Singapore’s National Treasures: How safe are they when the crap hits the fan?

It’s been a few months since the new National Heritage Board ‘National Collection’ department has been formed. Ms Loh Heng Noi (ex-director of Heritage Conservation Centre) became the new director, but I have not heard anything about what this department does. There’s an online sgcool portal, which is pretty spiffy if you are looking for artifacts.

Then I came across this article (click here), sharing that Kuwait (which was invaded by Iraq some 20+ years ago) is STILL looking for national treasures that were looted during the war. National treasures not only get looted by invading armies. Even in civil wars, such as the current one in Syria, locals also steal their own priceless artifacts (click here).

So when war comes knocking on Singapore’s doors (involving foreign armies or local militias), what protection plans are in there in place to help save our treasures from theft and/or destruction? Well, we do have ‘national treasures’, as stated in National Museum’s website (click here where the Singapore stone is one of these). I assume that these treasures are spread out across a few places, from the National Museum to the store in Jurong. All these places where the treasures are stored/displayed are prominent buildings that are easy targets in war. So when the crap hits the fan, will these artifacts be spirited away to a safe underground secret storage?

In some countries, the safety of national treasures is paramount. For example, the Palace Museum in Taipei has actually built mountain-bunkers to store their stuff, no doubt to keep them safe if the neighbour comes attacking (click here). From the ruins of war, I assume Taiwan would turn to the saved artifacts as their country’s legitimate claim to being the rightful ‘Chinese’ government.

So that got me wondering if the new National Collection dept in Singapore has in place a ‘national treasures protection plan’ (or at least is the process of drafting one)? I suppose even if they have one, we would not learn about it due to ‘secrecy’. But I have a slight doubt that they are even thinking about this eventuality (simply because it seems so way out of the realm of possibility). But let’s not forget that before Dec 2013 – where a full-on fracas took place where dozens of police/SCDF vehicles were destroyed – I had not entertained the thought of a riot happening in Singapore!

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6 Comments

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6 responses to “Singapore’s National Treasures: How safe are they when the crap hits the fan?

  1. Anonymous

    Good to be prepared though I don’t think our ‘national treasures” have that level of attraction…

    • Haha, then why would NHB call them ‘National Treasures’?

      • Anonymous

        What I meant is whatever the justification NHB use to qualify something as a national treasure, such as its historical significance doesn’t necessarily mean it is also highly sought after. Looters would target a museum if it has items of high commercial value or from past great civilizations.

      • treasures are not just vulnerable to looters. invading forces may destroy significant buildings/landmarks as a sign of dominance and to wipe out a country’s visible cultural heritage.

  2. Anonymous

    True but what effective “protection” can there be should we ever find ourselves in this situation?

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