Contested transnational heritage: the demolition of Changi prison, Singapore

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    In 2004 the Singaporean government demolished Changi prison in the face of considerable opposition from the Australian government because of the prison's association with the captivity of prisoners of war during the Second World War. In opposing the demolition the Australian government was constrained by the fact that it was challenging the accepted right of a sovereign government to manage national heritage sites; by the lack of a shared history surrounding Changi; and the absence of any agreed international regimes governing 'transnational heritage'. The case of Changi also demonstrates the manner in which heritage significance can be displaced from 'real' to 'un-real' (or substitute) sites, that lack the authenticity attributed to them but are invested with a significant emotional power at the level of individual memory and popular culture. In this, Changi is, finally, a testimony to the way in which the construction of memory is a dynamic interactive process between individuals, organisational stakeholders and the state.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)298-316
    JournalInternational Journal of Heritage Studies
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 2009


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