5 May marked the opening of the Bedok Heritage Trail by the National Heritage Board
(NHB). As the 15th of such heritage trails located across the island, the Bedok Heritage Trail spans over 15 km and features 10 heritage markers in place at the significant heritage sites around the East Coast area.
The trail was launched in conjunction with the Housing & Development Board’s (HDB) Remaking Our Heartland initiative to showcase the heritage found in the area around the East Coast.
A comprehensive trail booklet was designed to complement participants on the Bedok Heritage Trail. Copies of the trail map will also be made available at the five Community Centres and Clubs in the East Coast area as well as on NHB’s new heritage portal at www.roots.sg.
The marked sites chosen for the trail include estates such as Chai Chee, Siglap and Frankel estates as well as various military landmarks and even the former coastline.
Participants will be greeted with scenes of the past along the trail with visits to numerous significant places, such as where Singapore's first President Yusof bin Ishak called home and where the sea met the shore before land reclamation projects took place along the eastern coast between 1962 and 1985.
“As with all our heritage trails, we hope that the Bedok Heritage Trail will be able to raise the awareness of residents and visitors about Bedok’s rich and diverse heritage and increase their appreciation for the interesting landmarks around the estate,” said Mr Alvin Tan, Assistant Chief Executive of Policy & Community of NHB.
“In doing so, we hope that the Bedok Heritage Trail will foster a greater sense of belonging and rootedness amongst residents, and instil a sense of pride in Singaporeans about the role Bedok has played in Singapore’s progress as a nation,” he added.
A mobile application, Singapore Heritage Trails, was also launched on 5 May on the iOS App Store and Google Play Store. The app was developed by NHB in collaboration with the Keio-NUS CUTE Center, a partnership between the National University of Singapore and Keio University in Japan.
It allows users to use their smartphones to navigate one 80 trails available on the app, as well as to view, post and share photos and comments on social media.
“This project is the first attempt to consolidate all of Singapore’s heritage trails,” said Dr Kelvin Cheng, a research fellow at the Keio-NUS CUTE Center. “We wanted to build a platform that is more social and encourage contributions from the public to build on their memories with user-generated content.”
For Singapore HeritageFest 2016, a NHB community outreach programme, guided bus tours through Bedok will be available over the weekend of 7 and 8 May. The tours are open to the public at $5 per person and signups can be done on the HeritageFest website.
The NHB has also planned for two more heritage trails to be opened to the public by this year. A trail in Bukit Timah will be revamped and a brand new trail will be developed in Little India.