Singaporeans and foreign visitors can attend a myriad of activities held by the National Heritage Board in over 60 programmes at 11 festival hubs and several exhibitions in the framework of Singapore HeritageFest 2014 lasting from July 18-27.

At the opening of the Singapore HeritageFest 2014 on July 19, Minister of Culture, Communication and Youth Lawrence Wong said, “This year’s HeritageFest, with the theme ‘Our islands, Our Home’, is all about our past, and in fact, our present as a marine nation. We owe our modern existence to our strategic location as a free port, beginning as a small trading post some 200 years ago.”

According to the Minister, the Festival’s aim is to raise awareness of people that Singapore is not just a lone island, but an archipelago of islands.

Singapore was once made up of over 70 islands, but today has just about 40, with several merged and others transformed into landfills and tourist attractions.

Visitors to Kusu Island will be treated to a performance from the Siong Leng Musical Association. It will perform a rendition of nanyin, one of the oldest existing musical styles of China that is usually only performed during the ninth lunar month at the island's Tua Pek Kong temple.

Excursions to Kusu, St John’s, Lazarus and Seringat islands are among the highlights of this year’s edition, the 11th so far. Festival-goers will also be offered with guided trails to places of worship, clan associations and old shop-houses as well as artistic performances. All activities are made possible through the support of over 40 community groups and partners as well as many people.

Also on this occasion, a memorandum of understanding on the setting up of a 500,000 SGD Maritime Heritage Fund was signed between the National Heritage Board and the Maritime and Port Authority. The money will support initiatives to raise awareness of Singapore's maritime heritage, including walks, multi-media productions and exhibitions.-VNA