Singapore is abuzz. And why not? The month of August is peppered with reasons to be cheerful as together we celebrate Hari Raya Puasa and Singapore’s own Birthday.
The Lion City is a lively place at any time, but come National Day, there are all manner of parades, stunts and fireworks, aimed at retelling the nation’s colourful history. Singapore’s first National Day was held at the Padang in 1966 shortly after the nation gained independence from Malaysia, bringing with it the myriad of opportunities and challenges that have been commemorated each year since.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong summed up the nation’s bright optimism saying -
“We have come a long way, but our best years are ahead of us. We have the power to shape our destiny and write a new chapter in the Singapore story. Let us stand together, and dedicate ourselves to building in Singapore a brighter future for all.”
In keeping with the celebrations, the Singapore HeritageFest (SHF) recently celebrated its 10th anniversary at the National Museum of Singapore. The launch of this year's HeritageFest was made even more meaningful as it coincided with the National Heritage Board's 20th Birthday.
The National Heritage Board (NHB) was established in 1993 as a way to champion our vibrant cultural inheritance and has made significant strides towards making our heritage accessible and enjoyable for all Singaporeans.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong was present at this year’s HeritageFest to launch a brand-new NHB initiative, the Heritage Grant. This $5 million Grant is designed to encourage Singaporeans to be active in documenting their cultural heritage and marks a fresh chapter for community engagement in our unique story.
“Those with good ideas on how to portray and celebrate Singapore's shared heritage through exhibitions, publications, documentaries or mobile apps can apply for grants ranging from $1,000 to $30,000.” Lydia Lim, The Straits Times, July 21 2013
The NHB's ongoing mission to celebrate our culture was commended by Prime Minister Lee as he referred specifically to a recent collaboration called Heritage Hawker. Heritage Hawker is a commemorative book produced by three Singaporeans, Sinma DaShow, Jernnine Pang and Jim Orca, after they embarked on a 900-day journey to record the passion and craft of Singaporean hawkers.
With support from the NHB, the book explores the lives, determination and hard work of these local street food heroes, and reveals the exceptional part they have played in building the foundation of our rich collective food heritage.
The Heritage Grant
Mrs Rosa Daniel, Chief Executive Officer of the NHB explains why the Heritage Grant is such good news -
"We have, in recent years, witnessed an increased passion and interest in heritage. It is thus timely for the introduction of a new grant scheme that will create the environment for greater community engagement and participation.
The Heritage Grant will serve as a good complement to our existing outreach efforts, such as the SHF, and deepen our collaboration with like-minded groups and individuals. Together, through these fruitful partnerships, we will build new, invaluable memories for future generations to cherish and keep."
We applaud all who are committed to cherishing Singapore’s impressive heritage. And here’s to creating many more good memories for the future!