Games, tablets and theatre: tours explore new ways to delve into Singapore’s past

Contrary to expectations, the tours created an “intimate” experience by not having an in-person guide, two attendees said.

Mr. Rei Poh, a lecturer at Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts, participated in a tour “led” by a well-known dance veteran, and he said he felt like he was going back to the traces of the artist.

“I like the idea that there is no guide. I had a lot of freedom to observe and look at the things I wanted or to make the experience my own,” Poh said.

“I wasn’t just busy trying to follow someone…and it was very personal and intimate because of that.”

Ms. Tricia Lui, a tour guide who produced the tour with the Secretive Thing theater company, told CNA that one of the reasons for this virtual format was to allow participants to walk alone, in line with social distancing requirements in pandemic case.

But on the other hand, she feels the tours allow for a more emotional connection to a place and explore how the disappearance of places affects a person.

“How do you feel when places you know are no longer there, but only (exist) in your memory?” she said, when asked how the tours were different from others.

INTERACTIVE THEATER IN TANJONG PAGAR

Ms. Lui also helped write the screenplay for Somewhere in Time, an interactive tour produced by veteran tour guide Jean Wang and Theater Today.

In a bit of interactive theater that takes place in the Tanjong Pagar area, tour participants are signed up as race runners and must complete tasks to discover “hidden gems” and lesser-known stories about the district of preservation.

Ms Wang, who has been a guide for more than 40 years, said she used to take large groups of people, some of whom got off cruise ships for just a few hours, on short excursions. She thinks things will be very different after COVID.

“For me personally, I want to prepare for the new generation of foreign visitors, they’ll want something experiential,” she said.

So they created this tour for people to see things from the perspective of the rickshaw coolie and other laborers who would have worked there.

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