Brief History of Singapore

About Singapore - Brief HistoryAbout Singapore - Brief History]About Singapore - Brief History

This page covers a brief introduction of Singapore history, independence and economic growth in the last century. Recommended book and source: Singapore 1994.

Founding of Modern Singapore

The British, who were extending their dominion in India, and whose trade with China in the second half of the 18th century was expanding, saw the need for a port of call in this region to refit, revitalise and protect their merchant fleet, as well as to forestall any advance by the Dutch in the East Indies. As a result, they established trading posts in Penang (1786) and Singapore (1819), and captured Malacca from the Dutch (1795).

In late l818, Lord Hastings, Governor-General of India, gave tacit approval to Sir Stamford Raffles, Lieutenant-Governor of Bencoolen, to establish a trading station at the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula. On 29 January 1819, Raffles landed on the island of Singapore after having surveyed other nearby islands. The next day, he concluded a preliminary treaty with Temenggong Abdu'r Rahman to set up a trading post here. On 6 February 1819, a formal treaty was concluded with Sultan Hussein of Johor and the Temenggong, the de jure and defacto rulers of Singapore respectively.

Singapore proved to be a prized settlement. By 1820, it was earning revenue, and three years later, its trade surpassed that of Penang. In 1824, Singapore's status as a British possession was formalised by two new treaties. The first was the Anglo-Dutch Treaty of March 1824, by which the Dutch withdrew all objections to the British occupation of Singapore. The second treaty was made with Sultan Hussein and Temenggong Abdu'r Rahman in August, by which the two owners ceded the island out right to the British in return for increased cash payments and pensions.

The Straits Settlements

Singapore, together with Malacca and Penang, the two British settlements in the Malay Peninsula, became the Straits Settlements in 1826, under the control of British India. By 1832, Singapore had become the centre of government for the three areas. On 1 April 1867, the Straits Settlements became a Crown Colony under the jurisdiction of the Colonial Office in London.

With the advent of the steamship in the mid-1860s and the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869, Singapore became a major port of call for ships plying between Europe and East Asia. And with the development of rubber planting, especially after the 1870s, it also became the main sorting and export centre in the world for rubber. Before the close of the 19th century, Singapore was experiencing unprecedented prosperity and trade expanded eightfold between 1873 and 1913. The prosperity attracted immigrants from areas around the region. By 1860, the population had grown to 80,792. The Chinese accounted for 61.9 per cent of the number; the Malays and Indians 13.5 and 16.05 per cent respectively; and others, including the Europeans, 8.5 per cent.

The peace and prosperity ended when Japanese aircraft bombed the sleeping city in the early hours of 8 December 1941. Singapore fell to the Japanese on 15 February 1942, and was renamed Syonan (Light of the South). It remained under Japanese occupation for three and a half years.

Towards Self-Government

The British forces returned in September 1945 and Singapore came under the British Military Administration. When the period of military administration ended in March 1946, the Straits Settlements was dissolved. On 1 April 1946, Singapore became a Crown Colony. Penang and Malacca became part of the Malayan Union in 1946, and later the Federation of Malaya in 1948.

Postwar Singapore was a contrast to the prewar country of transient immigrants. The people, especially the merchant class, clamored for a say in the government. Constitutional powers were initially vested in the Governor who had an advisory council of officials and nominated non-officials. This evolved into the separate Executive and Legislative Councils in July 1947. The Governor retained firm control over the colony but there was provision for the election of six members to the Legislative Council by popular vote. Hence, Singapore's first election was held on 20 March 1948.

When the Communist Party of Malaya tried to take over Malaya and Singapore by force, a state of emergency was declared in June 1948. The emergency lasted for 12 years. Towards the end of 1953, the British government appointed a commission under Sir George Rendel to review Singapore's constitutional position and make recommendations for change. The Rendel proposals were accepted by the government and served as the basis of a new constitution that gave Singapore a greater measure of self-government.

