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Singapore

Padang to be gazetted as Singapore's 75th national monument on National Day

The iconic site will be the first green, open space to join a list of 74 other national monuments of Singapore.

02:56 Min
The Padang will be gazetted on National Day on Tuesday (Aug 9) as Singapore’s 75th national monument in view of its “strong national, historical and social significance”, said the National Heritage Board (NHB) on Monday. Cherie Lok reports.

SINGAPORE: The Padang will be gazetted on National Day on Tuesday (Aug 9) as Singapore’s 75th national monument in view of its “strong national, historical and social significance”, said the National Heritage Board (NHB) on Monday.

This will make it the first green open space to be preserved and accorded the highest level of protection in Singapore under the Preservation of Monuments Act, added the agency.

"With the gazette, the character and appearance of the Padang will be preserved for future generations, while ensuring all current uses can continue," said NHB.

The Padang, which is Malay for "field", has been retained as an open green space despite many changes in its Civic District vicinity. 

It is bordered by several national monuments including Saint Andrew's Cathedral, the Lim Bo Seng and Civilian War memorials as well as the Victoria Theatre and Concert Hall.

Since it came into existence in 1822, the historic site has been associated with key milestones in Singapore’s history, including the inaugural National Day Parade on Aug 9, 1966, and every parade thereafter until 1975.

The Padang was the venue for Singapore's first National Day Parade in 1966. (Photo: Facebook/Grace Fu)

Other historical events held at the Padang include: 

  • The World War II victory parade celebrating the formal surrender of the Japanese in Singapore on Sep 12, 1945 
  • The victory rally of the first fully elected Legislative Assembly on Jun 3, 1959
  • The installation of Mr Yusof Ishak as the first Malayan-born head of state and the introduction of the state flag, coat of arms and national anthem on Dec 3, 1959

"Some evidence suggests that the Padang could have been the site of negotiations between the British East India Company and the Sultan of Johore and Temenggong leading up to the eventual signing of the treaty on Feb 6, 1819, which allowed the establishment of the settlement of Singapore," said NHB in a press release.

After his swearing-in in 1959, Mr Yusof Ishak gave his speech to a huge crowd at the Padang. (Photo: Mediacorp)

    The Padang has also continued to function over the years as a key space for public recreation, celebrations and sporting events.

    It hosts major sporting events such as the Singapore Cricket Club International Rugby Sevens and serves as the start and end point of the Singapore Marathon.

    Following the gazette, the NHB will promote greater awareness and appreciation of the Padang’s significance in Singapore’s history through various initiatives to be launched in August, including tours and interactive games for students and members of the public. 

    These include Maze@Padang – a Minecraft game for primary school students, where players will be transported to a virtual underground maze beneath the Padang, said NHB.

    New guided tours focusing on the Padang and two surrounding national monuments - the former City Hall and former Supreme Court buildings - will also be launched in August.

    “The successful gazette of the Padang reflects our ongoing efforts to enhance the preservation and promotion of places and spaces of national significance to Singapore,” said NHB's director of the preservation of sites and monuments Jean Wee. 

    “Together with our 74 other National Monuments, it will contribute to the architectural and cultural diversity of our nation’s built heritage, and be celebrated as one of the many places that define Singapore and our people.”

    Source: CNA/yb(jo)

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