Intan

Located right at the heart of Joo Chiat, the Intan is Singapore's first private home museum that houses a large collection of Peranakan antiques, furniture and other objects that owner Alvin Mark Yapp collected over the last 20 years.

It was one of the four winners of the Museum Roundtable (MR) Awards, a first-ever national accolade handed out by the National Heritage Board in October 2011, to recognize and celebrate museum excellence in Singapore. Intan won best overall experience.

According to Alvin, who is a 7th generation Peranakan, it started as a journey of self-discovery, as he attempted to learn more about the history, traditions and lifestyle of the Peranankans. As time went by, he became increasingly fascinated with how the rich and multi-faceted Peranakan culture found expression in the decorative and beautiful artifacts, which explains why his collection grew larger and more diverse, with some pieces acquired from as far as Malacca, Penang, India, China and even England.

For the uninitiated, Peranakan is a Malay term which means locally born. There are three main groups of Peranakans, namely the Jawi Peranakans who are the descendants of intermarriage between South Indian-Muslim traders and women of the local community, the Chitty Melaka, descended from unions between South Indian Hindu merchants and local women, and finally the Peranakan Chinese, who are the descendants of Chinese traders who settled in Malacca and around the coastal areas of Java and Sumatra.

As Alvin puts it, The Intan, which means rose-cut diamond in Malay, is an ambitious attempt to reconcile the beauty of the past into a modern home setting. He hopes that it'll serve as a platform for examining and promoting Peranakan culture.

Contact Alvin at 9338 2234 to visit the museum.