Much can be gained from the move to give the community a central role in the marking of the 200th anniversary of the founding of modern Singapore next year. After all, it is the Singapore melting pot that has persevered and survived during the past two centuries. Generations have come and gone, but they have left their indelible mark on a single piece of territory largely because of the diversity of contributions. Singapore today is the cumulative result of those collective lives - the setbacks, dreams and exertions of many over successive eventful decades.
It would have been strange had a single agency taken exclusive responsibility for narrating the history of Singapore over the past 200 years. The people - today's Singaporeans who have inherited a common past - are better able to give full meaning to the significance of the bicentennial. Official events can help by providing a framework that reflects Singapore's slow but steady evolution towards social unity through the everyday celebration of cultural diversity. But it is Singaporeans who must commemorate that past by engaging it as individuals and as a community.