WhyItMatters

Founders' Memorial: A tribute shaped by Singaporeans

The Founders' Memorial, in honour of the nation's founding fathers, will likely be sited at the Gardens by the Bay's Bay East Garden.

It will be one of the most significant commemorative structures to be built since the country secured its independence in 1965.

Bay East Garden is the venue of choice for those polled in the second phase of engagement sessions organised by the Founders' Memorial Committee, with 72 per cent of more than 700 participants picking it over Fort Canning Park.

The Urban Redevelopment Authority had put forth the two sites.

Fort Canning Park dates back to the 14th century as the site where the palatial resort of former Majapahit kings once stood, and later served as the residence of colonial governors. It was impractical as a choice because of its steep topography, committee members and several participants of the engagement sessions said. They also felt its long history could possibly overshadow the story of Singapore's founding fathers.

The strong support for Bay East Garden suggests a desire among Singaporeans to start on a clean slate. They want to home in on recent history and celebrate the story of the Republic's journey to independence.

The Founders' Memorial Committee has urged Singaporeans to make their views heard to help shape the eventual form the memorial takes. It hopes to hear suggestions in areas from programming to physical features and the desired visitor experience. The public can do this at a showcase at Gardens by the Bay from March 14 to end-April.

The committee is set to present its findings to the Government by the middle of the year.

The engagement sessions have already produced a wide range of ideas, including the use of holograms and audioscapes at the memorial. This is encouraging to see for a memorial of such importance.

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Melody Zaccheus

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 15, 2017, with the headline 'A tribute shaped by S'poreans'. Print Edition | Subscribe