'Inspiring view' for Founders' Memorial at Bay East Garden

The timeline for the construction of the memorial has yet to be determined, said Founders' Memorial Committee head Lee Tzu Yang.
The timeline for the construction of the memorial has yet to be determined, said Founders' Memorial Committee head Lee Tzu Yang.

Venue also presents forward-looking narrative, says panel head; over 70% of those polled chose it over Fort Canning

The Founders' Memorial - in honour of Singapore's founding leaders - could be sited at Gardens by the Bay's Bay East Garden.

The location, which overlooks the Republic's skyscrapers and the historic Civic District, emerged as the venue of choice among 72 per cent of more than 700 people surveyed.

The other option was Fort Canning Park. The two venues had been put forth by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA).

Those polled had been part of the second phase of engagement by the Founders' Memorial Committee, which was formed in 2015.

The public also gave input on what they would like to see. On the wish list are indoor and outdoor spaces, lush greenery, and even use of holograms and audioscapes to capture key moments in Singapore's history.

The committee's head, Esplanade chairman Lee Tzu Yang, said the Bay East Garden presents "a forward-looking narrative with an inspiring view of the city skyline that was built over the years".

Fort Canning Park was preferred by some for its connection with Singapore's pre-independence history. However, Bay East Garden has more space and potential for future development, noted the committee.

Fort Canning Park got 21 per cent of votes, while 7 per cent had no preference, or suggested elsewhere.

The committee noted that Fort Canning Park is half the size of Bay East Garden. It is also steep.

Professor Lily Kong, a committee member and cultural geographer and provost at the Singapore Management University, said: "The site itself can be a little bit prohibitive. We climbed the stairs up... We imagine that this is a site that many from all generations will want to visit; we think it could be a little bit difficult for the older people."

  • KEY PREFERENCES

    Phase 2 of Founders' Memorial Committee's engagement efforts

    72 per cent of more than 700 participants voted for the memorial to be sited at Gardens by the Bay's Bay East Garden. 21 per cent voted for Fort Canning Park.

    The concept of the memorial that has emerged is one that honours the past and also inspires the future. It will be sited in a park or garden setting near water, with possibilities for future growth or expansion. It should also be accessible to all.

    The public will get to share their views at a showcase at Gardens by the Bay from March 14 to end-April. A roving version will also travel across the heartland from April to May.

She added that the park, which dates back to the 14th century as the the palatial resort of former Majapahit kings, "might not allow us to have that flexibility of looking forward".

The committee's first phase of engagement found that most Singaporeans were supportive of the concept of a Founders' Memorial, which commemorated the values and ideals of founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew and the team that led Singapore to independence in 1965.

The second phase of engagement, from last September to this month, had participants take part in workshops focused on the desired visitor experience, physical features and programmes for the memorial.

The wider public will get to share their views at a showcase at Gardens by the Bay from March 14 to the end of April. A roving version will travel across the heartland from April to May. More details will be released closer to the date.

Mr Lee said the timeline for the construction of the memorial has yet to be determined, noting the committee's findings could be incorporated into URA's next masterplan.

How the memorial will be funded has also yet to be decided, said Mr Lee. The committee is set to present its findings to the Government by the middle of the year.

Participant Nattasha Nina Alvinur, 18, a Nanyang Polytechnic student, said that it was a big honour to have been part of the second phase of engagement. "As a youth, I feel like our voice has been heard."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 14, 2017, with the headline ''Inspiring view' for Founders' Memorial at Bay East Garden'. Print Edition | Subscribe