Saturday, August 16, 2014

Why should we remember the year 1950s-1960s?

Why should we remember the year 


We should remember the that time because what our forefathers did that time , had built the Singapore today.Also, these events taught us that we should not take things for granted. Besides that, we should not make the same mistakes again.   

Chinese students riots in Singapore (1954)

Before Singapore's independence in 1965, Chinese education in Singapore had progressed mainly due to the contributions of rich Chinese philanthropists. Chinese schools were run by governing bodies that were comprised of members selected based more on their prestige than their knowledge of running an educational institution. The British colonial government did not provide funding for Chinese schools. When it came to economic opportunities, the colonial government also preferred rewarding English-educated graduates, thereby causing dissatisfaction among the Chinese-educated segments of society.
Before the Nanyang University established in 1955, Singapore’s highest level of Chinese language education was offered by the Chinese middle schools, which are equivalent to secondary schools and junior colleges today. Political developments in China influenced these schools strongly. When China became a communist country, it exerted a strong influence on the Chinese-educated community.

How does the Chinese students riots in Singapore started?

On 13 May 1954, about 500 male and female students held a demonstration against the .
They tried to march on Government House (Istana Negara) to lodge their protest. They did not want to join National Service.
What happened next?
When they failed to disperse, the riot squad stepped in and the demonstration turned violent.
26 people were injured. The police arrested 44 boys and 1 girl, all above the age of 16. They were released the following day on bail.
Later, as the demonstration gained momentum, 1000 students locked themselves in at the Chung Cheng High School, they refused to go out.
But were later forced out by the police the next day.
How did the riot resolved?

On 18 May, a 55-man delegation demanded that students be exempted from national service but the authorities turned them down.
As more student demonstrations were expected in the weeks ahead, directors and principals of 10 boys' and girls' high schools announced on 21 May that their institutions would be closed for summer vacation two weeks earlier which is a decision that affected around 15000 Chinese students.
This led to a defiant response on 22 May as 2,500 male and female students locked themselves in the Chung Cheng High School.
Even though parents of the students came down to the school at dawn on 23 May to fetch their children, they met with opposition from student leaders who tried to prevent the parents from entering the school. The police later persuaded the leaders to let the parents pass and the school grounds were cleared peacefully by late morning.

Source A

“26 people were injured. The police arrested 44 boys and 1 girl, all above the age of 16. They were released the following day on bail.
Later, as the demonstration gained momentum, 1000 students locked themselves in Chung Cheng High School, they refused to go out.”

we can tell from Source A that the riot creates an impact on both the society and the students. “26 people were injured. The police arrested 44 boys and 1 girl,” this suggest that lots of the students were affected and “1000 students locked themselves in Chung Cheng High School” which suggests that large number of students were taking part in this riot.

Source B

Source B tells me that the Chinese students riot was a chaotic and cruel situation.This can be seen from the Chinese students throwing rocks at the police while running away from them as they heard someone shouting “comrades fight! kill the running dogs”. This shows that the students were in danger as they were going to be killed or caught by the policemen. There is also a students running with lots of police after him, this shows that there were more police officers than than the Chinese students.There were situation like shouting, throwing of rocks, holding a wooden stick and chasing had happen during the anti-national service riot, hence i think that Chinese students riot was a chaotic situation.

 Parents giving supplies and moral support to students staging a stay-in demo at Chung Cheng High School

  • Clutterbuck, R. L. (1984). Conflict and violence in Singapore and Malaysia: 1945–1983 (pp. 75-98). Singapore: G. Brash.(Call no.: RSING 959.57 CLU -[HIS])
  • Gillis, E. K. (2005). Singapore civil society and British power . Singapore: Talisman.(Call no.: RSING 959.57 GIL-[HIS])
  • Singapore: An illustrated history, 1941–1984 . (1984). Singapore: Information Division, Ministry of Culture.(Call no.: RSING 959.57 SIN -[HIS])
  • Koh, L. (2002, February). 1967 – in defence of the Singapore oasis: First call-up since independence. History Snippets, 6 (2). Retrieved July 7, 2007, from
  • Singapore Press Holdings. (1998). Run fast, and officer's job is yours. Retrieved October 14, 2004, from
  • Singapore Press Holdings. (1998). Tear gas stopped my lesson. Retrieved October 14, 2004, from