The 1955 election was the first lively political contest in Singapore's history. Automatic registration expanded the register of voters from 75,000 to over 300,000, and for the first time, it included large numbers of Chinese, who had manifested political apathy in previous elections. The Labor Front won 10 seats. The Peoples Action Party (PAP), which fielded four candidates, won three seats. David Marshall became Singapore's first Chief Minister on 6 April 1955, with a coalition government made up of his own Labor Front, the United Malays National Organization and the Malayan Chinese Association .

Marshall resigned on 6 June 1956, after the breakdown of constitutional talks in London on attaining full internal self government. Lim Yew Hock, Marshall's deputy and minister for Labor became the Chief Minister. The March 1957 constitutional mission to London led by Lim Yew Hock was successful in negotiating the main terms of a new Singapore Constitution. On 28 May 1958, the Constitutional Agreement was signed in London.

Self-government was attained in 1959. In May that year Singapore's first general election was held to choose 51 representatives to the first fully elected Legislative Assembly. The PAP won 43 seats, gleaning 53.4 percent of the total votes. On June 3, the new Constitution confirming Singapore as a self-governing state was brought into force by the proclamation of the Governor, Sir William Goode, who became the first Yang di-Pertuan Negara (Head of State). The first Government of the State of Singapore was sworn in on June 5, with Lee Kuan Yew as Singapore's first Prime Minister.

The PAP had come to power in a united front with the communists to fight British colonialism. The communists controlled many mass organizations, especially of workers and students. It was an uneasy alliance between the PAP moderates and the pro communists, with each side trying to use the other for its own ultimate objective--in the case of the moderates, to obtain full independence for Singapore as part of a non-communist Malaya; in the case of the communists, to work towards a communist take-over.

The tension between the two factions worsened from 1960 and led to an open split in 1961, with the pro-communists subsequently forming a new political party, the Barisan Sosialis. The other main players in this drama were the Malayans, who, in 1961, agreed to Singapore's merger with Malaya as part of a larger federation. This was also to include British territories in Borneo, with the British controlling the foreign affairs, defense and internal security of Singapore.

The Malaysia Proposal

On 27 May 1961, the Malayan Prime Minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman, proposed closer political and economic co-operation between the Federation of Malaya, Singapore, Sarawak, North Borneo and Brunei in the form of a merger. The main terms of the merger, agreed on by him and Lee Kuan Yew, were to have central government responsibility for defense, foreign affairs and internal security, but local autonomy in matters pertaining to education and labor. A referendum on the terms of the merger held in Singapore on 1 September 1962 showed the people's overwhelming support for PAP's plan to go ahead with the merger.

Malaysia was formed on 16 September 1963, and consisted of the Federation of Malaya, Singapore, Sarawak and North Borneo (now Sabah). Brunei opted out. Indonesia and the Philippines opposed the merger. President Sukarno of Indonesia worked actively against it during the three years of Indonesian confrontation.


The merger proved to be short-lived. Singapore was separated from the rest of Malaysia on 9 August 1965, and became a sovereign, democratic and independent nation.

Independent Singapore was admitted to the United Nations on 21 September 1965, and became a member of the Commonwealth of Nations on 15 October 1965. On 22 December 1965, it became a republic, with Yusof bin Ishak as the republic's first President.

Thereafter commenced Singapore's struggle to survive and prosper on its own. It also had to create a sense of national identity and consciousness among a disparate population of immigrants. Singapore's strategy for survival and development was essentially to take advantage of its strategic location and the favourable world economy.

Coming of Age

A massive industrialization program was launched with the extension of the Jurong industrial estate and the creation of smaller estates in Kallang Park, Tanjong Rhu, Redhill, Tiong Bahru and Tanglin Halt. The Employment Act and the Industrial Relations (Amendment) Act were passed in 1968 to promote industrial peace and discipline among the workforce.

The Economic Development Board was reorganized in 1968 and the Jurong Town Corporation and the Development Bank of Singapore were set up in the same year In 1970, the Monetary Authority of Singapore was established to formulate and implement Singapore's monetary policies.

In 1979, after the shock of two oil crisis, the Government started a program of economic restructuring. This was achieved by modifying education policies, expanding technology and computer education, offering financial incentives to industrial enterprises and launching a productivity campaign.

