Friday, 3 January 2014

Diary of an NUS Museum Intern: Christabelle Ong (2)

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!

We have a special treat for readers of this series! We invited some of our summer interns to give an update to their original post - what else did they work on during their internship, what's happening to them now, how did the internship benefit them?


Christabelle Ong is a second-year NUS History major. Since her internship ended, she has continued exploring her interests in history and heritage. She currently volunteers at the NUS Baba House as a docent, giving guided tours to visitors. For Christabelle's original blog post, please click here.

Interning with NUS Museum, or the NUS Baba House to be specific, has been such an amazing experience for me. At the end of my internship, I was given the opportunity to continue working with the museum and I immediately took that offer up. There were a couple of events that were organised by the NUS Baba House that I had to work on and at the same time, I continued to give tours during my free time.

When I first started giving tours at the NUS Baba House, it was a nerve-wrecking experience. I had to sieve through a lot of information in my head before I started, and constantly practice and prepare for what I have to say to the crowd. After a couple rounds of tours, I grew in confidence. Now, it has been more enjoyable for me as I do not have to constantly worry about what I am going to say or what information I might have left out, instead spending more time interacting with the crowd. However, I was rather saddened that not many locals came for the tours. The Peranakan culture is our very own unique culture in Singapore and I hope that in the near future, more Singaporeans would take some time off to come down and experience the house. It will be a remarkable experience and one will get a glimpse on how prestigious several influential Peranakans were during the 1920s.

Other than giving tours, I was also working on a conference together with my supervisor Poonam. NUS Baba House celebrated its 5th year anniversary this year with a couple of special evening tours and a conference held to discuss the topic "The Peranakan Community in the Era of Decolonization and Globalization". The day before the conference, NUS Baba House organized a dinner to thank all their docents, donors as well as the speakers for the conference. I was tasked to handle the catering for the dinner and it was big responsibility! I would be in trouble if there were no food! Nevertheless, everything went really well during the dinner and everybody complimented the catered food.

NUS Baba House collaborated with NTU Chinese Heritage Centre to organize a conference in conjunction with the NUS Baba House 5th anniversary. The topics that the different speakers touched on were really fascinating as it provided new insights for me into viewing the Peranakan community as a whole. The speakers broached issues ranging from politics to business and even literature. This gave the participants at the conference a better understanding of the Peranakan community.

Despite the fact that all I mainly undertook was the administrative side of the conference and the dinner, I felt that it helped me to develop administrative skills, which will be essential in the future for whichever career path I am going to take on. The experience that I have gathered here will stay with me forever and I am very glad to have been part of the NUS Museum family. I am definitely looking forward to more fruitful experiences with the museum! 

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