via Straits Times, 23 April 2019: The conference Singapura before Raffles was held in Singapore last month. Opening comments by the Senior Minister of State for Defence and Foreign Affairs.
In a speech on Tuesday (April 23), Senior Minister of State for Defence and Foreign Affairs Maliki Osman, who opened a two-day conference on ancient harbours at the National University of Singapore (NUS), said: “At each critical point, Singapore could have taken a wrong turn and been replaced by another port located somewhere between Jakarta and Penang or Aceh.”
He said there are lessons that can be learnt from history which can serve as a guide to what the future might become.
“Old frameworks and networks are now under pressure, and new ideas have to be found to keep them working and become even more efficient. This is one instance where greater understanding of the past may help people of the present to stand by their convictions in the face of negative criticism and figure out how to keep alive the values which have sustained the Silk Road of the sea for 2,000 years.”
The conference “Singapura before Raffles: Archaeology and the Seas, 400BCE-1600 CE” has been organised by the NUS Department of Southeast Asian Studies, supported by the National Heritage Board, in support of the Bicentennial.