Singapore’s bicentennial year is an interesting time, isn’t it? While everyone seems to be jumping on board the ‘Raffles Landing’ train, not every project is as fascinating as The Future of Our Pasts Festival, or TFOOPFest for short. Running for a whole month from 16 February to 17 March 2019, the festival showcases projects by students and graduates from different tertiary institutions in Singapore and abroad. This covers everything from immersive performances and public installations to web documentaries and exhibitions — and they really are intriguing.

As Professor Tan Tai Yong from TFOOPFest’s steering committee puts it, “If I had to explain in one sentence what The Future of Our Pasts is trying to achieve, my response would be this: to get more people in Singapore interested in history through stories.”

ORchard: A Stroll Between Valleys

Did you know that the Orchard Road vicinity used to be an area full of natural depressions during the 1840s? Neither did we. Through decades of development, the physical terrain was flattened to become Singapore’s prime shopping belt, concealing nature under a forest of steel and concrete. Then again, it’s more or less the same across the city. ORchard: A Stroll Between Valleys exposes Singapore’s continuous battle with nature and in turn, lesser-known layers of Orchard Road’s history through a series of artefacts and walking tours.

When: 19 February to 14 March 2019 (Exhibition), 23 February & 9 March 2019 (Walking Tours)

Where: Outside Ngee Ann City, 391 Orchard Rd, Singapore 238872

What it costs: Free admission to the exhibition and $10 for walking tours with registration here.

Remembering Sungei

Many of us will remember visiting the Sungei Road Thieves Market during the occasional weekend, strolling down the makeshift lanes searching for vintage treasures and the most random of knickknacks. While it is now long gone, it’s definitely not been forgotten. This exhibition examines the link between value and heritage in Singapore, focusing on objects sold at the market and featuring video interviews of Sungei vendors. Through their intriguing stories, Remembering Sungei offers new insight into issues surrounding the market’s closure.

When: 20 February to 3 March 2019

Where: DECK, 120A Prinsep Street, Singapore 187937

What it costs: Free

Sarong Party

As Singapore commemorates the 200th anniversary of Raffles’ landing, The MadHatter Project — you know, that local band that mishmashes pop-rock music with theatre and poetry? — is putting on a little celebration of their own. Set to imaginative music like you’ve never heard, the multi-disciplinary show party explores what the left behind and how Singapore has contended with these legacies ever since its independence. And with a title like Sarong Party, what’s not to like?

When: 22 & 23 February 2019

Where: LASALLE College of the Arts, Flexible Performance Space

What it costs: Free with registration here.

Factory (Super)Women

Who are the women that helped pave the way towards Singapore’s economic success? The documentary Factory (Super)Women heroes these very people, providing them a platform to remember, reminisce, and reflect about their own experiences. From the stress and struggles of the production line to the sense of sisterhood among their fellow workers, the work — inspired by project creator Wei Han’s mother and grandmother’s own past — is bittersweet and so very important. Besides the film screening, go on guided tours of an exhibition that includes snippets from interviews with the factory women and learn how to sew from the women who pioneered Singapore’s textile industry.

When: 23 & 24 February 2019

Where: Jurong Town Hall, 9 Jurong Town Hall Rd, Singapore 609431

What it costs: (Super) Sewing Session priced at $5 per pax. Other activities free with registration here.

Rojak Romance

As common as mixed-race couples are in Singapore, it comes with its own mixed bag of problems. Should they change their religion? Should the kids be brought up this way or that way? And gosh, what kind of wedding should they hold? Rojak Romance is a documentary that follows Tinesh and Jane (a Malaysian Ceylonese Tamil male and a Chinese American female) as they meet each other’s families and explore how to exist as a mixed-race couple in Singapore. Following the screening, there will be a post-show dialogue with Tinesh, Jane, and the filmmakers.

When: 10 & 16 March 2019

Where: The Projector, Singapore 199589 & Indian Heritage Centre, Singapore 209924

What it costs: Free with registration here.

The Future of Our Pasts Festival is running from 16 February to 17 March 2019 at various locations around Singapore. See the full programme here.