Arts Picks


In one of the earliest accounts of social distancing in Singapore, a 1901 newspaper report describes how a house was cleaned and isolated after one of its residents, a 10-year-old boy, succumbed to the plague. The remaining occupants were sent to a quarantine station on St John’s Island.

A 1908 postcard of immigrants arriving on St John’s (photo) is among 39 artefacts assembled by the National Museum of Singapore, in a digital showcase that chronicles Singapore’s past experiences with infectious diseases.

Museum director Chung May Khuen says the showcase was put together in response to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. “We hope that Singaporeans will take heart that what is now considered the new normal has been experienced in some form in the past, and we will get through this crisis, just as we have before.”

Artefacts on show include a vaccination certificate issued during the Japanese Occupation, a set of acupuncture needles used in a traditional Chinese medical hall and a 1940 Hacks cough drops container.

The brand, produced by a British company, made headlines in 1962 when the Singapore High Court granted an injunction restraining a Singapore company, Asian Organisation Limited, from passing off its Pecto cough sweets as Hacks, a case which went up to the Privy Council in London.

The showcase includes a newly commissioned photo by Brian Teo of a masked family at East Coast Park in July this year, as part of the museum’s project to document the experience of Covid-19 in Singapore.

The museum invites the public to keep contributing objects and accompanying stories and photos to this initiative, Collecting Contemporary Singapore: Documenting Covid-19 In Singapore at



During Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, arts enclave Deck is exhibiting two bodies of works by Quinn Lum and Hun Ming Kwang, who make up art duo Hunny and Lummy, about connection.

In video installation Tipping Point (above), a man blows up balloons to bursting point in public. This footage is interspersed with shots of everyday scenes, like commuters on the MRT train.

In I Feel You, visitors can listen in as pairs of strangers hold hands and share some of their darkest stories.

WHERE: Deck, 120A Prinsep Street MRT: Rochor WHEN: Till Sept 27, noon to 9pm on Tuesdays to Sundays, closed on Mondays and public holidays  ADMISSION: Free INFO:


Ever wanted to play a part in the evolution of a serial short story? Now is your chance.

Comic author Suffian Hakim (above) has been writing a four-part horror story based on Ask Me Anything (AMA) prompts on Reddit.

Readers weighed in on whether they would rather read about the author being possessed by a hantu (ghost) or an Yishun family dealing with strange noises and inhuman voices in the flat next door. (They chose the latter.)

In subsequent chapters, they have been able to vote on minor plot developments – should the narrator’s nightmare involve his family members being attacked or eaten by otherworldly beings or being offered a Faustian bargain by the ghosts of his neighbours?

The project, which is presented by The Arts House with digital publisher Tusitala Books, will be taken up next month by Hedwig Anuar Children’s Book Award winner Xie Shi Min.

WHERE: WHEN: Till Oct 30. New chapters are published on Fridays at 5pm and live AMA Facebook sessions are held on Sundays at 8pm ADMISSION: Free


If there was ever a year to avoid getting married in, it would be 2020. Still, you can fall back on HuM Theatre’s nuptial comedy Here Comes The Bride, in which a well-planned Indian wedding teeters on the verge of disaster when the groom gets cold feet, driving his desperate parents mad.

It is the fourth and last in a series of HuM’s recent plays to be screened by India-based broadcaster Zee TV International in 17 countries.

WHERE: Zee TV, StarHub Channel 125 and Singtel Channel 646 WHEN: Sunday, 3pm ADMISSION: Free

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