Forum: Build replica of Horsburgh Lighthouse to house a maritime museum

I was delighted to read Mr Kuet Ee Yoon's suggestion to nominate the Horsburgh and Raffles lighthouses to be considered as world heritage sites under Unesco (Nominate lighthouses as world heritage sites, June 24).

When Singapore's sovereignty over Pedra Branca was successfully defended against Malaysian claims, I often wondered what the Republic would now do with this little outcrop of land.

Recent events such as the discovery of two shipwrecks close to Pedra Branca as well as this suggestion by Mr Kuet, who is co-founder of the Singapore Maritime Heritage Interest Group, have brought attention to Horsburgh Lighthouse.

Horsburgh Lighthouse is symbolic of Singapore's status as a maritime nation which depended on trade and commerce for its survival well before Sir Stamford Raffles arrived in 1819.

It is a symbol of how Singapore has become a haven not just for ships, but also for talent from all over the world to come and take root.

As Mr Harry Ong Heng Poh has observed (Consider lighthouses' safety and access aspects for tourists, July 3), Horsburgh Lighthouse's location in the open sea would make it difficult for tourists to visit safely.

Therefore, should the two lighthouses be nominated as world heritage sites, I propose that an exact replica of Horsburgh Lighthouse be built on Sentosa.

The ideal site for this is where the gigantic Merlion stood, which has a panoramic view of the Singapore skyline and also the islands surrounding Sentosa.

To make this replica lighthouse more than just a lookout point, it could house a Singapore maritime museum to showcase Singapore's long maritime history, as well as display all the artefacts recently discovered from the shipwrecks near Pedra Branca.

The timing is right for the establishment of a truly first-class national maritime museum.

A lot of work would need to be done to coordinate these proposals, but I think the present climate - with the public and private sectors looking towards Singapore's post-pandemic development and wanting to revive the country's tourism industry with new and meaningful attractions - means that they might resonate with all parties concerned.

Lee Seng Teik