A record number of Singapore heritage heroes were honoured on Friday evening. 108 individuals, corporations and businesses received the National Heritage Board's (NHB) Patron of Heritage Awards, compared to 42 last year.
The number got a major boost with the introduction of a new award category, Supporter. It honours those who contribute between $10,000 and $49,999 - in cash or in kind - to museums, arts and heritage.
The NHB says this newly introduced category at the annual awards is intended to broaden the pool of supporters for the heritage scene, and encourage organisations and individuals to get involved in preserving the country's unique heritage.
At a simple ceremony held at the National Museum of Singapore, the philanthropists were recognised for cash and in-kind contributions and donations of objects. The total amount received in 2013 was $20 million, more than twice that in 2012. Acting Minister for Community, Culture and Youth Lawrence Wong gave out the awards.
City Developments Limited (CDL) received the highest honour, the Distinguished Patron of Heritage, for those who give $2 million or more in cash, artworks or artefacts. Last year, it created the CDL Green Gallery at the Singapore Botanic Gardens Heritage Museum.
CDL's deputy chairman Kwek Leng Joo, 60, said: "In today's fast-paced world, it is easy to forget our past. But heritage is an irreplaceable source of inspiration that grounds people to our beginnings and collective identity. As a home-grown corporation, we recognise and stay committed to contributing towards worthy heritage causes, in particular initiatives that engage the wider community."
Other recipients included Singapore Press Holdings, which received the Partner award for supporting various exhibitions and waiving copyright fees for the use of photographs on projects such as the 2013 Singapore HeritageFest.
Retired doctor Jon Lim and his wife Doreen, who donated four pieces of intricate jewellery to the Peranakan Museum, were among the 74 who received the newly introduced Supporter award. The pieces donated belonged to Dr Lim's mother, Madam Heah Seok Yeong, who died in 1948 and gave the jewellery to Mrs Lim as part of her wedding trousseau.
Said Mrs Lim, 65: "We wanted to celebrate my mother-in-law's story. We felt donating the pieces to the museum would give these special family heirlooms the place it deserves. It can hopefully also be appreciated by generations to come."