such an intimate way. The tour guide was very professional and led the tour very well. Even though she was just a volunteer tour guide, she knew everything there was to know about Peranakan culture, and even know about how their lives were back then. Her passion really is something I look up to, and I really respect people like her who give their all in sustaining culture and going a step further to help others learn more about it.

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