Cultural diversity is Singapore's treasure

Singapore should make known its rich diversity, rather than flaunt how wealthy it is to the world.

It is, after all, an example of how people from varying backgrounds, regardless of culture, language or religion, can come together as one while still practising their own customs and traditions.

It is all about establishing harmony, with a large dose of tolerance and understanding.

This is why it was eye-opening to read about the exhibition on Chetti Melakans at the Indian Heritage Centre (Showcase of the other Peranakan community; Sept 7).

I am heartened by how they have managed to retain their heritage and are now able to put it on display, with a provenance that goes back centuries and is unique to this part of the world.

It is absolutely essential for Singapore to eventually collate and document all such cultural treasures, with the support of all communities big and small, in a book. It would make for interesting reading but, more importantly, it would be a record of Singapore's rich diversity.

This could also add to our attractiveness as a tourist destination, not just to the casual visitor, but also to those of a scholarly bent, such as historians, who would be drawn to come here and study the intricate tapestry that is our national fabric.

Manoraj Rajathurai

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 17, 2018, with the headline 'Cultural diversity is Singapore's treasure'. Print Edition | Subscribe