Rihlah: Arabs in Southeast Asia Exhibition

The “Rihlah – Arabs in Southeast Asia” Exhibition is held at the Exhibition area on Level 10 of the National Library Building from 11 April to 10 October 2010.

The exhibition showcased photographs and artifacts ranging from ceramics, personal documents to musical instruments and artifacts ranging from shipwreck treasures to musical instruments conveying stories of the migration of Arabs to Southeast Asia and the cultural exchanges and adaptations that took place which is pivotal to the theme Rihlah (an Arabic word for Journey).

Dr Varaprasad doing the Zafin dance

The Rihlah Conference was officially launched by Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr George Yeo on 10 April 2010. The launch was attended by 300 guests and partners, including artifact contributors and members from the Arab Community. Guests were treated to a dinner with authentic Hadhrami cuisine and Zafin music and dance. Dr Hilarian Francis gave a guest performance on the lute and Dr Varaprasad gamely showed a few Zafin dance moves himself!

Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr George Yeo hosted a welcome dinner for delegates attending the 2nd Asean-Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Ministerial meeting at the National Library Building on 31 May. Ahead of the meeting, 20 delegates from the various Asean countries including Brunei’s Prince Bolkiah, Foreign Minister for Cambodia Hor Namhong, Foreign Minister for Indonesia Marty Natalegawa, Foreign Minister for Laos Thongloun Sisoulith, Foreign Minister for Malaysia Anifah Aman visited the exhibition.

In conjunction with the exhibition, two publications, a commemorative book entitled “Hadhrami Arabs Across the Indian Ocean: Contributions to Southeast Asian Economy and Society,” and an annotated bibliography entitled “The Hadhrami Arabs in Southeast Asia with Special Reference to Singapore” were published by National Library Singapore.

For more information on the Rihlah events, visit rihlah.nl.sg.

Contributed by the National Library Singapore