Safeguarding the intangible: examining the governance of intangible cultural heritage in the Singaporean context
As Singapore progresses economically and sociopolitically, there has been greater accountability in protecting the living aspects of the nation’s heritage. This has prompted the government to recognise how Singapore’s unique intangible cultural heritage (ICH) contributes to its global position as a city of distinctive ethnic and cultural diversity. Thus, a more concerted effort has been made to develop legislative measures aimed at managing ICH and the transmission of such heritage to the Singaporean community. Especially with the country’s recent ratification of UNESCO's 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage and the inscription of Hawker Culture to the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, it has become pertinent to examine the governance strategies that have been executed in the bid to safeguard Singapore's ICH for future generations.
With respect to ICH, one might wonder how it is possible for legislation to adequately provide appropriate safeguarding provisions for a form of heritage that is continuously recreating itself without altering its authenticity. Hence, this research aims to identify and analyse Singapore’s ICH safeguarding framework through an analysis of literature, policies and plans. These plans were referenced against the recommended Operational Directives by UNESCO to discern the effects and ramifications of said strategies on Singapore’s living traditions. Ultimately, this paper hopes to provide insights and recommendations into the national and overarching policy towards safeguarding ICH.
Sep 2020 – Jan 2021
Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre
Education and Outreach Intern
Aug 2019 – Mar 2020
Rediscover: Telok Ayer Project
Social Media team
May 2017 – Jul 2017
National Gallery Singapore
Adult Learning (now Curatorial Programmes) Intern