Founders' Memorial: Share your views on ideal site, features

Participants taking part in the first of second phase of public dialogues by the Founders' Memorial Steering Committee.
Participants taking part in the first of second phase of public dialogues by the Founders' Memorial Steering Committee. ST PHOTO: AZMI ATHNI

The committee tasked to come up with a memorial to honour Singapore's founding leaders wants to canvass the views of Singaporeans on the ideal site for it and the features it should have.

It kicked off a second round of discussions with the public yesterday and also invited people who want to have a say to sign up for the three other workshops that will be held over the next two months.

Founders' Memorial Committee member Kuik Shiao-Yin said it was important to find a general agreement among Singaporeans on what they want from the memorial.

"From the committee's standpoint and the Government's standpoint, there is no rush to just create a Founders' Memorial. It's more important that there's consensus around it, especially because the consistent desire from Singaporeans is that the memorial is unifying," said Ms Kuik, who is a Nominated MP and was one of four committee members at yesterday's session.

The committee, formed in June last year and led by Esplanade chairman Lee Tzu Yang, made recommendations in a report submitted to the Government earlier this year on two possible sites for a memorial: Fort Canning Park and Bay East Garden at Gardens by the Bay.

At yesterday's workshop, participants aged from their 20s to 70s discussed the merits and drawbacks of both locations and brainstormed the desired look and feel of the memorial. There was a general preference by the 15 participants for a parkover a museum, and for the memorial to give people the experience of having gone on a journey rather than of having visited a single spot.

They also said they hoped it would have both fixed and changing elements.

Mr Joseph Tan, 64, a former teacher, suggested that the memorial could be split into two parts - half located at Fort Canning Park covering more historical aspects, and half at Gardens by the Bay covering Singapore's present and future.

"It could be presented in... a mix of modern technology like virtual reality and traditional mediums like murals and sculptures," he said after the session.

Other suggestions by participants, who were given building blocks to assemble simple models of their ideas, included a maze, a reflecting pool and an indoor gallery with artwork by the public.

Fresh graduate Juliana Chua, 24, envisions the memorial to include a journey through a park with quotes or statues associated with values such as the can-do spirit of the pioneers. She was in favour of the Gardens by the Bay site because its flat layout would allow the memorial to be visible from afar.

The 15-member committee aims to meet around 150 people in this round, including stakeholders such as architects, historians, educators, youth and community groups. The views from these discussions will then be taken to the wider public through roadshows and other mass outreach efforts in the second quarter of next year.

The committee held eight dialogues last year to discuss with Singaporeans the values and ideals worth remembering. It also polled 1,300 people and found that a majority hoped the memorial would recognise founding prime minister Lee Kuan Yew and the team that led Singapore to independence.

Those interested in participating in future public workshops can sign up online at: www.foundersmemorial.sg/shareyourviews

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on September 18, 2016, with the headline 'Founders' Memorial: Share your views on ideal site, features'. Print Edition | Subscribe