Many historical sites already lost

As a filial son, Mr Lee Hsien Loong should obey his father's last wish to demolish his house, but as Prime Minister, he has a duty to preserve a historical monument. After all, isn't that the reason why conservation laws are enacted in the first place?

Many significant sites have been torn down in the name of progress. The death houses of Sago Lane, the tongkangs along the Singapore River and Great World Amusement Park are just some of them.

The demolition of these landmarks did not cause an uproar because they were of no major significance to anyone.

But demolishing the house of the nation's founding father at 38 Oxley Road is a different matter altogether.

Everything that is associated with Mr Lee Kuan Yew's life should be made public after his death.

As a wise sage, the late Mr Lee should have known better. I can only surmise that his wish stemmed from a fear of having the sanctity of his house turned into a "tourist trap" of sorts.

Some possible ways to get out of this sticky situation include:

  • Holding a referendum to decide.
  • Carrying out the instructions in the will and building a replica somewhere else.
  • Demolishing the house but building nothing in its place. A conspicuous empty plot of land can also speak volumes of the nation's indebtedness to this great man.
  • A combination of the above.

Lee Peng Hon

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 15, 2017, with the headline 'Many historical sites already lost'. Print Edition | Subscribe