Date
20 September 2017
A new textbook tells of Singapore's much earlier incarnation as a trading hub. Photo: Pure Travel
A new textbook tells of Singapore's much earlier incarnation as a trading hub. Photo: Pure Travel

Can HK take leaf from Singapore book on the past?

Hong Kong’s greatest debates now are about its future but archeological discoveries along the To Kwa Wan section of the MTR’s Shatin-Central link are raising questions about the value of its past. 

Apple Daily reported earlier this month that ancient wells dating back 1,200 years to the Song and Yuan dynasties have been found along the line and concern groups want them preserved. Hundreds of other relics were destroyed before the items could be recorded, the report said. 

The government has agreed to preserve one of the wells because of its stable structural condition. And no construction work will be carried out in the adjacent area.

But otherwise it’s full steam ahead with the project.  

Singapore, too, is a city better known for its present than its distant past but now a new textbook could offer lessons for Hong Kong. 

The New York Times reported Sunday that National University of Singapore (NUS) archaeology professor John Miksic is advising the government on the new school text “Singapore: The Making of a Nation-State, 1300-1975″. The book builds on the work of Miksic and his team who uncovered evidence of a city center dating back to 1300.

The finds include 30,000 items such Chinese coins and pottery, Indian glass bangles, and gold jewelry, shedding light on a time hundreds of years ago when Singapore was a lively, diverse trading hub, the report said.

Yale-NUS College history professor Derek Heng was quoted as saying that Singaporeans will feel more rooted if they see “their early predecessors as part of a longer regional legacy, rather than a British colonial transplant.”

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