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On Saturday, 21 May, I oversaw a team in organising a Vesak Day Commemoration at Haw Par Villa.

I believe this was the first Vesak Day event held in the 85-year-old park in years.

The commemoration started with Vesak Day blessings conducted in the Culture Courtyard.

We wanted to show unity in diversity. Hence, we invited six monks representing three major schools of Buddhism - Theravada, Mahayana, and Vajrayana. They were also of various ethnicities, such as Chinese, Thai, Burmese, Sinhalese, and Tibetan.

Vesak Day blessings at the Culture Courtyard. Credit: Courtesy of Ms Lee Lay Na (volunteer photographer of Tibetan Buddhist Centre).

Credit: Courtesy of Ms Lee Lay Na (volunteer photographer of Tibetan Buddhist Centre).

Credit: Courtesy of Ms Lee Lay Na (volunteer photographer of Tibetan Buddhist Centre).

The blessings were followed by a procession around the park to bless the space. The procession stopped at major Buddhist figures such as Gautama Buddha, and Guan Yin, the Bodhisattva of Compassion.

After two years of strict social distancing measures and online events, it was great seeing the monks physically lead the procession in paying respects.

Credit: Courtesy of Ms Lee Lay Na (volunteer photographer of Tibetan Buddhist Centre).

Moving forward, Vesak Day will be one of the key events on Haw Par Villa’s calendar, in recognition of the significant number of Buddhist elements in the park.

All communities are welcome in Haw Par Villa to celebrate or commemorate festivals. The aim is to create a common space for all.

Hell’s Museum was more than four years in the making, but just four months after its opening, it has become the #1 museum in Singapore on TripAdvisor.

It’s also #12 in terms of “things to do in Singapore” on TripAdvisor, and it has an average rating of 5 stars on Google Reviews, with more than 200 ratings.

Many visitors lauded the museum in Haw Par Villa for its educational value with regards to beliefs and practices associated with death and the afterlife. Some were initially apprehensive about the entrance fee, but later conceded that the experience was value for money.

Very proud to have overseen the project.

The next challenges are to maintain the standard and keep the experience fresh and up-to-date.

A big thank you to all visitors and supporters!

Today, 15 February, is the 80th Anniversary of the Fall of Singapore.

Eighty years ago on this date, Malaya Command, the Allied army which defended Malaya and Singapore during World War II, surrendered unconditionally to the Japanese 25th Army.

It was my honour to emcee the Commemoration Ceremony at Kranji War Cemetery this morning.

Credit: Andrew West / Singapore History Consultants Pte Ltd.

The Ceremony honoured those who had made the ultimate sacrifice in the defence of Malaya and Singapore, and sought to foster a spirit of peace and reconciliation among former combatant nations.

It brought together diplomats and representatives from seven nations - Singapore, Japan, Australia, Canada, India, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom.

Poppy wreaths and tsuru (Japanese paper cranes) were laid at Kranji War Cemetery's Singapore Memorial.

Members of the Japanese community laid tsuru made by students of The Japanese School Singapore, to reflect the universal wish to heal the wounds of war and continue on the road of reconciliation.

Watch the Facebook livestream of the 50-minute Ceremony here.

Lest We Forget