; ;

1st Kristang Language Festival

culture and heritage Community Learning

Kristang is the critically endangered heritage language of the Portuguese-Eurasian community in Singapore , with less than 100 elderly native speakers.

The 1st Kristang Language Festival will be held in Singapore in May 2017 and will invite Kristang speakers, Eurasians, writers, poets, teachers, linguists, and other important figures from Singapore, Malacca, and other parts of the world to celebrate and promote Kristang in Singapore.

The language was once widely spoken throughout the Portuguese-Eurasian community in Singapore and Malacca until the 1930s; however, in Singapore at present, the language is unrecognised nationally and institutionally, intergenerational transmission of the language has ceased, and few Singaporeans even know it exists. Kristang, like every community language, represents a crucial and intangible part of the heritage of the Portuguese-Eurasian community, and immediate preservation and revitalisation efforts are required if the language is to be saved from extinction. The Kodrah Kristang (‘Awaken, Kristang’) long-term revitalisation initiative thus seeks to revitalize the language to a healthier state by 2035 by teaching the language to a new generation of learners through free weekly adult classes, the provision of online materials and more. In support of these existing initiatives, the 1st Kristang Language Festival hopes to address the limited awareness most Singaporeans have of Kristang’s existence, and to engage more Singaporeans, whether of Portuguese-Eurasian descent or otherwise, in preserving and appreciating Kristang.

The Festival will span two days of activities featuring the Kristang language, heritage and culture as well as promote broader understanding of the diverse Eurasian community and minority groups in Singapore. Planned activities include talks, cultural performances, workshops, book launches, a Kristang Poetry Competition, a Eurasian Human Library – where actual Eurasians from a wide variety of backgrounds will be ‘on loan’ for facilitated conversations with participants and a Minority Language Tete-a-Tete – which is a pop-up language café where participants can meet fellow polyglots and converse in a variety of foreign languages (including Javanese, Boyanese, Cantonese, Hokkien, Hakka, Baba Malay , Maquista, Singapore Sign Language etc.) .

The project works closely with academics, researchers and experts in the field, as well as Siglap Community Centre, the National Library, National Museum of Singapore, and National Gallery for venue sponsorships. They are also supported by the Awesome Foundation Singapore and the National Youth Council (NYC)’s Young Changemakers Grant. They have also received support from the Eurasian Association of Singapore; and are working with the National Heritage Board closely to execute the programme.

To find out more, please visit Festa.kristang.com and www.kodrahkristang.com.

1st Kristang Language Festival

culture and heritage Community Learning

Kevin Martens Wong Zhi Qiang & Muhammad Fuad Bin Johari


Get Started