Importance of heritage for continued progress

It was with a deep sense of pride and identity that I greeted the news of our well-preserved 156-year-old Botanic Gardens being officially declared a Unesco World Heritage site ("Yes, Botanic Gardens is a World Heritage Site" and "Unesco title plants Singapore firmly on world map"; both published on Sunday).

This gift to Singapore, as the nation celebrates its jubilee year, has a special meaning not only for the country but also for my family and me .

I recall the nostalgically happy memories of yesteryears when we spent many evenings strolling and bonding amid its lawns, flowers and the sheer beauty of nature that the gardens epitomised.

As Singaporeans, we can be justifiably proud that the scenically designed green lung situated in the heart of the city has contributed immensely to our heritage, giving us much-needed community space as well as exceptional value in terms of ecological enhancement, biodiversity conservation, culture, history, economy, scientific knowledge, and botanical and horticultural research.


As a Singaporean, I am delighted and proud that Botanic Gardens is now a Unesco World Heritage Site.

Perhaps one of our orchids could be named "Unesco" to commemorate the occasion and the celebration of SG50.


In addition, tourists have all along been charmed by its pristine splendour and natural beauty.

It is noteworthy that heritage conservation has been given increasing importance by the Government over the years, to give multicultural and multiracial Singaporeans a greater sense of cultural identity, history and nation-building.

The Botanic Gardens, as a heritage site, clearly has much symbolism, by producing a historical sense of time, place and authenticity while its Asian mystique has lured many visitors and tourists.

To this extent, the Government is to be congratulated for placing emphasis on the aesthetic and historical significance, along with the community value, of the Botanic Gardens.

We should take pride in our cultural heritage and traditions and thereby imbibe a sense of local cultural identity.

It is clear that the historically constructed narrative of heritage conservation promotes social stability that will contribute to Singapore's continued progress and development.

V. Subramaniam (Dr)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 07, 2015, with the headline 'Importance of heritage for continued progress'. Print Edition | Subscribe