$500k to fund projects on S'pore maritime past

A dragon dance performance near the Asian Civilisations Museum yesterday during the official launch of the Singapore HeritageFest 2014.

A $500,000 fund was launched yesterday to get people to delve more deeply into Singapore's shipping stories.

Applicants stand to get grants of $1,000 to $30,000 or up to half of the total project expenditure from the fund rolled out by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) and the National Heritage Board (NHB).

The two statutory boards signed a memorandum of understanding yesterday to set up the Maritime Heritage Fund.

The projects can range from exhibitions to seminars, games and even apps. Details were announced yesterday at the official launch of the Singapore HeritageFest 2014 at the Asian Civilisations Museum.

At the event, Mr Andrew Tan, MPA chief executive, told reporters: "There was a lot of interest in the activities we organised during Singapore Maritime Week earlier this year. We were oversubscribed and we were thinking of ways to sustain this interest. So we thought, why not invite the community to give ideas to recognise our maritime past?"

Trails which led people through historical maritime landmarks were especially popular, noted Mr Tan.

Applications for grants, which will be capped at $50,000 per financial year for each successful applicant, will be accepted six times a year until March 31, 2017, and the NHB will evaluate them.

NHB chief executive Rosa Daniel said yesterday: "The port story of Singapore is very well-known. But it is more commonly known as an economic story. We want people to know that there is also a beautiful, cultural story."

Three students from Nanyang Technological University's maritime studies programme are already interested in applying.

Mr Tai Wan, 24, said the group hopes to gather and showcase old photographs and stories about the shipping industry. "As a student in this area, I want people to know more about this industry and its history. I am sure there are a lot of interesting stories to be shared, maybe even from old sailors and migrants."

This article was first published on July 20, 2014. Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to straitstimes.com for more stories.