Singapore gained independence (1965)
Background information

On 9 August 1965, Singapore separated from Malaysia to become an independent and sovereign state.The separation was the result of deep political and economic differences between the ruling parties of Singapore and Malaysia, which created communal tensions that resulted in racial riots in July and September 1964.When a press conference/announcing the separation, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew was overcome by emotions and cried. Singapore’s union with Malaysia had lasted for less than 23 months.
Why Singapore wanted to merge with Malaysia?
  • Singapore wants to join the Federation of Malaya because of economy and politic. A federation is a group of states lead by a central government The federation of Malaya has 11 states in the Malay after achieving independence on the 31st of August 1957.
  • Economy reasons:  Singapore is a small country and lack of natural resources. This made it hard to survive independently. There is also a decreasing amount of entrepot trade and an increasing amount of unemployed people The Malayan government also reduced the money collected from trade on the goods traded between Singapore and Malaya
  • Since Malaya was rich in natural resources, Singapore wants to merge so that the amount of natural resources will increase. Merging with Malaya also increase space to build markets to trade A common market could be built so that goods could be freely traded with Malaya without any tax
  • This caused more money to be saved because no money is needed for revenue. The common market would also increase trade, expand industries and give more job opportunity for the locals
  • Political reasons : The British lack confidence to grant independence to Singapore as they are afraid that communist activities may cause Singapore to fall under the communist The PAP hope to increase anti-communist by merging with Malaya. This could help overpower the communist activity in Singapore
Source 1
One of the Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s radio talks quoted in The SIingapore Story:

Malaysia is important to Singapore. It is the hinterland which produces the rubber and tin that keeps our economy going. It is the base that made Singapore the capital city. Without this economic base, Singapore would not be able to survive.Without merger, without a reunification of our governments and an integration of our two economies, our economic position will slowly and steadily get worse. Your livelihood will get worse.

Memoirs of Lee Kuan Yew by Lee Kuan Yew

From Source 1, I can infer that merger brings many benefits to Singapore. Source 1 states that : “ It is the base that made Singapore the capital city. Without this economic base, Singapore would not be able to survive.” This suggest that Malaysia provides many benefits such as Common Market and available of jobs for Singaporean. This also suggests that this is an important event happened in Singapore early 1960s as Mr Lee Kuan Yew had to repeatedly telling others the importance of merger with Malaysia and how the merger can influence Singapore to be better.
What led to separation?
The PAP and the Central Government in Kuala Lumpur held different views on how tehe country should be governed. Disagreements over economic matters strained relations between the Central Government and Singapore.

Singapore and Malaysia had differences over political matters. With the formation of Malaysia in 1963, the Central Government in Kuala Lumpur expected Singapore to adjust to the system that was already in place in Malaya where many of the political parties were formed along racial lines. The ruling party in kuala Lumpur , the Alliance Party , was in fact formed by three communal parties. They were the United Malays National  Organisation (UMNO), Malayan Chinese Association (MCA) and Malayan Indian Congress (MIC) . Even though three parties came together during the elections, the main goal of each party was to look after their own interests in their  community. However,  the major political parties in Singapore were global in outlook

Upon Merger in 1963, Malays and Muslims in Singapore were being increasingly incited by the Malaysian Federial Government's accusations that the PAP was mistreating the Malays even though in Malaya,certain special rights were only given to the Malays to help them improve their standard of living. Numerous racial riots resulted, and curfews were common in order to restore order.
On 21 July 1964, near Kallang Gasworks, fighting between Malay and Chinese youths during a Muslim procession celebrating the Prophet Muhammad's birthday erupted into racial riots, in which twenty-three people were killed and hundreds injured.

S’pore curfew after clashes.APPEAL FOR CALM, from The Straits Times (Wednesday,24 July 1964, taken from google picture (26/8/2014).

 Fighting breaks out at Kallang then speads from The Straits Times in July 1965. Taken from google picture (26/8/2014).

