Between the past & present….0
The Purpose of Keeping Heritage sites is to Preserve the Physical Linkage between the Present and Past
When the relevant authorities were planning for the cemetery to give way to the highway, did they know the historical value of Bukit Brown? Or was it after the researchers and the public’s strong interest and views that they suddenly realised the importance of this site? If this is the case, it reflects a deeper layer of problem: do the upper echelons of our government officials seriously lack historical and cultural conciousness? Today Bukit Brown is affected, who is to say a similar problem will not happen in future?
More than 50 – 60 years ago, scholars like Tan Yeok Seong and Hsu Yun Tsiao did indepth research of Singapore heritage sites including cemeteries, and they also inspired later generation scholars to conduct more research.
Everyone knows that History is ever continuing, and we make use of the past to shine a torch for the future. The 19th century German philosopher Hegel once said, ” What we can see now is but the fruit of the past, and what history tell us is invariably to preserve the things left behind from the past. Hence keeping track of the development of history is like a water current, the further out it can flow, the more volume it can gather, and the more content it can generate.
The importance of preserving heritage sites is to keep the physical linkage between the past and the present. If we destroy each and every heritage site, it means destroying the links between the past and the present, it means cutting off the roots of our present generation, so that if the latter generations would like to know how their ancestors travelled the path before, they would not have the physical evidence to substantiate it
Continuous gathering of history knowledge and research should be the mission of our education sector, but alas this is where the weakness of our Singapore education lies. We should build upon the foundation of the past research done by our predecessors, expand and upgrade them to the next higher level.
Translated by Raymond Goh extracted from the article by Han Tan Juan