The PAP Seniors Group (PAP.SG) has issued a call for an open space to be conceived as a Memorial Park for all Singaporeans at Fort Canning. The place will serve as a venew for contemplation and reflection. The main reason for its recommendations of a Memorial Park at Fort Canning Park is its long and rich history, which is intertwined with that of the city-state. Fort Canning once served as the seat of power in Singapore, even pre-dating the colonial period.
Said Mdm Halimah Yacob, Speaker of Parliament and Chairperson of PAP.SG, “Singaporeans crave a place of quiet amidst today’s hustle and bustle to reflect on what is truly important to us as a nation. Fort Canning Park holds a unique blend of historical relics, lush greenery and expansive lawns, both attractive and appropriate to serve such dignified purpose. The place must serve the needs of everyone and their families, for today’s generation and the next.
We believe that setting a monument in an accessible, public park is a fitting tribute to the vision of Singapore as a garden city-state. National parks are secular, national space open to all, regardless of class, creed or religion. The vision of a garden city encapsulates not only the efforts to enhance the quality of life in a small city-state but also embodies the ideals of inclusiveness, which our founders fought for with passion, all their lives.”
The paper outlines the dual purpose of this Memorial Park: to remind Singaporeans of the trials and tribulations that had to be overcome to build the modern nation-state of Singapore, and to recognise the contributions of the founding generation of pioneers who led Singapore in the journey from struggling port city to a first world metropolis.
The very qualities and values that have helped Singapore develop as a nation-state in the past fifty years are not historically static. The Memorial Park will continue to be relevant as we progress, and this living legacy will continue to influence and impact our future as a nation.
To convey such importance and significance, the paper outlined several ideas for the Memorial Park such as: incorporating artistic and thoughtful sculptures/features; landscaped gardens for contemplation; spaces for internal exhibitions and talks; some spaces for activities for children. The space should be designed as part of a ‘start and end’ of a Historical Walk/Museum trail experience through the civic district. Ideas for the Memorial Park should be further developed through ground-up, and community initiatives involving young Singaporeans and ideally led by multi-agency efforts involving for instance, the National Archives, the National Heritage Board, among others.
Read the full paper.