Singapore joined Malaysia hoping to enjoy the economic benefits after the Common Market was set up. However , tariffs were still imposed on  Singapore-produced goods exported to the other states of Malaysia,. The delay in setting up a Common Market was partly due the fact that Singapore was seen as an economic rival even though it was now part of Malaysia.
Source 2
Goh Keng Swee had make a comment on the Common Market.

When and electric bulb factory was about to start production on Singapore, the Central Government imposed import taxes on electric bulbs, including those in Singapore. Its purposes was to protect a proposed electric bulb factory to be started in Malaysia itself.

Adapted from SIngapore: Struggle For Success by John Drysdale


From Source 2, I can infer that it was not a smooth process during the merger. Source 2 states thatIts purposes was to protect a proposed electric bulb factory to be started in Malaysia itself. ” This suggests that Malaya treated Singapore as economic rival, they wanted to benefit themselves from the Singapore industry. This also suggests that  the merger was not easy to maintain by our leader as they faced difficulties and pressures produced by the Central Government and other areas such as setting up of Common Market and the racial riots. Racial riots left a great impact on people since early 1960s. It reminded us the importance of  racial harmony.

The week leading to 9 August 1965 was a busy time for the leaders of both countries as by this time, separation had become a certainty. Negotiations were, however, done in complete secrecy. In Singapore, not only were civil servants and permanent secretaries kept in the dark, but some senior PAP cabinet members, most notably Deputy Prime Minister Toh Chin Chye and Culture Minister Rajaratnam, were also clueless. Leading the negotiations for Singapore was then Finance Minister Goh Keng Swee, and for Malaysia, Tun Razak. Razak was aiming to convene a federal parliament sitting on 9 August and was pushing for the legal paperwork for the release of Singapore to be tabled at that session. In Singapore, Lee had asked then Law Minister E. W. Barker to draft the separation agreement at the end of July, along with other legal documents such as the Proclamation of Independence.

On Monday, 9 August 1965, before television cameras at Caldecott Hill, Lee Kuan Yew personally announced to the people that Singapore was no longer part of Malaysia.

Source 3
It was an emotional moment for Lee Kuan Yew on 9 August.

Every time we look back to the moment we signed this document, it is for us a moment of anguish. All my life, my whole adult life, I have believed in merger and the unity of the two territories. We are connected by geography, the economic and ties of kinship. It broke everything we stood for.

Adapted from The Straits Times, 10 August 1965


From Source 3, I can infer that our leaders made lots of efforts in the merger but gained nothing at the end. Source 2 states that “Every time we look back to the moment we signed this document, it is for us a moment of anguish.  ” and “ It broke everything we stood for.”
These suggest that after all the hard work , the result was only disappointment. However, the independent day 9 August 1965 , marked an important day till today, reminds everyone that what we have today is hard- won by our leaders. Without them, Singapore may not achieve a world wide recognition .
S’pore is out from , Nation becomes independent in dramatic turn of events. from  the Straits Time (10 August 1965). Taken from Google picture (26/8/2014).
A dream a parting of the ways from  ( ) The Straits Times (August 1965). Taken from google picture (26/8/2014)


Singapore is out,The Stratis Times,10 August 1965,Paper1

Singapore Rebel : Speak truth unto power,1964 - Fighting in the streets of Singapore Monday, July 25, 2005

Singapore Rebel : Speak truth unto power,1964-The day when Singapore became part of Malaysia Saturday, July 23, 2005

Singapore separates from Malaysia and becomes independent, History SG

Maria Hertogh Riot (1950)

