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27 Apr 2022

Public call for contributions launches in conjunction with an all-new travelling exhibition – “Share Your Story, Shape Our Memorial”
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Singaporeans Invited to Contribute Artefacts and Stories From the 1950s – 1970s to the Founders’ Memorial

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Singapore, 27 April 2022 – Did you know that the Rollei 35 LED camera, recognised both locally and abroad for its quality, is a proudly made-in-Singapore product that became a household name way back in the 1970s? Rollei was one of the international companies that set up operations in Singapore during our industrialisation years when our founding leaders pursued a bold vision of transforming our economy. To achieve this, we had to show the world that Singapore was open for business. This was an uphill task for small, land-scarce Singapore, and our first generation of leaders and people had to be resilient in the face of challenges, while remaining open and adaptable to new opportunities. “We in Singapore believe in hard work. We believe that enterprise should be rewarded and not penalised. We believe that we must adjust ourselves to changing situations. We believe in seizing economic opportunities and not let them go past us. Finally, we believe in self-reliance…” - Dr Goh Keng Swee, 15 March 1969

2 The Share Your Story, Shape Our Memorial travelling exhibition that features a public call for artefacts and stories will present Singapore’s nation-building years, and introduce some of our founding values that will anchor the Memorial’s content. The travelling exhibition will kick off at Gardens by the Bay on 28 April 2022, before travelling to various locations around the island, including shopping malls, community hubs, libraries and schools, till February 2023. An online version of the travelling exhibition will also be available on the Founders’ Memorial website to enable greater access.

Shaping the Founders’ Memorial Together

3 The Founders’ Memorial will honour Singapore’s founding generation and leaders by commemorating the ideals and values on which independent Singapore was built. Since the inception of the Founders’ Memorial in 2015, Singaporeans have been engaged at various stages and on various aspects of the Memorial’s development, including its objectives, concept, location, design, and visitor experience. In 2019, Singaporeans were invited to vote for their favourite architectural design among the shortlisted designs from the international design competition. More than 50,000 votes were cast and the jury took these into consideration when selecting the proposal by Kengo Kuma & Associates and K2LD Architects. Singaporeans are once again invited to play a part in the making of the Memorial by contributing their very own artefacts and stories from the 1950s to 1970s, such as the Rollei 35 LED camera, to the Memorial. The Share Your Story, Shape Our Memorial travelling exhibition and public call provide another opportunity for Singaporeans to play a part in the making of the Memorial in the lead-up to its opening slated for 2027. 

4 Mr Lee Tzu Yang, Co-Chairman of the Founders’ Memorial Committee, said: “Engagement is at the very core of the making of the Founders' Memorial. It will be a unifying space for all Singaporeans, of which we all can be proud, that represents the Singapore spirit. Sharing our stories and experience from our coming together as a nation will serve to inform us for the future, as a beacon of hope to inspire us. Just as our founding leaders and generations learnt, if we stand together as a people, we will emerge stronger from the challenges and uncertainties that confront us, and create new possibilities for future generations, now and in the years ahead.”

5 The public call invites Singaporeans to submit artefacts and stories from the 1950s to the 1970s – a critical chapter in Singapore’s nation-building journey. The artefacts and stories can be related to a national policy or historical milestone linked to Singapore’s independence and/or encounters with our founding leaders, including establishing citizenship, building a shared Singapore identity, or industrialisation and Singapore’s pursuit for economic progress. Artefacts and stories should also illustrate the founding values of multiculturalism, boldness, openness, resilience, integrity, and service to others before self, which were identified and distilled from earlier engagements with Singaporeans. These values are integral to who we are as Singaporeans as they underpin the policy deliberations, dilemmas and decisions undertaken by our founding leaders in our early nation-building years, and remain relevant to us today. 

6 Mr Timothy de Souza, a Founders’ Memorial Committee member, who has also stepped forward to contribute an artefact – a 1968 photograph of his training days in the United Kingdom to become one of Singapore’s first fighter pilots – said: “The 1950s to 1970s was a period of dramatic transformation for Singapore. Our founding leaders were confronted by the most daunting challenges and pressing questions, and we, the people, rallied behind them. It was almost like all of us were in a lifeboat together. To succeed, we had to give all our heart and soul to row together as one. It is this togetherness that forged our nation, and that is why the Memorial is looking for artefacts that bear witness to our formative years. The histories and stories behind them give life to the founding generation’s spirit that resonates till today. We hope that more Singaporeans will come forward to share their personal artefacts and stories, and help shape our Founders’ Memorial.”

7 The public can submit their artefacts or stories online via the Founders’ Memorial’s multi-lingual website (go.gov.sg/shapeourmemorial). Physical submissions of objects will not be accepted at the travelling exhibition venues. To guide submissions, a wishlist containing examples of artefacts and stories that the Memorial is looking for can be found on the Founders’ Memorial website. All submissions will be evaluated and assessed for their relevance to Singapore’s nation-building history, experiences with our founding leaders, as well as embodiment of our founding values. Selected contributions from the public call will be featured in the Memorial’s galleries when it opens. 

8 Please refer to the following annexes available here for more information:

  • Annex A: Share Your Story, Shape Our Memorial exhibition highlights 
  • Annex B: Wishlist for contributions of artefacts and stories 
  • Annex C: Share Your Story, Shape Our Memorial travelling schedule 
  • Annex D: Factsheet on Founders’ Memorial 
  • Annex E: 10 lesser-known facts about Singapore’s nation-building years (1950s to 1970s) and the Founders’ Memorial Website: https://go.gov.sg/shapeourmemorial
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For media enquiries, please contact: 
Soe Honey Cho Mobile: 8885 0753 
Say Hua Lee Mobile: 9668 4605 

About the Founders’ Memorial The Founders’ Memorial will commemorate the founding values and ideals exemplified by Singapore’s first generation of leaders, as well as other key figures who played important roles in Singapore’s path to independence and nation-building journey. The Memorial will focus on the period of 1950s to 1970s in Singapore’s history, explored through the lens of policy deliberations, dilemmas and decisions that illustrate how our leaders and people were guided through the tumultuous nation-building years by founding values such as multiculturalism, resilience and openness. Distilled from the Memorial’s continued engagement with Singaporeans since its inception in 2015, these values have become foundational to Singapore, and continue to underpin who we are today as a people and nation. Envisioned as an integrated gallery and gardens experience at the Bay East Garden, the Memorial will not only commemorate the past, but inspire Singaporeans to commit themselves towards a better future. It will be a space that captures the spirit of our nation, serving as a unifying point for all Singaporeans. More information on the Founders’ Memorial is available at foundersmemorial.sg.


Founders’ Memorial


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