Sunday, November 29, 2009

My Baby Bling

I had a truly enjoyable day today. First, I went to the Peranakan Museum to catch the Baba Bling! exhibition, and after that went for the Peranakan Festival with the Biggest and Best Babazaar ever (more details in forthcoming post)!

I find that I am becoming a repeat visitor to the Peranakan Museum. That's the thing about a community museum, it generates repeat visitors from members of the community.

The Baba Bling exhibition was a revelation, mostly because I found out that a number of my great-grandmother's and grandaunt's pieces were on display, without my even knowing! My aunt (one of my dad's many cousins) had loaned them to the museum for the exhibition. I went home and asked my father about it. He asked my mother whether she remembered him mentioning (months ago) something about a reception at the Peranakan Museum for people who had contributed to the exhibition. Well, now. Guess who was definitely not told about that. And I wasn't even allowed to take any photos of my own great-grandmother's utterly gorgeous hairpins, belts, earrings and most of all, her truly stunning kerosang. Talk about family treasures.

I have written about my great-grandmother in a previous post. But I don't remember her well - I was only 6 years old when she died, after all. And I certainly don't remember her gorgeous jewellery. But my mother told me that at Chinese New Year, she would put my bracelet of little gold beads (tied together with a red string) on my little wrist together with the bangles my granny gave me. The beads, were apparently handed down from generation to generation. When I went to wish my great grandmother "Kong Hee Fatt Choy" on First Day, she would feel the beads on my wrists before giving me my lovely fat red packet. (My great-grandmother was partially blind.) My very own baby bling.

I had to pass on my bracelets to my younger brother when his turn came.  But can anyone tell me the significance, if any, of these bracelets?

P.S.  Just found some of the jewellery from the exhibition featured on this site.  Take a look at these beauties (my family pieces amongst them)!


  1. Almost a year later snce this post...I have to say the Baba Bling exhibition has arrived in Paris France.Since the 5th October 2010 and on to January 2011 at the Muséé du quai Branly but I only learnt of it recently.Its quite a success as many Europeans weren't aware of the existance of the Peranakan heritage.
    Its a wonderful exhibition and I had so many flashbacks of my childhood years in Katong whilst going through the exhibit hall.I especially loved the bridal room.
    I met up with S'pore born but Paris based designer Andrew Gn who was there too and we were amazed at the beauty and intricate details of the exhibition as a whole.We also giggled at how some visiters thought the Peranakan Heritage exhibition was about a lost tribe recently discovered in the Malaysian jungle.
    I hope this exhibition goes on to other countries as well especially London and New York to carry the Peranakan flag.It would surely make the day of the many Peranakan communities spread around the world.I'm told there's a big one in Australia.

  2. Dear Jean,
    Thanks for the great update. I'm so glad that we have a chance to share our heritage with other parts of the world.

    Oh dear, I really can't think what my grandmother would say if someone told her she was a member of a lost tribe. She would probably give a disgusted look and say "alamak"!



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