Heritage and Culture Unite Singaporeans
(Media Release by National Heritage Board)
Singapore, 30 July 2021 – This National Day, the National Heritage Board (NHB) hopes to unite Singaporeans through arts, culture and heritage with the illumination of seven buildings in the Bras Basah.Bugis (BBB) precinct in the colours of the National Flag, and a line-up of online performances, stories and interactive offerings that celebrate Singapore’s 56th birthday.
BUILDINGS THAT REPRESENT DIFFERENT CHAPTERS IN SINGAPORE’S STORY
2 Cultural and historical landmarks in the BBB precinct – the Central Fire Station, Cathedral of the Good Shepherd, National Museum of Singapore, National Design Centre, Stamford Arts Centre, Objectifs – Centre for Photography and Film, and The Cathay – will be bathed in red and white light to inspire and encourage Singaporeans.
3 The lighting of three National Monuments in the historic BBB precinct will be a testament to the contributions and progress of different communities towards nation-building over the decades. The Central Fire Station is Singapore’s oldest existing fire station and a symbol of the transformation of our nation’s early volunteer firefighting squads into a modern-day civil defence force; The Cathedral of the Good Shepherd is the oldest Catholic Church in Singapore, having been constructed in 1843 as a place of worship for Singapore’s first Catholic community; while the National Museum of Singapore is the nation’s oldest museum, tracing its history to the mid-1800s, inspiring visitors today with stories of Singapore and the world.
4 Four other buildings that are hubs of Singapore’s cultural and design scene – the National Design Centre, Stamford Art Centre and Objectifs – Centre for Photography and Film, and The Cathay – will join the tribute to Singapore for its birthday. These institutions represent a modern city that thrives on its vibrant creative communities while treasuring its heritage. The National Design Centre occupies the 120-year premises of the former St. Anthony’s Convent, which was founded by the Portuguese Mission for Singapore’s poor and disadvantaged communities; Stamford Arts Centre was built in 1920 as the Japanese Elementary School, before going on to house the Shackle Club (a British military recreation centre), Gan Eng Seng School and Stamford Girls School; Objectifs – Centre for Photography and Film (a non-profit visual arts space dedicated to film and photography) was once home to the Methodist Girls School and subsequently the first Straits Chinese Methodist Church; while The Cathay was the tallest building in Singapore and Southeast Asia when it opened in 1939.
5 The light-up of BBB precinct is presented alongside the light-ups of cultural and historical landmarks in the Civic District, including Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay, National Gallery Singapore, The Arts House, The Fullerton Hotel Singapore, and Victoria Theatre and Victoria Concert Hall, in a show of unity across the arts and culture sector.
6 Ms Chang Hwee Nee, Chief Executive Office, NHB, said, “National Day is an important time for us to take stock of what we have done as a nation – to celebrate our achievements, remember the challenges that we have overcome, and look forward to the road ahead. While we mark the occasion under less than normal circumstances yet again this year, the colours of our flag and the shared values they represent – universal brotherhood and the
equality of man, and pervading and everlasting purity and virtue – remain the same. We hope that the light-up of these historically and culturally significant buildings, along with our online activities, will uplift the spirits of Singaporeans, encourage Singaporeans to stay united and emerge from these times stronger, as we have always done in the past.”
HERITAGE ANYTIME, ANYWHERE
7 Alongside the light-up, NHB will present an exciting line-up of digital National Day programmes for people of all ages to enjoy heritage and culture anytime, anywhere. Highlights include the National Day Monumental Hunt, which invites players to search for hidden items
around the Padang to win attractive prizes; the Malay Heritage Centre’s Rentak Warisan Bersama Sri Mahligai: National Day Special, which features unique renditions of songs that celebrate Singapore’s journey performed on Facebook live; the latest chapter of @ Home, Truly, which invites readers to discover secret histories of our bus system, the Singapore River, national campaigns and more; a virtual guided tour of the Singapore River Walk, which explores the history and key landmarks of this key waterway; and Singapore Snapshots craft workshops by Our Tampines Gallery and Kreta Ayer Heritage Gallery, where participants will create paper cameras that feature key local landmarks.
8 The Asian Civilisations Museum, National Museum of Singapore, Indian Heritage Centre and Singapore Philatelic Museum will also present programmes online that include roots.gov.sg, will feature a series of poignant films that explore themes of racial harmony and community, a multicultural rendition of 2002’s National day song “We Are Singapore”, and more.