It was on 11 December 1950 - 13  December 1950 in Singapore.
Who is Maria Hertogh?
Maria Hertogh was born on 24 March 1937 in a Dutch Catholic family living in Bandung, Java.Her father, Adrianus Petrus Hertogh,was a sergeant in the Royal Netherlands East Indies Army. In the early 1930s, He married Adeline Hunter, a Eurasian of Scottish-Javanese descent brought up in Java. When World War II broke out, Adrianus Hertogh was captured by the Imperial Japanese Army and sent to a POW camp in Japan and kept until 1945. Meanwhile, Adeline Hertogh stayed with her mother. In 1942, Maria went to stay with Aminah binte Mohammad, a 42-year-old Malay woman who was a close friend of Nor Louise.
Maria Hertogh
Source 1
For three days, mobs of Malay and Indian Muslim rioters attacked any European and Eurasian in sight. They set up barricades along major roads, set cars and houses on fire and took control of districts in the vicinity of Sultan Mosque, North Bridge Road and Jalan Besar. Rioting was stopped only after two troops of the Internal Security Battalion were called in, supported by several Malays within the troops. Even so, scattered attacks continued over two days. A 24-hour curfew had to be imposed for two weeks before British and Malay troops and the Constabulary regained control of the situation.
Inference:Significance and Consequences
The riots highlighted the insensitive way the media handled religious and racial issues in Singapore. The British colonial authorities also failed to defuse an explosive situation when emotional reports appeared in the local press of the custody battle accompanied by sensational media photographs of a Muslim girl in a Catholic convent. Chaos would upset people’s lives, disrupt businesses and cause sufferings.The religious and racial tensions teach us the importance to understand and be sensitive to the culture and customs of other races. This event reminded us the importance of racial harmony.

Source 2
Finally, in September 1949, Aminah and Maria were traced to the kampung in which they were living.Negotiations were opened to retrieve Maria in early 1950. The Dutch Consulate offered S$500 to make up for Aminah's expenses in bringing up the girl for eight years. However, Aminah rejected the offer and refused to give up her foster-daughter.From this point onwards, Maria had made it clear that she wanted to stay with Aminah and did not wish to be returned to her natural parents. However, after a 15-minute hearing on 17 May, the High Court ruled that the custody of Maria be granted to the Hertoghs.Maria refused to enter the car and clung on to Aminah, both shouting in Malay that they would kill themselves rather than be separated. A large crowd quickly formed around the commotion. It was only after much persuasion that Aminah agreed to enter the car together with Maria and pay a visit to her lawyer, who explained that Maria had to be given up until an appeal was made. They parted in tears, with Maria returned to York Hill for temporary safekeeping.

Although the rioters were mainly Malays, they included a large number of foreigners including Indian, Pakistani and Indonesian Muslims. Added to this, the mainly Malay Police Force appeared to sympathise with the Muslim rioters and displayed some measure of deliberate inaction and defection during the riots. Gurkha Police Riot Squad Detachment, constituting at least 149 men were unfortunately not utilised and were in fact withdrawn at critical locations.Different religions have different practices. A practice that is common in a religion, might not be accepted in another. A same situation, to one, might not be a big deal. But to another, it is the whole world. That is why we must be sensitive to religious issues and not cross over the line.

Source 3
Court decided that a child who had been raised by Muslims should be returned to her Catholic biological parents.A protest by Muslims escalated into a riot when images were published showing 13-year-old Maria Hertogh kneeling before a statue of the Virgin Mary.
18 people were killed and 173 injured. Many properties were also damaged.

As a result of this historic event, the Government of Singapore, upon independence in 1965, instituted legislation against racial discrimination. It became an offence to incite racial and religious hatred in Singapore. The local media exercised greater discipline in the coverage of sensitive issues. National integration and nation-building took top priority in the formulation of government policies. Religious issues are sensitive and one should not take it lightly and be sensitive to it at all times. (Even when joking.) It can cause injuries and even deaths when a religion group is not happy with another.
The articles on Maria Hertogh riot

Outside the court

  • Tom Earnes Hughes (1980). Tangled Worlds: The Story of Maria Hertogh. Institute of Southeast Asian Studies.
  • Haja Maideen (2000). The Nadra Tragedy. Pelanduk Publications. 
  • "The Maria Hertogh Riots (11 Dec 1950)". Ministry of Education, NationalEducation. Archived from the original on 25 October 2005. Retrieved 19 October 2005.
  • "Maria Hertogh Riots". National Library Board.
  • Fatini Yaacob,book – "In The Name of Love – Natrah", Institut Terjemahan Buku Negara (now ITBM),2011
  •, Maria Hertogh Riots, Singapore Infopedia

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