Article provided by National Library Board

Why do oral history accounts by ordinary Singaporeans matter?

PHOTO: COURTESY OF ORAL HISTORY CENTRE, NATIONAL ARCHIVES OF SINGAPORE

To tell the full story of a nation's history, it is not just the voices of important players which matter, but those of ordinary Singaporeans too.

Oral history accounts by ordinary people shed light on everyday life in the past, and give insights into each interviewee's particular experiences.

The National Archives of Singapore's Oral History Centre already contains the stories of more than 4,500 interviewees, with more than 23,000 hours' worth of interviews covering topics from politics and the civil service, to vanishing trades, the performing arts, broadcasting and medical services. But, more voices are still being sought.

The Oral History Centre is now forming community oral history committees for Malays, Chinese, Indians and Eurasians here.

The committees will work with community stakeholders to add more voices to the Singapore story and develop a comprehensive oral history collection, representative of Singapore's society.

Access NAS' oral history collection through the Archives Online portal at www.nas.gov.sg/archivesonline.

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