Preserve home where history was in the making

Preserve home where history was in the making

Former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew's residence at 38, Oxley Road should be officially gazetted a national heritage site.

This fairly large colonial-style house should not be demolished but should be preserved for as long as is practical.

It was here, in the basement of the house more than half a century ago, that a group of altruistic and committed politicians gathered frequently to discuss and plan Singapore's self-autonomy and subsequent independence from the British administration during those turbulent days in the 1950s.

Under the management of the National Heritage Board, this property could be constantly well maintained and renovated, instead of being allowed to deteriorate into shambles.

It would be most regrettable if Mr Lee's house were eventually demolished.

Students would have to make do with referring to pictures of our statesman's house in their history textbooks, which is not a very constructive way of teaching and learning history.

If the house were converted into a public museum, students and members of the public - including tourists - would have something more concrete to relate to, and it would also be a way of instilling patriotism and fostering national bonding.

Unless there are compelling reasons to do so, we should not demolish the house, as this would be an irreversible move.

I sincerely hope that the relevant authorities will seriously consider preserving 38, Oxley Road as a national monument, which would serve as a useful and constant reminder to all Singaporeans of Mr Lee's legacy.

This article was first published on March 26, 2015.
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