Guild House a symbol of vibrant university history

The Guild House in Bukit Timah is the only surviving link to the early days of tertiary education in Singapore. It should be retained and made to blend in with the Botanic Gardens' historical educational heritage.
The Guild House in Bukit Timah is the only surviving link to the early days of tertiary education in Singapore. It should be retained and made to blend in with the Botanic Gardens' historical educational heritage.BT FILE PHOTO

I support Mr Mano Sabnani's plea for the National Parks Board to reconsider its decision to take over the Bukit Timah Guild House (NParks should rethink plan for Bukit Timah Guild House; March 5).

The Guild House is symbolic of the vibrant life that existed on the Bukit Timah campus in the early days of tertiary education in Singapore.

Great educators like Sydney Caine, Alexander Oppenheim, Lim Tay Boh and B.R. Sreenivasan walked its halls.

Mr Lee Kuan Yew made his first speech to students after becoming prime minister in 1959 at the Oei Tiong Ham Hall in this campus. He came as guest of the University Socialist Club.

Professor Tommy Koh organised many inter-hall debates there as well.

Bukit Timah was a common campus for Singapore and Malaysian students, and the Guild House is the only surviving link to it.

NParks should let the Guild House remain and be run by the National University of Singapore Society.

It can insist that it not stick out like a sore thumb, but blend with the overall heritage theme of the Botanic Gardens, and be a dignified symbol of the Garden's historical educational heritage.

Gopinath Pillai

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 09, 2017, with the headline 'Guild House a symbol of vibrant university history'. Print Edition | Subscribe