History teaching under review: Heng

Mr Heng Swee Keat officiates the opening of the exhibition titled Memory in Prints Lee Kuan Yew and Us in conjunction with the launch of Tampines Community Tribute Book.

The public outpouring of grief after the death of founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew has prompted the Ministry of Education to review how the Republic's history is taught in schools.

Education Minister Heng Swee Keat said yesterday that it will cover how schools can "relate the past better, and relate it not just as a matter of historical facts, but also the implications for our future". Mr Heng added that the ministry is studying several ideas but it is too early to disclose the details. "We want to take our time to do it properly," he said at a community event in Tampines.

Besides history education in schools, Mr Heng, who is the anchor minister at Tampines GRC, said there are other ways to preserve the memories of Mr Lee's contributions to Singapore.

Yesterday, he launched an exhibition and a book on the seven days of the public outpouring of grief after Mr Lee died. The exhibition, The Seven Days - Lee Kuan Yew And Us, has been put together by Singapore Press Holdings Chinese newspaper Lianhe Wanbao and displays essays and photographs by the paper's journalists and photographers who covered Mr Lee's death.

Also on display are a mould of Mr Lee's feet made by his shoemaker, Mr Lee Kean Siong of Lee Hoi Wah Shoes, and a pen portrait of the founding Prime Minister by aspiring artist Ong Yi Teck made up of his name written 18,000 times.

Lianhe Wanbao editor Lee Huay Leng said the free exhibition is "not just about Mr Lee, but about Singaporeans". It is being held at the Tampines Community Plaza near Tampines MRT station until Friday.

Mr Heng also launched a book of photos showing how Tampines residents mourned Mr Lee's death at a tribute site there. Professional photographer Larry Chee, 57, led the team that put together the book, Tampines Community Tribute.

He said: "It was an emotional project. We had to shoot a few photos and put the camera away, so that we could cope with our own emotions after we saw so many people crying."

Tampines resident Low Li Yong said that the exhibition and free book help her better appreciate the contributions by Mr Lee.

"I was born in 1965 when Singapore became independent and I am 50 this year," said the clerk.

"Life got better for me. The exhibition and book are meaningful. It is our way of thanking and remembering Mr Lee."

The book Tampines Community Tribute is published by the National Youth Achievement Award Council.

To get a copy, e-mail nyaac@singnet.com.sg

This article was first published on Aug 11, 2015. Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to straitstimes.com for more stories.