Embark on a fantastical journey as you discover the heritage and culture of the Banjarese in Singapore. Immerse yourself in the experience. Let the sights inspire curiosity and stories spark imagination. Delight awaits you with each swipe.
Hop on the klotok. Where will you go?
The river whispers: Go with the flow…
From livelihoods that flow with the rivers running through Banjarmasin (South Kalimantan, Indonesia) to houses and textiles adorned with motifs such as snakes and stars, Banjarese culture is innately intertwined with their natural environment.
Hear the melodies playing in the distance.
Old and new, a harmonious co-existence.
Music plays an important role in any culture. For the Banjarese, it is central to celebrations, performances, and general listening pleasure. What is unique, however, is how it developed its distinctive style—with Javanese influences, and roots dating back to the Majapahit empire between the 14th and 16th century.
They celebrate the occasion, dancing away.
Graceful stories unfold with each bob and sway.
Every dance performed is a story told. Some speak of myths and legends, while others are offered as thanksgiving or prayer. Once reserved for royalty, dance performances are now often used to celebrate weddings and welcome honoraries.
Do you see something sparkling over there?
Look closer, precious stones are sprinkled everywhere.
The Banjarese are known for more than their distinct houses, unique melodies, and soulful dances. They are renowned for gemstones (most notably diamonds), their most precious export, which they used for bartering, and as tribute to rulers of other kingdoms. It is said that Banjarese diamonds have an exquisite shine that was highly sought after.
The sun is setting and the stomach grows hungry.
The loud rumbling turned out to be your tummy.
Banjarese cuisine draws from the culinary histories of the Dayak, Malay, Javanese and Dutch. This melting pot of influences makes Banjarese cuisine rich and varied. Kuih in particular is a speciality, namely the Talam Banjar and Bingka Ubi, which you can learn more by watching the videos.
The stars pepper the dark sky.
You ask for a story, with a twinkle in your eye.
When it gets dark, imagination comes out to play. Mythical characters and fantastic fables take the form of stories passed down from generation to generation—the most famous ones transform into shadow figures and take to the stage to put on a thrilling performance.
To a Lion City, we set sail.
When we reach land, we will tell our tale.
The Banjarese who came to Singapore were involved in the import and export of precious stones. With diamonds making up a large part of their business, they grew their fortune by providing specialised services in diamond cutting, polishing, and jewellery designing to sell to the discerning in Singapore.
The Banjarese who came to Singapore in the later part of the 19th century associated themselves with a trading or religious family legacy. First- and second-generation migrants who settled in Singapore’s early precincts also developed deep connections to the kampung and neighbourhoods they grew up in.