Heritage patrons recognised at NHB awards ceremony

Mr Harry Chin receiving the award from Minister for Culture, Community and Youth & Leader of the House Grace Fu at the Asia Civilisations Museum.
Mr Harry Chin receiving the award from Minister for Culture, Community and Youth & Leader of the House Grace Fu at the Asia Civilisations Museum.ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

Singapore - Donors to Singapore's museum and heritage sector were recognised today at the 11th Patron of Heritage Awards, organised by the National Heritage Board (NHB).

A total of 74 awards were given out by the Minister for Community, Culture and Youth Grace Fu, at the awards ceremony held at the Asian Civilisations Museum earlier today (May 23).

Their contributions amounted to $8.13 million in cash and kind. This is down from $16 million given by 104 donors in 2015, in conjunction with Singapore's celebrations of its 50th year of independence.

An NHB spokesman described 2015 as an "exceptional year" with "an outpouring of contributions towards the heritage cause".

"Support to the heritage sector has been constant and continuous," the spokesman added.

The annual Patron of Heritage Awards was started in 2006 with the aim of promoting heritage philanthropy in Singapore by honouring those who make significant contributions to the sector.

Ms Chang Hwee Nee, NHB's chief executive said at the ceremony that the gifts from the board's patrons help it create an "ideal museum" experience for the public.

"The stories they tell, or help to tell, add layers and depth to the various narratives, and enable us to further the museum and heritage experience for our visitors," she said.

There were 42 first-time donors in 2016.

One such donor, 76-year-old watercolourist Harry Chin Chun Wah, was honoured for donating 19 of his artworks to the National University of Singapore (NUS) Museum.

The works comprise sketches and watercolours of scenes of old Singapore - such as Chinatown and Clifford Pier - which he created in the 1960s and 1970s.

"These work are special to me, and I wanted to give them to the NUS Museum so that maybe the younger generation can know more about the history of Singapore from looking at them," he says.

Mr Chin received the Friend of Heritage Award, which recognises donations of cash, kind or material amounting to between $50,000 and $149,999.

He adds: "I didn't know that the museum nominated me for the award, so I am happy and surprised. I am glad to receive it."

Singapore Press Holdings was recognised as a Patron of Heritage, an award given for donations of cash, kind or material, valued between $1 million and $2 million.

This was from waiving copyright fees for images used for the NHB's various initiatives such as its heritage trails.

There was also one anonymous donor who received the Distinguished Patron award, which is given for donations of $2 million and above.

Ms Fu expressed her appreciation towards the donors for helping to "create a sustainable heritage landscape".

"Your contributions are important to our nation-building efforts in fostering our national identity, our national pride, as well as building a more caring and cohesive society," she said.

She added: "You have contributed towards making Singapore a more vibrant and better home for all."

nabilahs@sph.com.sg