Tuesday, January 1, 2013

My Humble Abode

Step inside this private residence to find a treasure trove of Peranakan antiques

executive summary by darmansjah

In the heart of Joo chiat, singapore's first heritage town and a traditional Peranakan enclave, The Intan's owner, Alvin Yapp leads an intimate group of us up a flight of stairs lined with a multi-coloured collection of tingkats-multi-tiered tiffin carriers. As we feast our eyes over the ornate detailing in the Paranakan wardrobe, dressing table and wedding daybed, we cannot help but notice a door. "That leads into my living quarters," Alvin says with a smile. Yes, The Intan is both Alvin's museum of Peranakan antiques as well as his private residance.

"I have been collecting Peranakan antiques for more than 20 years. Given the lack of literature and research on Peranakan culture at that time, it was a way to learn about my own culture. After numerous requests from friends and family for visits to view the collection and to understand more about the Peranakan culture, The Intan was born in 2002," explains the seventh generation Peranakan. The Peranakans refer to the descendants of early Chinese immigrants to the Straits Settlements in Malaya who had married and integrated wit hlocal Malays and Indonesians.

Meaning "rose-cut diamond" in Malay, The Intan hosts regular private Peranakan teas and dinners events which comes along with a personal guided tour of the houses and its collection by Alvin himself. Unlike any regular museum tour, a visit to The Intan is akin to visiting a friend's home, where Alvin's sharing of his personal stories provides one with an intimate appreciation of the Peranakan heritage, indentity and culture.

This being Alvin's private residence afterall, The Intan onley takes visitors by appointment (the-intan.com).

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