World 155

In World 155, cultural dilution did not happen to the Orang Laut community despite colonisation in 19th Century Singapore. Their cultural heritage was preserved and evolved together with that of other immigrant ethnicities. In particular, the early Chinese traders saw the Orang Laut’s harmonious way of living with nature as highly compatible with their Neo-Confucianism philosophy and cross-cultural exchange flourished.

This cultural amalgamation led to a renaissance of new artistic practice, cuisine, music, and fashion. These hybrid expressions of intangible cultural heritage, persisted in the face of later technological advancements and globalisation.

What if …

the amalgamation of the Orang Laut and immigrant Chinese culture led to the development of a hybrid fashion language in 19th century Singapore?


preservation and celebration of intangible cultural heritage; harmonious coexistence between cultures and nature; balancing a respect for heritage and the drive for modernity


the intangible cultural heritage of Singapore, from our colonial past, to the forgotten people of Semakau (Orang Laut), the Peranakan community, and 8th Century Tang Dynasty

This World was contributed by Cedric Chern Junhao, Chloe Wong Jingying, Lim Suhui, Fiona Jennifer Lukito and Tay Yun Ting Lavon (located in Singapore) using a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International licence which allows others to share and adapt the work in any medium and for any purpose, providing that they credit the author and share their material using the same Creative Commons licence.

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Published by Amy Twigger Holroyd

explorer of Fashion Fictions