SINGAPORE: The Singapore Government has accepted a recommendation for the Founders' Memorial to be sited at Gardens By The Bay, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said in his National Day message on Tuesday (Aug 8).
The recommendation was made on Monday by the Founders' Memorial committee, which proposed that the site be located at Bay East Garden and opened to the public by 2025, in time for celebrations for Singapore's 60th birthday.
The 15-member committee submitted its report to the Government after two years of outreach to more than 32,000 people. The report included six key findings in addition to the recommendation of the location and time of opening, according to the press release.
The six findings are:
- Singaporeans expressed strong support for a values-based, forward-looking Founders’ Memorial to commemorate the values and ideals of independent Singapore’s founding leaders and to inspire current and future generations.
- "Strong consensus" that the memorial should be at Bay East Garden, as its park setting and proximity to water is a good reflection of Singapore’s status as a Garden City.
- Singaporeans also called for an indoor gallery with educational and interactive programmes.
- The memorial should leverage the expertise of our heritage institutions and work closely with various user groups and the wider community in designing programmes that would allow the memorial to be a “living memorial”, so it would remain relevant for future generations.
- While Singaporeans agreed that time and care should be taken to develop such a nationally significant memorial, many were keen to see it developed sooner rather than later. The elderly who lived through the country's early years of independence, in particular, expressed a desire for the memorial to be completed soon, so that they could personally relate their stories to the younger generation.
- Singaporeans hoped for the memorial to be one that would reflect the national identity and values they stand for as one united people.
The committee was formed in June 2015 to gather views from the public, and to conceptualise a memorial for Singapore's founding fathers if the idea found resonance among people.
Mr Lee Tzu Yang, chairman of the Founders’ Memorial Committee, said that its consultation found that people wanted a memorial that was forward-looking, and not just focused on the profiles of Singapore's founding leaders.
"So in that sense we are different from the museums and the heritage sites. We are looking at the values and the ideals that will continue to inspire future generations in Singapore," he told Channel NewsAsia.
"I would say it's highly unlikely that we would go for statues and portraits, simply because in a values and ideals projection, it is much less about personalities and much more about what people may have said and done and articulated and lived their lives."
Mr Lee also thanked everyone who given suggestions for the Founders' Memorial. "It is our sincere hope that both the process of bringing the memorial to fruition and the memorial itself will also be unifying for generations to come," he said.
Additional reporting by Elizabeth Neo.