Letter of the day

Nominate lighthouses as world heritage sites

The Horsburgh Lighthouse on Pedra Branca. It was built in the 1850s with granite sourced from Pulau Ubin. The Raffles Lighthouse on Pulau Satumu. The writer says both lighthouses have been integral in providing safe navigation to ships.
The Raffles Lighthouse on Pulau Satumu. The writer says both lighthouses have been integral in providing safe navigation to ships. ST FILE PHOTO
The Horsburgh Lighthouse on Pedra Branca. It was built in the 1850s with granite sourced from Pulau Ubin. The Raffles Lighthouse on Pulau Satumu. The writer says both lighthouses have been integral in providing safe navigation to ships.
The Horsburgh Lighthouse on Pedra Branca. It was built in the 1850s with granite sourced from Pulau Ubin. ST FILE PHOTO

The recent discovery of two historic shipwrecks and their artefacts in the waters off Pedra Branca further supports the Singapore Maritime Heritage Interest Group's belief that Singapore's rich maritime heritage is just waiting to be explored and shared.

Perhaps it is time for Singapore, a maritime nation, to consider charting its maritime heritage on the Unesco World Heritage List by nominating Horsburgh Lighthouse and Raffles Lighthouse as world heritage sites.

We believe that Horsburgh Lighthouse and Raffles Lighthouse fulfil Unesco's criteria for world heritage sites.

Both lighthouses were built in the 1850s with granite sourced from Pulau Ubin, under the leadership of the British colonial government and supported by workers from China.

Both of these lighthouses have since been integral in providing safe navigation to ships.

Also, as they are located in one of the world's busiest and oldest straits, close to sea lanes, and are frequently used by ships plying their trades between the East and West across the centuries, the nomination of these two lighthouses would resonate with the majority of seafarers in the world.

Taking a leaf from the process of nominating hawker culture in Singapore on Unesco's Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage, the public consultation process might be an opportunity to generate awareness among Singapore's youth of Singapore's rich maritime history, thereby stimulating their interest in, and perhaps even fostering their love for, the sea.

Kuet Ee Yoon
Co-Founder
Singapore Maritime Heritage Interest Group

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 24, 2021, with the headline Nominate lighthouses as world heritage sites. Subscribe