Out of the many artefacts which I have seen in the gallery, the portrait of an Amah interested me the most. Amahs were indentured domestic female servants generally arriving from Pearl River Delta, China; These Amahs were highly sought after by affluent families, …show more content…
In this particular portrait of an Amah in the National Museum of Singapore, the Amah dons a white tunic blouse with what I assume would accompanied by a pair of black pants had a full body portrait been taken. With her hair tied into a single pigtail, it is implied that the Amah in the portrait had chosen to remain unmarried for the rest of her life and planned to devote her time and skills to work hard for her employers. The portrait was among other exhibits related to the times when Singapore was a “European Town”, which was also the time when Amahs flourished in Singapore.
The Amahs in Singapore were also believed to be employed by the Europeans, Babas and Chinese families to take care of the children, leading to them being the surrogate parents. This can be supported by the looping of a woman singing lullabies in various languages such as Malay, Chinese and English as the background music for that specific part of the museum exhibit. Since the songs played were lullabies, it can be inferred that the Amahs hired by the wealthy families usually sang to put the employer’s child to sleep as a replacement for the child parents themselves. Moreover, in another gallery in the National