Credits for learning traditional crafts?

Idea mooted at youth session held by NHB on how to protect country's heritage

Just like people get credits to exercise or take up courses, there could also be credits for them to spend on learning traditional crafts such as batik painting.

This was one idea that came up at a feedback session for students held by the National Heritage Board (NHB) last night to gather suggestions on what should be done to protect Singapore's heritage in the next five to 15 years.

A total of 32 students, aged between 18 and 24, took part in the session, which was aimed at obtaining feedback for the NHB's blueprint for the heritage sector.

The Heritage Plan for Singapore was announced by Minister for Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY) Grace Fu during the Budget debate in March.

NHB hopes to get feedback and ideas from heritage stakeholders such as youth, educators and academics, with their suggestions to be taken into consideration when the plans are drawn up.

Ms Sim Ann, Senior Minister of State for MCCY, sat in and listened to the students yesterday, in the last of five sessions for youth.

"Their approaches to heritage are very multilayered and thoughtful and I think the ideas they have shared will certainly help to inform and enrich NHB's thinking about the Singapore Heritage Plan," she said.

Students at the session spoke about what they feel should be preserved in Singapore.

Nanyang Technological University student Sarah Farheenshah Begum, 24, believed that crafts such as batik painting should be encouraged so they do not die out.

She suggested an app that gives people money to learn these traditional arts. "The app could give people a certain amount of money at the start of the year and they could use the money on things like learning calligraphy or batik painting," she said.

Another idea was to preserve hawker centres.

Mr Ahmad Hafiz Ibrahim, 24, said he was sad to see hawker centres replaced by foodcourts.

The Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts student suggested adding hawker centres, such as Tekka Market, as stops on heritage tours as they have a rich history.

The sessions, which started late last year, will continue till the end of the year.

The Heritage Plan, which has received feedback from more than 600 people, is set to be unveiled early next year.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 18, 2017, with the headline 'Credits for learning traditional crafts?'. Print Edition | Subscribe