Memorial park among ideas for S'pore founders

Memorial park among ideas for S'pore founders

A day after the Government said a committee would be formed to canvass views and conceptualise a memorial for Singapore's pioneer leaders, Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong said he favoured the idea of a park to remember Singapore's founding fathers.

"I think the idea of a Founders Memorial Park to trace the making of a nation, capturing its trials and tribulations, is more meaningful," Mr Goh said in a Facebook post yesterday.

Salesman Ken Chew, 39, jumped at the idea, saying the park should be built at Marina Bay, which symbolises the forward thinking of founding prime minister Lee Kuan Yew.

Mr Lee, who died on March 23, had envisioned a freshwater reservoir at the bay in the 1980s.

Already at the site is the iconic Gardens by the Bay, which encapsulates Mr Lee's passionate belief in creating green lungs to make an urban city livable.

"Mr Lee Kuan Yew envisioned a great future for the area - and it was fulfilled in less than two decades," noted Mr Chew.

"It is reflective of the huge change the whole of Singapore went through too, so it's a fitting place to honour not just Mr Lee, but all our founders," he added.

Mr Chew also suggested the park have panels on the lives and contributions of the pioneer leaders such as Toh Chin Chye, Goh Keng Swee and S. Rajaratnam.

The idea of a memorial park was among the suggestions made by ordinary Singaporeans yesterday, when asked how best the country can honour the legacy of Mr Lee and his team of leaders, as well as to educate future generations on it.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong told Parliament on Monday that Lee Tzu Yang, chairman of Esplanade, will head a committee on a Founders' Memorial.

Mr Lee supported the idea of such a memorial, Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen wrote on Facebook yesterday, as it could teach future generations about the values and beliefs that built a successful Singapore.

But Yeo Kang Shua of the Singapore University of Technology and Design believes a regularly updated exhibition on the leaders who guided modern Singapore in its early years will be a meaningful way to honour their work.

"An exhibition would be more informative and interactive," he said. "Honouring them shouldn't revolve just around physical reminders, but done in a way that can reach into the lives of Singaporeans too."

Marketing assistant Marilyn Lim, 29, wants podcasts of speeches by Mr Lee and the other founding fathers at the memorial.

Graduate student S. Puvaneswary, 26, would like to see exhibition content in all four official languages.

Several agree with PM Lee that there was no need to rush the decision on a memorial.

Retired shop owner Robert Wong, 60, said: "We always want to get things done fast, but these people spent years building Singapore. Do we want statues that will just gather dust? Do we want roads with their names? Let's give them our patience and think things through."

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