Grassroots heritage: a good idea that should have a long-term outlook

This actually made the news? (click here).

Acting Culture, Community and Youth Minister Lawrence Wong said “The government will announce more measures to support Singapore’s heritage towards the year-end”. But why is this ‘news’ if there are no details of 1) what the measures are,  and 2) what is the current situation that needs to be bolstered by such measures? And the quote was taken from him when he was at a Queenstown heritage event, on which the article does not elaborate! Sorry la Straits Times, I really don’t understand what makes a ‘story’ in your papers…

But as mentioned in a previous post, this looks like the start of a more community-centric push for a grassroots ‘heritage’ that is away from the posh-ness (and relative inaccessibility) of museums/galleries. But let’s hope that these grassroots initiatives are sustainable, and not just done for some icing on the cake for our 50th anniversary in 2015. I am just afraid that leading up to 2015, there’ll be lots of NHB money given to older communities to do their coffee-table books, regional exhibitions etc, but they all fizzle out after these have been showcased in 2015. The cultivation of ‘heritage consciousness’ takes time; people need to ‘learn’ to appreciate their heritage before they want to take charge of it. If short-term money is thrown at ‘grassroots heritage’, lots of people will benefit (such as commissioned writers/researchers of coffee-table books, exhibition companies etc), but after the rush to do the glamorous projects, the residents left behind are still the same people (perhaps the only difference would be a shiny new coffee-table book on each family’s table (signed by their MP no less!), of which the pages have hardly been thumbed).

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