Public housing was given top priority. New towns sprang up and Housing and Development Board apartments were sold at a low cost. To encourage home ownership, Singaporeans were allowed to use their Central Provident Fund savings to pay for these apartments.

With the British Government's sudden decision in 1967 to withdraw its armed forces from Singapore by the end of 1971, Singapore set out to build up its own defence forces. The Singapore Armed Forces Training Institute was established in 1966 and compulsory national service was introduced in 1967. A Singapore Air Defense Command and a Singapore Maritime Command were set up in 1969. In August 1967, Singapore joined Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand to form the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

Singapore entered the 1970s as a politically stable state with a high rate of economic growth. The one-party Parliament that emerged from the 1968 general election became the pattern, with the PAP winning all seats in 1972,1976 and 1980. In the 1984 and 1991 general elections, the PAP won all but two and four seats respectively.

On 28 November 1990, a new chapter opened in Singapore's modern history Goh Cheok Tong became the second Prime Minster of Singapore when he took over the office from Lee Kuan Yew who resigned after having been Prime Minster since 1959.

On 12 August 2004, Lee Hsien Loong, son of Lee Kuan Yew became the third Prime Minister of Singapore. One of his major accomplishments was to propose the building of 2 Integrated Resorts (IR) in Singapore which creates a huge avenue for Singapore's economy. Prior to his appointment as PM, he served as Deputy Prime Minister (1991-2004), Minister of Finance, Minister of Trade & Industry.

Related Page

Re: Some interesting currency moves today

Both articles from yesterday/Friday. ... s-on-25146

A couple of excerpts from the already brief article (one page).

'European equity markets are rattled as discussions over Greece’s finances rumble on.
Christine Lagarde of the IMF stated a Greek exit of the eurozone is possible, and even though only the Greek people can determine their membership of the single currency Greece has been in revolving door crisis talks for five years now, and Yanis Varoufakis is refusing to bow down to the international creditors.
The ECB secretly doesn’t want to see Greece leave the euro as it could trigger an exodus from the currency union, but at the same time, it must talk tough in order for Athens to stay with its austerity programme.
The fears and anxiety over Greece have never left traders thoughts this week, and this is just the first of three hurdles that the struggling country will have to clear before the summer is out.
The US market is separated from Europe by the Atlantic but the shock waves can be felt in Wall Street, ...'

---- Looks like a long hot summer back in the West - Messy!

The shockwaves are also being felt as far away as here... ... form-25142

It is not at all surprising thus that the hippocampus is one of the first area

Brain training games can prove to be very helpful for the purpose of improving the functioning of the brain. These games also keep Alzheimer and other situations at bay. The brain training game has a positive impact on our memory at various levels. The memory is generally compromised of face name memory, working memory and spatial memory. The working memory is concerned with day to day activities like remembering phone numbers. The face name memories, on the other hand, helps in associating pictures with names. The spatial memory is the special part of memory which helps you to perform within a particular environment. Brain training software and brain games can help you to enhance the capacity of your memory. With games like 'Speed dating' and 'Card Wise' the online games can surely prove very helpful in enhancing your memories. The online games also provide you with an option to play various other exciting games online.

U.S. Defense Secretary Ash

U.S. Defense Secretary Ash


Re: Jetstar International is recruiting!


Old Coots?? You mean Strong Eagle is still around? :devil:
*ducks and runs for cover* :shooting: :shock:

Nah, don't see any old coots. I do miss the fun we used to have out here, but all the regular offenders don't post any more. I miss Sapphs, Vacluse, MHB, BH10Y, Fohls, CD..... Those were good times! \:D/

Re: Master's thesis on Repatriation Adjustment


ok...will start with yours and work backwards to SE's, this will take a few iterations and I need to be in the zone for this, which I'm not really ATM...

This is one concern, to go back, and regret doing that, and effectively closing the door on coming back, because it is difficult to do.

With so many changes, and the change in my age, there are real concerns about being able to work, the health care situation, the sharp divisions between right and left and neither being anything sane anymore, and other financial concerns.

