Recognise historical value of forgotten places

 Grave hunter Charles Goh (right) with brother Raymond squatting next to a lone grave in Outram.
Grave hunter Charles Goh (right) with brother Raymond squatting next to a lone grave in Outram. ST PHOTO: JAMIE KOH

I read yesterday's report ("Unearthing history of early S'pore occupants") with interest and share the sentiments that more can be done to archive and collect historical information on tombs and cemeteries, as they present a huge amount of interesting findings.

In land-scarce Singapore, it is important for the authorities, such as the National Archives of Singapore, the National Library Board or the museums, to partner independent tomb explorers in collecting artefacts and information of significant historical value from places that are inaccessible to the public.

This is to allow the preservation of historical information found in these tombs and cemeteries, for future generations to know more about the history of Singapore and its early occupants.

There is potential to turn what has been collected into a public exhibition.

Since some of the findings hold important historical significance, more can be done to highlight these interesting artefacts and stories.

After the data collection is completed, public guided tours can be conducted and trails demarcated.

Through the independent tomb explorers' work, more Singaporeans could perhaps trace their family roots and share interesting accounts of their family lineage with the public, so that such historical information can be preserved as well as conserved.

It is also important that with the sharing of such experiences, the younger generation can be educated on Singapore's past, as history can be easily forgotten through the modernisation of society.

I urge the authorities to support the hard work and determination of these independent tomb explorers, in the hopes of archiving the past, and informing and educating the public on the historical value and impact of documenting these places, which might otherwise be forgotten.

Darren Chan Keng Leong

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 12, 2015, with the headline 'Recognise historical value of forgotten places'. Print Edition | Subscribe