The Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall (SYSNMH), a heritage institution managed by the National Heritage Board, traces Dr Sun Yat Sen's revolutionary activities in the Southeast Asian region and highlights Singapore and Nanyang’s contributions to the 1911 Revolution, as well as the impact of the 1911 Revolution on Singapore and Nanyang in general. The revamped memorial hall, which re-opened on 8 October 2011, houses a collection of interesting artefacts including original photos, paintings and calligraphy works handwritten by Dr. Sun.
Located on 12 Tai Gin Road, the revamped SYSNMH is decorated in the style of an old Peranakan house and contains five galleries spread over two levels. The first gallery on the ground level introduces the origins of the name Wan Qing Yuan and provides the backgrounds of Singapore’s three pioneers: Teo Eng Hock, Tan Chor Lam and Lim Nee Soon, who contributed to Dr. Sun Yat Sen’s cause and the 1911 Revolution. The walls of this gallery are lined with old photographs and the showcases display various books, calligraphies, pocket watches, letters etc. that tell the stories of the three aforementioned pioneers and their relationships with Dr. Sun.
The second gallery on the upper level focuses on the founding of Tong Meng Hui (Chinese Revolutionary Alliance) Singapore branch by Dr. Sun Yat Sen at Wan Qing Yuan and offers a brief introduction to the 1911 Revolution at the turn of the 20th century. The gallery also displays the various forms of revolutionary propaganda in Nanyang as well as the letters written by revolutionary martyrs to their families. It contains a re-creation of Dr Sun’s study room, early scenes of Singapore, the story of Singapore’s Chinese population, satirical cartoons and the iconic “Blue Sky, White Sun and Red Earth” flag adopted by the Chinese Nationalist government as its national flag after 1928.
The third gallery is preceded by a corridor showcasing the ten failed uprisings which ends with a towering newspaper wall featuring reports from newspapers all over the world about the success of the Wuchang Uprising on 10 October 1911. The entrance to the gallery features a timeline tracing the key milestones in the life of Dr. Sun Yat Sen which begins with the establishment of the Republic of China in 1912 and ends with his death (due to illness) in 1925. It also contains the certificates and medals presented by Dr. Sun to his various supporters, and showcases the continued support from Nanyang even after the establishment of the Republic of China as well as the social reforms in China and Singapore after the success of the 1911 Revolution.
The fourth gallery presents the impact of the 1911 Revolution on Chinese communities in Singapore and the Malay Peninsula in the areas of modern education, vernacular literature, print culture and economic development. More specifically, it explores the establishment of Chinese schools, the rise of vernacular literature, the importance of print media in garnering support from the local Chinese community and the Chinese community’s core economic activities.
Finally, the fifth gallery on the ground floor functions as a space for the memorial hall to present temporary exhibitions and ensures that repeat visitors to the memorial hall will always have something fresh to look forward to.