impact storiesImpact Stories

3rd Quarter 2019

For Love Shines: An Ode to 200 Years of Philanthropy in Singapore

For Love Shines: An Ode to 200 Years of Philanthropy in Singapore

To celebrate Singapore's Bicentennial, Temasek Shophouse in partnership with NUS ACSEP (Asia Centre for Social Entrepreneurship & Philanthropy) presents the exhibition For Love Shines: An Ode to 200 Years of Philanthropy in Singapore to celebrate the spirit of kindness, love, and philanthropy through the country's history.

Philanthropy is an important part of our Singapore story and ACSEP's landmark research documents our deep roots in giving. The public can take a walk through time to discover the evolution of philanthropy through heartwarming and meaningful displays from 21 August to 31 October 2019.

As Singapore evolved into the modern city-state it is today, the needs of philanthropy also changed with the times. The research findings by NUS ACSEP identifies different facets and mechanisms of giving over the various eras in our history. Even in Singapore’s early years (1819–1866), philanthropy was integral to colonial Singapore’s landscape. The focus of philanthropic works at that time was on meeting primary needs such as building places of worship, burial, and basic healthcare.

Family philanthropy began to emerge in the mid to late 1800s, where many children of first-generation philanthropists carried on the generous giving and leadership of their fathers. Intellectual influences from the West began to shape the worldviews of philanthropists, leading to increased philanthropic efforts in providing formal and English education.

The 1900s saw the first Asian women philanthropists who were gaining prominence in the local social scene. Grassroots philanthropy supporting local and/or non-local communal purposes was a common occurrence in this period, alongside relief efforts during WWII and the Japanese Occupation. In the post-war years, philanthropic efforts supported government work in reconstruction and alleviating social problems.

Philanthropy in Singapore transformed drastically with independence in 1965 and the rapid economic development that followed. A wider ecosystem was formed by the public-private-people sectors, which are complementary in their contributions to meet social needs. Philanthropists and corporations also moved towards more institutionalised ways of giving with the emergence of new and more inclusive models of philanthropy.

Ms Cheo Hock Kuan, Chief Executive Officer of Temasek Trust, said: "We are pleased to be able to partner NUS ACSEP in bringing this important showcase of Singapore’s philanthropic history to life at Temasek Shophouse. This exhibition is aptly part of Singapore’s Bicentennial celebrations — as we continue to evolve as a nation, it is important for us to remember our heritage even as we look for new pathways to make a meaningful difference to society and the community at large."

Find out more about the exhibition at Temasek Shophouse’s Facebook page here.


About Temasek Shophouse

Nestled along downtown Orchard in a heritage building constructed in 1928, Temasek Shophouse stands today as a place where business and community, enterprise and philanthropy, hardware and heartware all come together under one roof. Its facilities include an event space and an embedded social enterprise café, a rooftop garden, co-working spaces, meeting and function rooms, and offices for the staff from Temasek Trust, Temasek Foundation and Stewardship Asia Centre.



Related Articles

Quick Links