“Heritage is not something static, lying hidden to be discovered, admired and conserved. It is a part of the lives of a people, it shapes the ways a people meet new challenges and helps them adapt and to survive.”
Mr Lee Kuan Yew, founding Prime Minister of Singapore
Chinese Heritage Centre’s 10th Anniversary Fundraising Dinner, July 2005
Responding to changes in our social and living environment
In today’s globalised and increasingly polarised world, Singaporeans are faced with rapid changes in our social and economic environment. Confronted with such challenges, it is vital that we know our history as a nation and take pride in what we have achieved together as a people, so that we can stand ready to respond to future challenges and opportunities.
More Singaporeans are engaging with our heritage
In 2016, over 5 million Singapore residents visited our national museums and heritage institutions, and over 6 million participated in a heritage-related event. (Source: Singapore Cultural Statistics 2016)
The interest in heritage amongst Singaporeans continues to grow and more Singaporeans are exploring different aspects of our heritage and what it means to be Singaporean. This can be seen in the increased number of visitors to our museums and festivals, and the popularity of all things heritage, be they guided tours and/or merchandise.
More Singaporeans are seeing the value of heritage
80% of Singapore residents agree that it is vital to preserve all aspects of Singapore’s heritage for current and future generations.
74% of Singapore residents see that “It is important to learn about the cultures and traditions of the countries our ancestors came from (e.g., cultures of China, India, Malay Peninsula, etc.)”.
(Source: Heritage Awareness Survey 2014)
There is also a growing awareness amongst Singaporeans that heritage helps in fostering a greater understanding of our cultures and traditions, and in establishing national, community and personal identities. The role of heritage in establishing and anchoring our sense of self is essential to the building of a more cohesive, confident and resilient society, especially in these challenging times.
More Singaporeans are getting actively involved in heritage
In 2014, more residents (67% compared to 62% in 2011) agreed it was important for them to maintain an active involvement in heritage preservation in Singapore. In addition, more respondents (61% compared to 58% in 2011) were willing to volunteer their time as well as money to support heritage preservation activities. (Source: Heritage Awareness Survey 2014)
Singaporeans are no longer passive participants at heritage events. In fact, there is an increase in the number of Singaporeans volunteering at our museums and/or for heritage events; spearheading ground-up community heritage projects; and signing up as members of heritage advocacy groups. These attest to Singaporeans’ readiness to champion the preservation and promotion of our heritage.