print this page close this page
Inside the Oral History Centre - Public Talks

The Oral History Centre (OHC) at the National Archives of Singapore (NAS) is a thought leader in the field of oral history. Here are recordings of public talks that members of OHC's professional team and guest speakers have presented on, covering the diverse projects in OHC's interview collection as well as emerging and innovative ways to produce, use and access oral history.


Public Talks

Stories from the Silent and the Boomers | Archives Unlocked
Recorded in 2023

Listen to the early life accounts of the Silent Generation (born between 1928−1945) and the Boomer Generation (born between 1946−1964) growing up in Singapore. Hear their childhood stories and how their early influences have impacted them. The speakers are Benjamin Ho, a Specialist interviewer at the Oral History Centre and Amrit Kaur an oral history enthusiast.

Typing to Whisper - A Brief History of Transcription in the Oral History Centre | Archives Unlocked
Recorded in 2023

Oral history practitioners have long been concerned with whether interviews should be transcribed, and to what extent, especially when it comes to the available technology of the time. Learn how the Oral History Centre has adapted from its typing pool beginnings in the 1980s, to the dream of video recordings in the 1990s and the voice-to-text revolution in the 2010s. With the surge of virtual conferencing software and artificial intelligence capabilities since the COVID-19 pandemic, where will we go next? The speaker John Choo is an Assistant Specialist interviewer at the Oral History Centre, National Archives of Singapore.. Many of his interviews he recorded took place during the recent COVID-19 pandemic, which forced the use of remote audio-visual platforms and other digital technologies, incorporating automated transcription features.

In Their Own Voices - Preparing for War in Singapore | Archives Unlocked
Recorded in 2023

Before the imminent fall of Singapore in 1942, locals prepared by stockpiling food, building air raid shelters and volunteering in civil defence units. Listen to their accounts which are a part of the Oral History Centre’s trove of oral history interviews. Christabel Khoo is an Assistant Archivist with the Records Management department at the National Archives of Singapore. Mark Wong is a Senior Specialist at the Oral History Centre, National Archives of Singapore, where he leads the oral history project on Singapore’s experiences with COVID-19.

Face-to-Face, Breath-to-Breath - Rediscovering the Value of Human Touch in a Zoom-bified World | Archives Unlocked
Recorded in 2022

Since Singapore’s Circuit Breaker in 2020, most of us have endured months of physical separation from friends and family, connected primarily through screens and other technologies. Listen to excerpts of accounts collected by the Oral History Centre (OHC), which document how this separation has affected individuals from all walks of life, and how we as a people have tried to take it in our stride and carry on. Join Oral History Specialists Sheerin Mustapa and John Choo as they explore if digitalisation can truly replace our being together.

Pop lives oral histories of Singapore's English medium pop music pioneers | Archives Unlocked
Recorded in 2022

The passing of deejay, writer and singer Chris Ho (aka X’ Ho) in September 2021 sent a jolt through the music and music-loving community in Singapore. In this session, Senior Oral History Specialist Mark Wong revisits oral history interviews recorded with some of Singapore’s English-medium popular music pioneers over the years, in appreciation of the joys and struggles of the “pop life” in Singapore.

Grassroots Movement in Singapore - A Personal Account | Archives Unlocked
Recorded in 2022

Grassroots organisations use collective action at the local level to effect changes at the local and national levels. They are associated with bottom-up decision making and encourage community members to contribute by taking responsibility and action for their communities. While much has been written about the history and functions of the different types of grassroots organisations in Singapore, less is known about the personal experiences of those involved. Started in the mid-2000s, this oral history project allows individual grassroots leaders to express how and why they joined the movement, share their passion, challenges and experiences in serving residents, and give first-hand accounts of how grassroots organisations work and developed over time. This project will also document the lessons learnt by grassroots leaders in Singapore’s changing social, economic, political and cultural environment. Mrs Kiang-Koh Lai Lin is a consultant at the National Archives of Singapore (NAS). She was a Director at the National Library Board, heading its reading initiatives. Kevin Khoo is a Senior Archivist at the Oral History Centre.

“Last time…” Stories Told by Persons Living with Dementia | Archives Unlocked
Recorded in 2022

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Oral History Centre of Singapore and the Singapore University of Social Sciences and Dementia Singapore embarked on a meaningful journey to document the stories of eight persons living with dementia and their caregivers. The act of reminiscing is used to promote the well-being of the elderly. By adapting the oral history methodology, these elderly are given the space to recollect, reflect, tell and record their days of growing up in Singapore. Listen to their tales of climbing Mount Faber, falling in love, dishing up their favourite food, raising children and making do with a failing memory. Patricia Lee is a Senior Oral History Specialist at the National Archives of Singapore. Associate Professor Carol Ma is the Head of Gerontology Programmes (Master & PhD) at the Singapore University of Social Sciences. She is a strong advocate for and an active and passionate practitioner in service-learning and ageing.

