YES: Myths and legends provide a broad range of benefits to Singapore and remain relevant to our lives.
Myths and legends form a rich tapestry of background stories and themes to inform our literary traditions and cultural products, such as ghost stories by local authors and film directors.
In many households, myths and legends are incorporated into religious rituals, further grounding Singaporeans in our rich religious traditions.
Myths and legends regarding Singapore’s pre-colonial historical past, such as those written in the Sejarah Melayu, or Malay Annals, provide a further layer of interpretation into the country’s pre-colonial past and affirms our historical ties to South-east Asia.
Myths and legends from different ethnic groups remain central to many traditional practices, and Singaporeans’ familiarity with them help foster bonds across ethnicities.
NO: Myths and legends may be entertaining but are largely marginal to the proper functioning or improvement of life in Singapore today.
Many of our literary efforts drawn from myths and legends, such as pontianak ghost stories, suffer from countless iterations and repetition by untalented or mediocre writers, significantly diluting their authenticity.
As the older generations pass on, religious rituals become informed by more modern interpretations, making myths and legends less central to them.
Since the chronicling of Singapore’s pre-colonial past is rooted in unreliable myths and legends rather than historically documented events, it is unwise and risky to base our historical identity on them.
The myths and legends from different ethnic traditions are increasingly replaced by social rituals, such as community dinners and events during festive occasions, which are arguably more effective in fostering bonds across ethnicities.