Bianca: The Brownie from Holland0
By day, she has project managed some of Singapore’s transportation system projects such as the flight information displays in Changi Airport and road tunnel systems for LTA. But come the weekends or public holidays, one of Bianca Polak’s favourite places is Bukit Brown Cemetery, leading the public on guided walks.
She first visited Bukit Brown in early 2012 and came on a few guided walks conducted by the Brownies before naturally falling in step with the volunteers and started conducting guided walks in 2013. She has co curated a few themed walks such as the poetry walk, Botanic Gardens to Bukit Brown for Jane’s Walks, meet-up groups and always is among the first to volunteer when we get private requests including from the Peoples Association and constituency community grassroots groups who are caught by surprise not only that their volunteer is foreign but also speaks Mandarin!
Bianca traveled out of her birthplace Holland to the region when she was in her late twenties and she worked in Malaysia & China for a few years before finally ending up in Singapore where she has lived and worked for 16 years now. She knows more about Singapore’s heritage places and history than the average Singaporean and has embraced our cultural traditions, even demonstrating how to cook nasi ulam at the Baba House Museum.Not surprisingly, the local television channel 8 which broadcasts in Mandarin featured her in their programme recently.
Here is her appearance “live” when she was interviewed in the studio after the crew tagged her on a few visits all over Singapore.
So the next time you come on a guided walk and Bianca is your guide, you can test her Mandarin! She also speaks Dutch (of course), French, German, Swedish, and gets by in understanding Latin languages.
Information on public walks in Bukit Brown can be found by following Bukit Brown Events on Peatix : http://peatix.com/user/617188/
Footnote: Bukit Brown Cemetery is commonly known to the Chinese as Kopi Sua.