22 July 2013
(c) 2013 Singapore Press Holdings Limited
Aim is to get more to help tell the Singapore story: PM Lee
A $5 MILLION grant scheme to encourage Singaporeans to be active in creating heritage content was launched by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong yesterday.
Those with good ideas on how to capture and celebrate Singapore’s shared heritage through exhibitions, publications, documentaries or mobile apps can apply for the Government to co-fund half their project’s cost, up to a cap of $30,000 each time.
PM Lee said he hoped Singaporeans would take full advantage of the grant and lend their voices to telling the Singapore story.
Speaking at the launch of the Singapore HeritageFest, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year, he said heritage is essential to peoples and nations.
“It anchors our sense of place and identity. It enables a nation to adapt and to progress as the world changes. It is the yin to the yang of material progress,” he said.
Even as he highlighted the work of the National Heritage Board (NHB) and the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth in promoting culture and the arts, he stressed that the Government does not own, or define, the Singaporean heritage.
“Our heritage is a collection of individual memories woven into a national story, something that belongs to every Singaporean, which each of us can contribute to and help preserve, individually and collectively,” he said.
Parents and grandparents play a vital role, he said, “providing links to our past, passing down convictions, sentiments and values to your children and grandchildren”.
The setting for his speech was the National Museum, which was a hive of activity yesterday afternoon as families and tourists alike took part in activities that celebrated games, music, clothes and buildings of old.
In its 10-year history, HeritageFest has evolved from a festival organised by NHB to one “by people from all streams of life, for Singaporeans”, NHB chairman Ong Yew Huat said.
This year, 64 partners contributed. Some created heritage trails, while others shared personal possessions close to their heart, he said, “showing how much our heritage resonates with Singaporeans”.
Attendance at the festival has doubled from 620,000 in 2004 to 1.3 million last year.
And heritage will become even more important as the country moves ahead, PM Lee said, “as it is clear from Our Singapore Conversation that Singaporeans value not only economic progress, but cultural development too”.
Returning to a theme that he first spoke about in his National Day Rally last August, he said: “We want Singapore to be our home with heart and hope. Our home is not just where we live, but where we feel a sense of identity and belonging.
“Having a heart is not just caring for the less fortunate, but feeling at one with our fellow Singaporeans. Hope is not just individual success, but what the future holds for Singapore and the values we hold dear.”
Even as they look back and celebrate the past, Singaporeans must also look forward and write new chapters in the Singapore story.
“That way, Singapore will continue to thrive, and offer a brighter future for our children and our children’s children,” he said.
This year’s HeritageFest with the theme “Memories for Tomorrow” is on until Sunday, with events at 10 festival hubs.