Chronicling COVID-19 in Singapore Through Oral History | Archives Unlocked
Recorded in 2021

How can oral history help us make sense of an ongoing crisis? In this session, Senior Oral History Specialist Mark Wong shares about the National Archives of Singapore's oral history project on the COVID-19 pandemic in Singapore.

Voices for the Wild - Oral History of Singapore’s Nature Advocates | Archives Unlocked
Recorded in 2021

Benjamin Ho is a Specialist at the National Archives of Singapore’s Oral History Centre. As an interviewer, Benjamin has been privileged to hear the stories of Singapore’s long-time champions of nature. They share how they fell in love with nature, their experiences of local flora and fauna, their first-hand knowledge of nature sites in Singapore and their thoughts on the place of nature in urbanized Singapore. Join Benjamin as he takes you on a journey of exploring Singapore’s nature heritage through the voices of these passionate naturalists.

Warmth in the Midst of a Pandemic | Archives Unlocked
Recorded in 2021

Over the past year (as at 2021), the Oral History Centre has been training community volunteer interviewers to conduct online oral history interviews via Zoom. Join NAS consultant Mrs Kiang-Koh Lai Lin as she presents the fruits of the labour, featuring interviews with people from all walks of life and their experiences during the pandemic. Mrs Kiang is a consultant at the National Archives of Singapore (NAS). She was former director at the National Library Board, heading its reading initiatives. She ran various nationwide campaigns, promoted programmes to nurture a nation of readers and also founded numerous reading clubs in the community.

sessionId: 260D757D3D632AC2386C289C3DD31C854F77AC795E1FE6682A5A58C88E73BE62370FBDD1F1F52B0FD5373EB14907ABCCD3DF6E2BD3E66C06575EACCE6950BD6DE3875D835D4C1D598BF12AAA4A4D820FC1F5E61212477EE16416F2B637C89A4AEA150A5204AAF51F5B543A69694DD7CDFE550131E72E410D09D336585E4F7F7177E8CF0B32A02958360C035779E4BC1A97FF9A64E1A8C7EC22F32D4E6126A697
record_field5: NASA2O/content/A2O/AAD27A41-B5E1-477C-BDF6-3DC353144350/AAD27A41-B5E1-477C-BDF6-3DC353144350.mp4

A Bridge Between Times: Voices from the Indian Community | Archives Unlocked
Recorded in 2020

Join Raaj Kannu, a consultant at the National Archives of Singapore's Oral History Centre as he shares his take on evolving Indian family relationships, customs, businesses and landscapes based on oral history recordings of Singaporean Indians. Raaj who was the National Library Board's Director of Corporate Communications brings with him a unique perspective from the point of view of a keen learner of oral history.

lky100_enable_captcha set: false
Download A Bridge Between Times: Voices from the Indian Community | Archives Unlocked's MP4
download flag: false
download url:

Stories of Dreams and Ambitions | Archives Unlocked
Recorded in 2020

The oral history records at the National Archives of Singapore holds many stories of the difficulties and joy experienced by those pursuing their dreams. Join NAS consultant Mrs Kiang-Koh Lai Lin who is based at the Oral History Centre as she shares personal stories of people from all walks of life and how they overcame the odds to achieve success.

Oral History and Archives in Reminiscence Work | Archives Unlocked
Recorded in 2019

Reminiscence involves the discussion, and sometimes even the re-enactment, of past activities, events and experiences with others. People do this naturally from time to time when they are with their families and friends. Hearing the stories of others helps to trigger our own half-forgotten memories and create a sense of shared experiences. Join Irene Lim, Principle Archivist at the National Archives of Singapore and Patricia Lee, Senior Oral History Specialist as they share how they use narratives and archival materials to improve the well-being of Singapore’s silver community.

From Settlement to Colony | Archives Unlocked
Recorded in 2019

Curious about what goes on in the National Archives of Singapore (NAS)? Join us for this monthly series of talks, as we unlock stories of our nation through the Archives’ collections. Join Archivist and Oral History Specialist Kevin Khoo as he discovers Singapore’s milestones through the documents on display at the "Law of the Land" exhibition.