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Thursday, July 16, 2009

Wee Cheng on Channelnewsasia: S'porean campaigning for sites in the republic to achieve World Heritage status

 

S'porean campaigning for sites in the republic to achieve World Heritage status
By Tan Yew Guan, Channel NewsAsia | Posted: 04 July 2009 2253 hrs

 
 
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S'porean campaigning for sites in the republic to achieve World Heritage status  

SINGAPORE: A Singaporean is campaigning for sites in the republic, to join the likes of the Taj Mahal and the Great Wall as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. 

And his quest may not be as far fetched as it sounds. 

From the Taj Mahal to the ancient Pyramids, Tan Wee Cheng is no stranger to UNESCO world heritage sites. 

In fact, in Singapore's Book of Records, he is the republic's most well travelled man having visited 174 territories. 

Even after seeing all that the world has to offer, he still thinks not one, but a few sites in Singapore satisfy UNESCO's listing criteria of "outstanding universal value".

Singapore's Botanic Gardens is one of them. 

He said: "This is where rubber was first successfully planted and exploited on a commercial basis. That not only changed the entire landscape of Malaysia and Indonesia but it also came at a time when the industrial revolution required huge quantities of rubber. 

Another possibility is Singapore's multi-cultural historical districts. 

Wee Cheng said suburbs like Tiong Bahru and Toa Payoh can qualify as examples of 20th century mass housing projects. Germany succeeded with a similar entry last year. 

But according to UNESCO, any attempt for a listing will need the government to start the ball rolling. 

The Singapore sub-commission for culture and information for UNESCO said it is aware of the growing interests. It said it is working with the relevant government agencies to study the criteria and feasibility well as the cost and benefits. 

It said should it proceed, the whole process could take up to five years. 

Malacca was accepted as a World Heritage Site last year after bidding for five years. - CNA/vm 

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