Hidden in a laneway behind Balestier Road is a quaint heritage two-storey villa turned memorial hall. The Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall is one of the top museums and national monuments in Singapore.
Architecturally, this colonial villa is representative of its time with large verandahs and windows, a sitting area above the porch, Corinthian columns and cast iron railings. More importantly, it is a tapestry of the Island's history, specific to the story of Dr Sun Yat Sen, his revolutionary activities in the Southeast Asia (SEA), and Singapore's involvement in the 1911 Chinese Revolution in Mainland China. In fact three out of 10 of Dr Sun's uprisings that overthrew the Qing dynasty and created the Republic of China in 1912 were planned in this villa.
The villa dates back to 1900 and started life as the residence of a wealthy Chinese merchant, Boey Chuan Poh. It continued as a home to Teochew businessman Teo Eng Hock's mother and was renamed as Wan Qing Yuan. The residence played host to Dr Sun Yat Sen during his visits to Singapore.
By 1937, it was in the hands of the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce and was transformed into a memorial hall dedicated to Dr Sun in 1940 with funds from the Nanjing government. Since 2009, the National Heritage Board has been managing this venue.
Many of the contents and artifacts in the memorial hall trace Dr. Sun's revolutionary activities in Southeast Asia and highlight the impact of the 1911 Chinese Revolution on Singapore as well as Singapore's contributions to the revolution. Collectively, they connect Singapore's history to the 1911 Chinese Revolution. You can stroll galleries which introduce the key Chinese community leaders and local Chinese pioneers who contributed financial and in-kind support to Dr. Sun's revolution in the early 20th century.
There is information that explains Nanyang as a base for the 1911 Chinese Revolution including the Huanggang Uprising of May 1907, the Zhennanguan Uprising of December 1907, and the Hekou Uprising of April 1908. You can also learn more about the impact and influences of the revolution on Singapore's Chinese community. The venue plays host to many special exhibitions and events during major festivals like Lunar New Year and Mid-Autumn Festival.
Admission is at a very affordable $6 for adults and $4 for kids and senior citizens. Singaporeans and Permanent Residents gain free entry. You can access free guided tours of the permanent galleries and special exhibitions conducted by Friends of the Museums (Singapore), Mandarin Docent group and Museum Volunteers group.
Cost:Adults $6.00 / Person with Disabilities, Senior Citizen (60 years old and above) Children (6 to 12 years old), Students $4.00 / Free admission for Singaporeans, Permanent Residents and children under 6 years old / Family Package of 5 (not exceeding 3