Meet One of the Custodians of Chinese Culture in Singapore

Interview by Marc Almagro
Photography by Chino Sardea
20 Aug 2018

Mr. Low Sze Wee, CEO of the Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre, seeks to present Singapore’s unique Chinese culture in relatable and accessible ways to the public

We want to develop the Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre as a center of excellence, a platform where we can showcase the best of artists and art organizations in Singapore, which have an interest to promote Chinese art and culture in Singapore. At the heart of it, we want to reach out to young Singaporeans to get them interested, excited, and, more importantly, curious about their own heritage.

We hope that the center will be used well by our local artists and arts groups who are interested to promote arts and culture in Singapore in meaningful and accessible ways.

The Centre is a multi-purpose arts venue. We want it to be a platform for local artists and arts organizations to use to present their works. We have a range of spaces, from large venues like the auditorium and the multi-purpose hall, to smaller, more intimate spaces like our recital and rehearsal studios.

We want the Centre to be accessible to a wide range of audiences, not only those are already well versed and enthusiastic about Chinese art and culture. We want to use popular culture to reach out to younger Singaporeans to get them more interested in their own heritage.

One of our signature programs is the annual Cultural Extravaganza, a three-week cultural festival. Among the programs that we have organized for it was Masters of Comedy, a commission with theater company, Toy Factory, where we looked at the history of TV comedians in Singapore. We ended the festival with Sing.Lang, a major Mandarin pop song concert where local singers interpreted songs that were popularized or written by Singaporeans.

We hope that with this range of programs, young Singaporeans will come forward, enjoy and rediscover their roots and heritage.

One of our strategies is adopting a much more open definition of culture: Chinese culture is not limited to Chinese calligraphy or Chinese dance; a culture is much more open. It includes food, fashion, architecture – the world around us. I think with this approach, we can get young Singaporeans excited about their own heritage.