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Death of print at Malay Heritage Centre


I can never understand why school bags have to be so heavy these days.

“Because all my books are in the bag!” offered Pangzi. “Text books, work books, jotter books, colouring books…”


Print is so yesterday.

To prove my point, I decided to take Pangzi to the Mereka Utusan exhibition at the Malay Heritage Centre and show him a trade that was past its time.


“Daddy, what’s wrong with books? I like books.”

“Everything is digital now. You don’t need paper. Your school bookshop should be burnt down,” I explained.


“But what has the Malay Heritage Centre got to do with books?” he asked, still clueless about why he ended up here.

Because I need an excuse to come here and you’ve just given me one, geddit?


The special exhibition at the Malay Heritage Centre, free to visit from now till June 2017, centres around the rise of the print industry in the 1920s here in Singapore.

“Up till the 1960s, publishing houses were still flourishing. Newspapers and magazines filled the racks, carrying important messages that helped shape modern Malay culture,” I continued.


“Daddy, then what happened?”

“Then print started to die. Today, we are all online. The publishing tools you see here at the Malay Heritage Centre belong to a piece of history.”


Pangzi looked dejected. I had succeeded in spoiling his day. “I like books…” he repeated.

“Get a grip. There’s always Facebook!”

“It’s not the same,” he protested feebly. Deep down, he must know it’s true.


“Go back and tell your teachers that I won’t sign your test papers anymore. Email me or something. They should find a way to run the school electronically.”

On this note, we left the Malay Heritage Centre.

Pangzi was inconsolable, but I was pretty satisfied with my day out at the exhibition.



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