Preservation of Monuments Board launches tours on local monuments

Did you know the watch tower of the Central Fire Station was once the tallest monument in Singapore when the station was completed in 1909?

At 110 feet, it was also the ideal height for fire-fighters to dry their fire hoses.

And just a stone’s throw away is the MICA Building, which was formerly the Hill Street Police Station. It used to house 1,000 people, including policemen and their families.

These are some nuggets of history that volunteer guides like 32-year-old Jill Wong uses to weave together a rich narrative about Singapore’s national monuments.

Most of these monuments are found in the civic district – one of the oldest parts of Singapore.

Organised by the Preservation of Monuments Board, the tours are meant to give participants a flavour of the past lives these buildings led, decades before their current form.

For Jill, Singapore’s short history is just as colourful and fascinating as those of older cities like London and New York.

She said: “I am kinda hoping that through these tours, whether it’s through PMB tours or museum tours, that people get that sense that this place, even though Singapore is not very old at all, is fascinating and there are cool stories if you just try and look for them.”

This year, the board is going all out, with four times as many volunteer guides and tours compared to last year. Last year, there were only four guides and five tours, compared to 16 adult guides and 20 tours this year.

PMB said these tours attract a mix of participants from students to retirees, and tourists. People can learn more about Singapore’s history through the 20 new Monumental Walking Tours held two days a week, from June till July 2011.

Source : Channel NewsAsia – 11 Jun 2011

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