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Arts & Heritage

Building capability and knowledge to safeguard and promote our tangible heritage

Speech by Ms Grace Fu, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth at the launch of the book, “Hong San See Temple: The Journey to UNESCO”, at Singapore Lam Ann Association

Chairman of Research Centre for National Monuments Mr Patrick Goh,

President of the Singapore Federation of Chinese Clan Associations Mr Tan Aik Hock,

Distinguished guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

  1. Good evening! I am glad to join all of you today at the launch of the publication, “Hong San See Temple Singapore: The Journey to UNESCO”.

    Our shared heritage, our identity

  2. The Hong San See Temple is one of Singapore’s oldest Chinese temples. Built in the early 1900s, it was established by Hokkien immigrants to Singapore and dedicated to Guang Ze Zun Wang (广泽尊王). Over the years, it has become an important landmark for Singaporeans to learn about our roots, our identity and heritage. As such, the Temple was gazetted as a National Monument in 1978. And after five years of restoration work, the Temple was restored to its original beauty in 2010.
  3. In many ways, the history of the Temple reflects Singapore’s journey to becoming a modern and independent nation. Our forefathers brought their different cultures and traditions to Singapore, interacted with one another, and worked hard to create a better life for themselves and their families. Over time, their common values and shared experiences, both from tangible structures and intangible culture, formed our rich and vibrant multicultural heritage. This shared heritage anchors our national identity. It has united our diverse communities as one people, allowing Singapore to weather storms and punch above our weight.
  4. It is thus fitting that this book is launched in 2019, amid our commemoration of the Singapore Bicentennial. Much like how the restoration committee had to study old architectural records to restore the Temple, the Singapore Bicentennial is an opportunity to understand our past, appreciate our present, and better prepare ourselves to confidently face the future in a rapidly changing and complex world.

    Encouraging ground-up initiatives

  5. 民间组织在保留及推广我国文化遗产上扮演着关键角色。我希望看到更多民间组织与政府机构携手合作,把各族群的传统价值观传递给下一代,并发扬其文化力量。这些优良价值观包含了力争向上及自力更生的精神,而像南安会馆主动发起凤山寺的修复工程便是一个很好的例子。
  6. 这项修复工程确实花了重大心思和功夫。凤山寺古迹重修委员会在展开修复工作之前请教了北京故宫博物院的专家,缜密钻研屋顶瓦片的原色,还请来了福建泉州拥有精湛传统手艺的工匠参与修复工作。以细心、认真、严肃的工作态度,完成修复工作。这修复成果最终荣获国内外奖项,包括成为新加坡首处荣获联合国教科文组织(UNESCO)颁予 “亚太文化遗产保存卓越奖” 的国家古迹。
  7. 欣闻凤山寺古迹重修委员会主席,吴一贤先生,开办了新加坡国家古迹研究中心,以提高国人对国家古迹的认识。我希望其中心能抛砖引玉、鼓励其他民间团体也能发动资源,发动及推展新加坡文化遗产的项目。政府会继续通过津贴计划支持这些活动。国家古迹研究中心这次出版的《凤山寺:走向文化遗产历程》书籍便是国家文物局 “文化遗产项目津贴” 的受益者。

    Building capability and knowledge in safeguarding our tangible heritage

  8. Under our SG Heritage Plan, we will also continue to build up capability and knowledge in safeguarding and promoting our tangible heritage, as they are critical markers of our identity. For instance, the National Heritage Board (NHB) works closely with all monument owners in the preservation of Singapore’s 72 National Monuments, such as through providing advice and issuing guidebooks to equip our monument owners with technical know-how.
  9. NHB is also strengthening its research and documentation of historic buildings, sites and structures, and will publish its findings in technical reports for stakeholders, such as owners and occupiers of National Monuments. In this light, the publication of the Research Centre for National Monuments Ltd (“Centre”) complements our efforts by providing these stakeholders with first-hand knowledge in restoring and maintaining a historic property. It documents the Hong San See restoration project in detail, including not only early architectural drawings but also the process of collaborating with local and foreign experts, and is an invaluable contribution to our trove of knowledge.


  10. In closing, I would like to once again congratulate the Centre on its first publication, “Hong San See Temple Singapore: The Journey to UNESCO”. I look forward to more endeavours by other monument owners and other clan associations, to preserve and document Singapore’s heritage and legacies.
  11. Thank you, and have an enjoyable evening.

Speeches Arts & Heritage 2019
Last updated on 04 April 2019