SINGAPORE: How can Singapore maintain its identity and heritage amid its rapid development?
It could take heritage into account when planning its housing and transport needs, use technology to reach out to new audiences, especially youths, and incorporate Singapore’s history and heritage into the school curriculum in fun ways, some have suggested.
These were some of the ideas featured in a new travelling exhibition that aims to promote Singapore's first comprehensive masterplan regarding heritage, Our SG Heritage Plan, to the wider public.
The exhibition, launched on Tuesday (Jan 9), highlights feedback and suggestions the National Heritage Board (NHB) gathered in engagement sessions with more than 700 stakeholders in the heritage sector last year.
The exhibit will be up at Raffles City Shopping Centre until Sunday, following which it will travel to three other locations around the island: HDB Hub Mall at Toa Payoh (Jan 15), Lot One Shoppers’ Mall at Choa Chu Kang (Jan 22) and Our Tampines Hub (Jan 29).
Aside from NHB’s findings, which were gathered after 31 sessions throughout 2017, the exhibit also encourages visitors to offer their own feedback via polling stations.
In addition, it offers information on various heritage-related topics and initiatives such as the Curating Whampoa project to set up a “living museum” in the estate and a Kueh Appreciation Day, which takes place every July. Heritage-related video clips will also be regularly screened.
Alvin Tan, NHB Assistant Chief Executive (Policy and Community), said the exhibition hopes to “give visitors who might not be heritage enthusiasts a broad overview” of the heritage plan.
He added that despite engagement sessions with heritage stakeholders having already been held, it is equally important to engage members of the public, whose views will be taken into consideration in refining the plan.
“Ultimately, we hope this masterplan is something we co-develop with Singaporeans so that it’s something they can be proud of and something we can leave behind for future generations,” he said.
Plans for a national blueprint to safeguard heritage were first announced early last year by Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu.
The first edition of Our SG Heritage Plan will be released in April during the Singapore Heritage Festival. It will lay out the broad strategies and initiatives for the heritage sector over the next five years, with a long-term view towards 2030.
It will touch on four different areas of focus: Our Places, which refers to tangible heritage such as historic buildings and sites; Our Culture, which includes intangible cultural heritage such as traditions and practices; Our Treasures, which refers to Singapore’s museum and national collection; and Our Community, which refers to communities, individuals and groups dedicated to heritage.
Among the future plans for Our SG Heritage Plan is the development of nationwide inventories of the country’s intangible and tangible heritage, which will be completed by the end of the year, and a recognition scheme for worthy practitioners of cultural heritage.
Tan added that while the heritage plan is the country’s first one dedicated specifically to the museum and heritage sector, it builds on Singapore’s previous arts and culture plans, such as the Renaissance City Plans 1 to 3, as well as the Arts and Culture Strategic Review.
The travelling exhibition comes on the heels of Singapore’s announcement that it intends to ratify UNESCO’s cultural heritage convention in the near future, which will signal the country’s commitment to safeguarding intangible cultural heritage.
Prior to the exhibition, the NHB also launched a related website called Our SG Heritage, for members of the public to learn more about the plan.