Esplanade Presents


Evolutionary Tales: Stories of Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

In Collaboration With Malay Heritage Centre
Dr Azhar Ibrahim, Ridhwan Saidi & Syafiqah Jaaffar (Singapore)

11 May 2024, Sat, 2pm

1hr 30mins

(Intermission: None)

Esplanade Bay Room

This event is over.


Have you ever wondered why certain folktales have multiple endings? Or perhaps is it the outdated situations or tragic fate of these stories' characters that have made them challenging to relate to?


Join this panel discussion to explore the relevance of classic Malay folktales in our society today and the challenges of adapting them to fit contemporary contexts.



  • Dr Azhar Ibrahim, Senior Lecturer at the Department of Malay Studies, National University of Singapore (NUS)

  • Ridhwan Saidi, Playwright of Bawang Putih Bawang Merah, part of Pesta Raya - Malay Festival of Arts 2024



  • Syafiqah Jaaffar, Assistant Curator at the Malay Heritage Centre

This programme is presented in collaboration with Malay Heritage Centre.


Tickets are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Should the event be fully subscribed, limited tickets may be made available when ticket-holders return their tickets. If you did not manage to get tickets, do check this event page regularly to see if tickets are available.


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Admission Age:
6 and above.
Language: English, Malay
Things to Note:
Accessibility Advisory: We provide a range of access services and relaxed performances for patrons with access needs. For wheelchair-accessible seats, please call Esplanade Customer Experience at 6828 8377 for assistance. Concessions for Persons With Disabilities (PWDs) and up to one accompanying companion are available. | View our accessibility guide
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Artist Information

Malay Heritage Centre

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Situated in Kampong Gelam, the Malay Heritage Centre (MHC) is a museum that offers cultural exposure and learning experiences about the Malay culture and heritage. While it is presently closed for renovation works, MHC continues to bring a variety of programs to partner venues across Singapore.

Dr Azhar Ibrahim

Dr Azhar Ibrahim is a Senior Lecturer at the Department of Malay Studies, National University of Singapore (NUS). He teaches Malay-Indonesian literature and ideologies of development at the department. His research interest includes the sociology of literature, social theology, Islamic thought, critical literacy, and the Malay-Indonesian intellectual development. Amongst his published works are: Emancipated Education (2020), Historical Imagination and Cultural Responses to Colonialism and Nationalism: A Critical Malay(sian) Perspective (2017), Contemporary Islamic Discourse in the Malay-Indonesia World (2014) and Narrating Presence: Awakening from Cultural Amnesia. (2014).

Ridhwan Saidi

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Ridhwan Saidi is a novelist, playwright and filmmaker. His plays include Bangsawan Gemala Malam, Hamlet Fansuri, Mautopia, Masam Manis and Stereo Genmai, as well as 13 offbeat playlets in the Teater Modular series. He writes with the intent to illuminate poetry and heighten the appreciation of deadpan humour. He amalgamates his practices in filmmaking, literature and theatre and actively collaborates dramaturgically with artists in various fields.

Syafiqah Jaaffar

Syafiqah Jaaffar holds a BA and MA in History from the National University of Singapore. Her research interests and work sit on the interstices of visual arts, literature and the history of the Malay world from the 19th century to the present. She is currently an assistant curator at the Malay Heritage Centre. Prior to this, she was at the National Museum of Singapore, with her latest exhibitions being A Voyage of Love and Longing (2021) and Dislocations (2022).

Date & Time

11 May 2024, Sat


Esplanade Bay Room

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