Today Online 05:55 AM Oct 22, 2010
An old villa off Balestier Road, the Hall occupies an unusual place in Singapore's historiography. Between 1900 and 1911, Dr Sun Yat Sen - revered as the "founder of modern China" and "father of the nation" in China and Taiwan, respectively - used it as his temporary headquarters in South-east Asia for his revolutionary cause. He also stayed there when he visited Singapore.
At the turn of the 20th century, the Chinese sojourners here did not think of themselves as "Singaporeans"; the Singapore nation-state was also non-existent.
By contrast, one would be hard-pressed to find recognition for Dr Sun's supposed legacy to Singapore nationalism within the Chinese-Singaporean community - much less among non-Chinese Singaporeans.
The villa, now owned by the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCCI), was redeveloped and opened as a museum in 2001 to showcase Dr Sun's activities in South-east Asia.