Mark your calendar! The S’pore HeritageFest is back with a bang

Let’s face it, some things lose their charm when it gets pivoted digitally, and the Singapore HeritageFest is one of them.

Thankfully, this year’s event will be full of immersive activities celebrating the achievements and milestones in our public transportation and sporting history.  

With over 80 programmes spread across four weekends in May, the challenge will be finding time to fit it all in.

Exploring our heritage through transport and sports

For transport enthusiasts, this year’s HeritageFest might as well be Disneyland. 

There is an exhibition on transport memorabilia, a talk by TikTok sensation Matthew Tay (otherwise known as Singapore’s youngest bus driver) and even a hands-on experience with a letterpress, which was how we printed bus tickets before the era of ez-link cards. 

And for something the whole family can enjoy, check out Changing Shifts, a fun and light-hearted play about powerful yet fleeting interactions between commuters and transport

workers. Best of all, admission is free!

Besides transport, the festival will shine a spotlight on sports. 

In particular, the lives of our sports pioneers and the stories behind iconic landmarks such as Katong Pool and Jalan Besar Stadium. There will also be opportunities to try out lesser-known martial art forms such as Silat and Silambam

And lastly, if you happen to be an adult missing the excitement of sports days at school, head down to the National Museum in your PE attire and join in the Closing Weekend Sports Day

From the classic gunny sack race to the old-school Main Lereng (a game where players guide a bicycle rim across the finish line with a stick), nostalgia and fun are guaranteed. 

Preserving the past for the future

History need not be a bland and tedious affair dominated by artefacts and buildings. In fact, the annual HeritageFest has made sure of that by coming up with refreshing ways to get us to examine our past. 

Now into its 20th edition, this year’s focus on transport and sports is another example of how ordinary subjects can tell us extraordinary stories about our traditions, beliefs and way of life. 

And here’s the thing, once you start looking, you will find traces of our heritage scattered everywhere around the mundane – hawker food, street names, social practices and even playgrounds. 

As Singapore moves forward as a nation, we must engage actively with our heritage and harness this mosaic of memories to strengthen our community ties, national identity and economic potential. 

After all, heritage is an inheritance we should not squander. And it is in this spirit that we preserve our past so that future generations of Singaporeans can continue to draw strength and wisdom from it.

Because as William Faulkner has said: “The past is never dead. It is not even past.” 

Photo Source: Singapore Heritage Fest/NHB