Youth lend ideas for Singapore's Heritage Plan

Senior Minister of State, Sim Ann, at the first engagement session for the Heritage Plan.
Senior Minister of State, Sim Ann, at the first engagement session for the Heritage Plan.ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN
NAFA student Ahmad Hafiz, 24, and other youths at the first engagement session for the Heritage Plan held at the Malay Heritage Centre on May 17, 2017.
NAFA student Ahmad Hafiz, 24, and other youths at the first engagement session for the Heritage Plan held at the Malay Heritage Centre on May 17, 2017.ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN
NUS student Hadith Redzuan, 23, at the first engagement session for the Heritage Plan held at the Malay Heritage Centre on May 17, 2017.
NUS student Hadith Redzuan, 23, at the first engagement session for the Heritage Plan held at the Malay Heritage Centre on May 17, 2017.ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN

SINGAPORE- Mobile apps to encourage skills such as calligraphy and introducing heritage-based subjects at school were some of the many ideas proposed by youth at an engagement session on Wednesday (May 17).

The 32 students, aged between 18 and 24, were sharing their ideas on what they felt was important to Singapore's heritage in the next five to 15 years.

The engagement session was done as part of the development of Singapore's Heritage Plan. The plan, which the National Heritage Board (NHB) is leading, is a national blueprint for the heritage sector in Singapore for the next few years. It was first announced in March this year.

NHB is hoping to receive feedback and ideas from heritage stakeholders such as youth, educators and academics. Suggestions made by stakeholders will be taken into consideration when the plans are drawn up.

While this was the last in five sessions held for youth, it was the first that saw a Senior Minister of State participating.

Ms Sim Ann, Senior Minister of State for the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth, sat with the students during the three-hour session.

"Their approaches to heritage are very multi-layered 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," Ms Sim said.

Students at the sessions spoke about whatthey felt deserved preserving in Singapore.

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

She pitched the idea of using an app to do this. "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 that was brought up was that of preserving hawker centres.

Ahmad Hafiz Bin Ibrahim, 24, brought up how sad he was to see hawkers being phased out in favour of food courts. The Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts student suggested adding hawker centres as stops on heritage tours, so people can learn more about their history.

The engagement sessions, which started in late 2016, will continue till the end of the year. They will receive the public's opinions at a later date as well.

The Heritage Plan, which has engaged over 600 participants to date, is set to be unveiled in early 2018.