Keep pioneer statues around permanently

The statues of Sang Nila Utama, Tan Tock Seng, Munshi Abdullah and Naraina Pillai have been installed next to the iconic one of Stamford Raffles by the Singapore River. The new statues are part of a project by the Singapore Bicentennial Office to pre
The statues of Sang Nila Utama, Tan Tock Seng, Munshi Abdullah and Naraina Pillai have been installed next to the iconic one of Stamford Raffles by the Singapore River. The new statues are part of a project by the Singapore Bicentennial Office to present a more holistic picture of the island's history.ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

I congratulate the Singapore Bicentennial Office (SBO) for its decision to erect the four statues of Sang Nila Utama, Tan Tock Seng, Munshi Abdullah and Naraina Pillai to present a more holistic picture of Singapore's history.

It is a timely reminder that Singapore's growth is the result of the cumulative contributions of both the British and various multiracial communities over the past 200 years.

However, I was surprised to learn that these statues will be removed by the end of the year.

Why should this be so? The statues of the four pioneers should be erected permanently, not treated as a temporary source of historical euphoria lasting only a year.

We would be doing future generations a disservice by not permanently preserving a balanced and holistic picture of Singapore's history.

I am also struck by the absence of Sang Nila Utama's name in Singapore's physical landscape.

We have numerous places named after Sir Stamford Raffles, but not one named after Sang Nila Utama even though he was the one who established the kingdom of Singapura in 1299.

Wan Hussin Zoohri

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 11, 2019, with the headline 'Keep pioneer statues around permanently'. Print Edition | Subscribe