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While fun, this hunt by National Heritage Board is no child's play - must "use your blain, use your blain!" Photos: Sim Ding En

Adventures At Home: Good At Lateral Thinking? You'll Love This Hunt In The Civic District

This year’s National Day was a memorable one, and the Parade saw the large-scale return of 1,300 student and youth participants; an eye-popping Total Defence Display; and meme-worthy moments galore (looking at you Ya Kun Kaya Toast Girl and Crying Man).

But did you know something else of great significance also occurred on 9 Aug 2022? We’re talking about the gazetting of The Padang as Singapore’s 75th National Monument.

“The Padang will be the first green, open space to join our list of National Monuments. Together with our 74 other National Monuments, it preserves and celebrates the stories that define Singapore and our people,” said Mr Edwin Tong, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth, who officiated the gazette.

“Generations of people have gathered here and witnessed key milestones in Singapore’s history. It stands as a testament to Singapore’s historical journey, anchoring our Singaporean identity and reflecting our place in the world.”


Did you know that Singapore had that many national monuments (ICYMI here’s our piece on Fort Siloso being gazetted the country’s 74th National Monument on Total Defence Day on 15 Feb this year), and that there is a division of National Heritage Board called the Preservation of Sites and Monuments (PSM) that identifies, researches and recommends nationally significant sites and structures to be preserved as National Monuments?

“We look at the historical, architectural, and national significance,” explains Stella Woo, Manager (Policy & Education), PSM.

“The main difference between preservation and conservation – which is done by URA (Urban Redevelopment Authority) – is that [buildings, structures or sites] need to have national significance. So, we look at how they play a part in telling the Singapore story.”

You'll need to head to Level 2 of The Arts House (former Parliament House) to solve this puzzle.Photo: Sim Ding En
The hunt forces you to zoom in on the details of this grande dame - National Gallery Singapore (former City Hall and Supreme Court) - to get your answer.Photo: Sim Ding En
Another puzzle page where you have to enter the building - in this case, Victoria Theatre and Concert Hall - and head up to level 2 to solve the riddle.Photo: Sim Ding En

To continue throwing the spotlight on the iconic Padang (which has been in existence since the early 1820s), National Heritage Board has launched “Monumental Hunt in the Civic District”, a clever treasure hunt of sorts that tests your lateral thinking and word-game skills, while educating you on nine of the National Monuments in the vicinity:

  1. Central Fire Station
  2. Former City Hall (now National Gallery Singapore)
  3. Former Supreme Court (now National Gallery Singapore)
  4. Former Empress Place Building (now Asian Civilisations Museum)
  5. Former Hill Street Police Station
  6. Former Parliament House (now The Arts House)
  7. St Andrew’s Cathedral
  8. The Padang
  9. Victoria Theatre and Concert Hall
Tote-ally awesome - all you need to solve this "Monumental Hunt" is in this bag.Photo: Sim Ding En
The map shows you all eight National Monuments in the Civic District and their proximity to each other.Photo: Sim Ding En

Before the tour kicks off at Asian Civilisations Museum (ACM), a game master will give you a rundown of the gameplay and pass you a tote bag containing a puzzle booklet, a map, a sticker sheet, a hint card, and a sealed envelope (with a “monumental” surprise within) that you’re supposed to open only when you’ve completed the hunt.

"Mother and Child" by Ng Eng Teng (dubbed "The Grandfather of Singapore Sculpture") is a starting point for one of the clues at National Gallery Singapore.Photo: Sim Ding En
When was the last time you used a pen? Well, now's the "write" time to do so.Photo: Sim Ding En

The puzzle booklet where you write your answers also contains all the instructions as well as creatively crafted clues – these are undoubtedly the highlight. Check out this clue for ACM:

Up to this building its name is displayed,
find the 3 fonts the letter “A” is portrayed.
Read the “A”s in the order they appear,
the following instructions you must adhere!

Cryptic AF sia.

As Ace of Base sang: "I saw the sign, and it opened up my mind."Photo: Sim Ding En

Hint: we never knew the Asian Civilisations Museum building sign was made up of three different fonts!

Sign me up!

“Monumental Hunt in the Civic District” will be held every Saturday from 5 Nov to 17 Dec 2022, and is a cool and very educational challenge for families, competitive friends, couples, colleagues looking for a team-building activity, and anyone who wants to add steps to their recommended daily 10,000 step count.

(Kudos to Ransack - a local creative agency that specialises in gamification - which NHB worked with to come up with this very clever hunt!)

There are three start-off times: 10am, 11am and 12pm.

Tickets at $20 (for those aged 13 and above) and $15 (for those aged between 7 and 12) are available at Peatix. The hunt is free for children aged 6 and below.

Until 31 Oct 2022, you’ll enjoy an early-bird 20% discount off your ticket price by using this promo code: PSM20OFF

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