Singapore

Move to make Bicentennial Experience permanent being studied: DPM Heng

Heng: Singaporeans want a better understanding of the country's story

Many Singaporeans have called for the Bicentennial Experience to be made permanent, and this is a move that the Government will carefully study, Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat said yesterday.

"We are studying this because it is not just one or two particular exhibits (that we are looking at). We want to see how we can curate this as an entire experience that can tell us the Singapore story," he said.

He was speaking to reporters at the Bicentennial Experience at Fort Canning, where he also welcomed the exhibition's 500,000th visitor, Tampines Meridian Junior College student Tit Yee Kiat, 18.

Though the exhibition was initially supposed to end on Sept 15, it has been extended to the end of the year in response to public feedback. The extension was announced at the National Day Rally in August, and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said it would give more people the chance to view it.

The showcase takes visitors back in time to witness key moments in Singapore's transformation over 700 years, and is one of the main highlights of this year's bicentennial commemoration.

Mr Heng said one of his takeaways from the Bicentennial Experience is that Singaporeans want to have a better understanding of the past.

"One important area that we are working on now is the Singapore Together movement. I would like to see how we can bring Singaporeans together to talk about our past, and what does this mean for our future? By looking back at our past, I think we can chart our future better together."

REINVENTION

Another frequent comment that he has received from visitors is that although Singapore is a small place, the one quality that allows it to stay relevant and useful to the world is its ability to keep reinventing itself, he told reporters.

"We will have to continue to make changes as the world changes around us... This exhibition also highlights that our fate as a nation is very much linked to what happens around us, around the world."

Yee Kiat, who attended the exhibition for the first time with his family yesterday, said he was impressed by the special effects used in the exhibition. He hopes that it can be a permanent attraction.

"It's a cool way of learning more about Singapore history. For instance, I've never heard about the events that happened before 1819, such as the battles that had taken place between the empires in the region. It was something new to me."

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