Preserve icons that build history and define culture

The Sungei Road flea market, which has been around for about 80 years, will cease to exist come July. Singapore's last free hawking zone will be prepared "to facilitate future residential development use".
The Sungei Road flea market, which has been around for about 80 years, will cease to exist come July. Singapore's last free hawking zone will be prepared "to facilitate future residential development use".ST PHOTO: LAU FOOK KONG

I grew up in a shophouse in Weld Road and, as a child, used to run among the lanes that formed the Thieves Market, which was much bigger then.

We have lost so many landmarks over the years that I feel displaced as a citizen.

Now, the Sungei Road flea market is the next icon to bite the dust ("Sungei Road flea market to make way for future homes"; Feb 15).

The market has been around for about 80 years and has been a constant magnet for peddlers and those who come to browse and buy.

I understand that, in this land-scarce country, we cannot afford to be too sentimental with regard to how we use our limited resources.

However, we have to bear in mind that a society is defined by its culture, culture is strongly influenced by its history, and history is built, in part, by icons.

I appeal to the National Environment Agency and the agencies involved to rethink the decision to close the Sungei Road flea market.

What is the point of closing it down, forcing the hawkers out, then documenting and preserving memories of the site?

Wong Wen Tsung (Dr)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 17, 2017, with the headline 'Preserve icons that build history and define culture'. Print Edition | Subscribe