Here’s a list of information/Data you can contribute:

  • Digital photograph  
  • Date (if known)
  • Place (eg. outside family home at Amber Road)
  • Studio (if known)
  • Name of sitter and relationship to you
  • Any memories you can recall about this photograph? (Can be written as candid and casual as you want to- The Spoken Word, Singlish Manglish, Baba Malay, You name it!)
  • How did this photograph come into your possession?
  • Why is this photograph important to you?
  • You don’t have to answer all the questions, its mainly a list to give a sense of what one can contribute.


For Example:


“Our family, all the women like Matriarchs, like Tigers, cannot mess around with you know. Your Mama when she was very young, she was very hard headed lah. She was very vain also, going out to the market also, must put on lipstick. Go out anywhere also must makeup. Pakai apa tu? Bedak Sejuk! Like one hantu like that. But she was very well dressed. Every year, without fail, I will bring her to Arab Street to go and buy the Baju Kebaya. Bring her to Joo Chiat to sew. And then, until Mama kaki tak boleh jalan, she tell me what color she wants, I will go to arab street and get it for her. Especially the kebaya. She kept all in perfect condition! Alot of them we put in the casket la, sayang. Never mind one day we will meet her again one day.” – Fanny Yeo, May 2013

These ‘recollections’ or written“spoken word” can include stories that may have been passed down generations to generations  in your family, they can even be your personal memoirs pertaining to the photograph or even an anecdote.These ‘recollections’ can be written in any style, form and manner. Sometimes one may be lucky to find handwritten letters on the photographs!

Narrate the photographs in your voice, in your own style! 

e.g: “Whenever I look at this portrait of my Grandmother, I recall her reprimanding me as a child, saying, “Budak tumo tunjok pandai sama gua, tapi dia lupa sapa sua makan nasik sama garm dulu!” Celaka!” 

The author’s archive of familial ‘spoken word’ was conveyed mainly by her eldest aunt (maternal), who has been given the title of “The Bibliotique” ever since the author stated on this long journey of rediscovery through her doctoral research. The author makes it a point to keep the transcripts as raw, candid and unedited as possible. There’s nothing more heartwarming then hearing an excited Nyonya flaunt her colourful vocabulary, making a point in which she delivers sharply and swiftly in quick staccatos, a high timbre, then crowned with a caustic climax; the mother of all expletives.

And now for the dry but necessary bits:


  • This project is purely for academic purposes and will and only be used in the author’s doctoral thesis as a case study.
  • The author ensures that contributors will be kept updated on what their submissions are used for, and in what context, upon contribution of a soft copy of photograph(s) and accompanying text (or any other material if one wishes)

Issues on privacy:

  • All images will be kept private until an agreement has been made between contributor/participant and the author. The author will not own any rights of the photographs upon your submission. All quotations submitted will be cited appropriated and organized in an appendix containing the personal details of the contributor. I cannot reiterate more that this is a project is purely for academic purposes and will treat your contribution with utmost respect and care.

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