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Bring local arts closer to the masses

The importance of the arts in Singapore often comes into question for their seeming irrelevance to the masses.

Some people see the arts simply as a luxury with no practical benefits to daily living.

As an arts enthusiast, I believe the arts can bring about many social benefits. The local folk songs being taught in schools are an example (Working in harmony to strike chord with students; Nov 7).

Such songs denote aspects of the Singaporean identity and bring nostalgia to those who grew up in local schools. They can promote social cohesion among Singaporeans.

This is especially important in primary schools, as many beliefs and attitudes are instilled at a young age.

A large part of the success of local folk music lies in its localisation - the use of local languages and instruments, as well as lyrics relating to the Singaporean identity.

I hope the Ministry of Education can consider a greater focus on local arts activities in its funding for the arts in school settings.

For example, for arts appreciation activities, students could be urged to watch local productions that tackle local issues.

It is heartening to see efforts that increase the accessibility and meaningfulness of the arts to the public. These can help dispel the notion that the arts are a distant construct. Such efforts can also achieve more support for the local arts scene.

Jeanette Mae De Silva (Ms)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on November 12, 2017, with the headline 'Bring local arts closer to the masses'. Print Edition | Subscribe