Nantah Pictorial Exhibition 
南洋大学图片展



This exhibition seeks to capture the spirit behind the founding of Nanyang University (Nantah), the first and only Chinese-medium institution of higher learning outside China.

When Mr Tan Lark Sye proposed the formation of a Chinese language university in 1953, the Chinese communities in Singapore, Malaya and other parts of Southeast Asia shared his vision with great enthusiasm. Generous donations and assistance came from Chinese in all walks of life, from rich tycoons to poor hawkers and peddlers. Although Nantah was able to establish itself rapidly as an institution offering quality education, circumstances of the time led to its merger with the University of Singapore in 1980. On the original site of Nantah, Nanyang Technological Institute was established which eventually became Nanyang Technological University. The old Nantah administration building now houses the Chinese Heritage Centre.

In its brief 25-year history from 1956 to 1980, the University was a beacon of hope for the supporters of Chinese language education and culture in Southeast Asia. The University and the values it inculcated in a generation of students gave rise to what is known as the Nantah Spirit.

The Nantah exhibition, organized by Chinese Heritage Centre, comprises a collection of memorabilia and over 130 archival photographs taken from A Pictorial History of Nantah published by Chinese Heritage Centre. The photographs tell a thousand stories about hope, idealism, commitment, self-sacrifices and achievements. They depict the unprecedented spirit behind the founding of Nantah, its development, growth and demise. It is a rich story that still evokes strong emotions among many today.

南洋大学,世界首所设立在中国以外的华文最高学府,是一个标志着海外华人教育发展的里程碑。1953年,陈六使先生率先倡建一所华文大学,获得了新马各地华人的热烈响应。上自富商巨贾,下至贩夫走卒,无不出钱出力,支持创办南大。可是,自成立后,南达经历许多波折,在苦难中茁壮成长,但却经不起风雨的摧残,奄奄一息,结果于1980年与新加坡大学合并。之后在南大原址建立了南洋理工学院,数年后发展成南洋理工大学。南大行政楼则成了华裔馆馆址。

尽管南洋大学只有25年的历史(1956-1980),它却象征了华人办学的伟大业绩,显示了南大儿女自强不息的精神,为华人历史谱写了辉煌的一页。

华裔馆主办的南大图片展共有多达130余张的珍贵照片,主要选自华裔馆出版的《南洋大学历史图片展》。每幅图可说是血泪交织,反映了南大的创办,成长与式微的过程。南大图片展内的一些陈列品包括陈六使肖像,当年学生应考的准考证、借书证、校园刊物、校徽、钥匙扣、师生合照及南大瓦片等。