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Jun 15, 2011

Redeveloping Bukit Brown fine but conserve slice of social landscape

I READ with profound disappointment the Urban Redevelopment Authority's response ('Bukit Brown cemetery: Tough decision in face of housing needs, says URA'; last Saturday) to Assistant Professor Irving Chan Johnson's letter ('Don't shut a window to history'; June 6).

I am a young Singaporean who has witnessed the infrastructural developments of Singapore - which in no small part is due to the good work of the URA. But along the way, we seem to have lost the human touch and the spirit of our people.

The destruction of an important piece of Singapore's social landscape would hinder rather than build upon a nascent national identity and a sense of belonging and community. The nation-building efforts of Singapore should encompass our history and heritage.

Bukit Brown has a special place in the hearts and consciousness of many Singaporeans. It represents a link to the past for both individuals and the community.

I am not against redevelopment but the redevelopment of Bukit Brown does not necessarily have to involve the clearing away of the graves. Any future plans for the place should include the conservation and redevelopment of the existing cemetery.

Bernard Chen

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