Plus the general fit for me, to be back around an largely un-international demographic which I may not be able to relate to very well.


re: SG specifically, and leaving here.
There's the climate thing. The shock lasts about a month IME. After that, when you remember that there are things like sweaters and coats, being out of this climate is actually pretty damned good.
I expect I might differ from you on this, and that makes it one more reason to regret leaving.

Now this, this is one of the key things on the plus side of leaving, and is a huge factor. So much is lost when one is out of one's true environment. I may no longer be able to fully relate to the people's back home perspectives on life and the world, but there is a much more natural way of relating to them as fellow human beings, and I have grown very weary of the contrary.

Re: I am a 20 year old NS Defaulter

If you read my post and the attached quote/link you will see that because you were not ever in the military, you will be dealt with in the civil courts.

They will not entertain any questions before hand but will tell you to return and present yourself to them. Any penalties will be the judgement of the courts and it can vary. If you go to the link for the whole page, under the portion that I copy/pasted, you will read about a rather high profile case who was just given a fine. You played, now if you want to return you will definitely have to pay, but because you are still young enough quite possibly you may only have a fine. But there are no guarantees. You buys your ticket and you takes your chances.

Re: I am a 20 year old NS Defaulter

So, should I contact Mindef and ask what they would do to me if I voluntarily return? Can I trust what they say? For instance, if they say they won't put me in jail and only give me a fine + NS, can I take their word for it? I'm scared that they will turn back on their word and put me in jail (maybe its a bit naive to think like that but its still a possibility)

Re: Jetstar International is recruiting!

Yeah, since 2011, the dynamics here have changed considerably. Most that are left are hanging on and wondering if/when their number is up, EP/PR wise. Some of us, however, have become so entrenched that it's virtually impossible to escape! In fact, some of us old coots should have been put out to pasture long ago! LOL

Re: Music

I think the thing with Motorhead (I like your umlaut BTW :-D] is not to take them too seriously. I know they look angry/mean etc ... but don't forget one of their biggest hits is called 'Killed by death', and has the opening lyric 'If you squeeze my lizard, I'll put my snake on you'.

That documentary is surprisingly personal and tender (much of the focus is on Lemmy of course). You get to see his humour, his personal vulnerabilities, the lot. There is a lot of humility, not a hint of vanity, nothing fake or varnished about him. WYSIWYG.

They are also a legendarily hard-working band, something crazy like 200 gigs a year for 40 years, and still at it. So the honest insight into that and their life on the road is also interesting. How Lemmy is still alive.... heaven's knows.
Plus they know the fans are there to hear the hits, and not just what some bands do and play 90% 'stuff off our new album'. For a band of that stature they don't gouge on the ticket-price either, as they know a lot of there fans are not well off. We paid something like euro30 each - a few weeks later we went to see AC/DC in a c80,000pax stadium and paid many multiples of that for pretty average seats.

I've only seen Motorhead once and it was in c2000 capacity hall in a very run-down neighbourhood of former communist East Berlin. Not the kind of area I really relished going at night. I took my wife too, a Duran Duran fan lol, a petite Asian lady, i.e. I'm probably out of the stereotype mold of a typical Motorhead fan -> 'Big angry and violent tattooed bikers', my wife 10* more-so. All in, beforehand, she had her doubts if it was a wise thing to do. Anyway it was absolutely brilliant. They came on pretty much on time, started with their usual greeting, on that night, 'Hello Berlin thank you for coming - We are Motorhead and we play rock'n'roll!' that segued immediately into over two hours of continuous music. No more chat until right at the very end... 'Thank you Berlin, you've been a brilliant audience, give yourself a round of applause!'.

So yeah, try and put the image aside if you have an interest in watching the linked programme. Above and beyond the music what they've achieved is really pretty amazing. I can understand why they have been called 'The hardest working band in rock n'roll'.

Re: Jetstar International is recruiting!


The wit is still intact, but the dynamic out here has changed. So many folks are no longer posting out here and I have few mates left to bounce my witticisms off.

But I'll skulk and see 8-[

Re: Music

Will look into that Motörhead documentary, I don't think they are my type of thing but need to educate myself on them and be sure, one of those many bands on the To Check list.

Meanwhile, a bit eerie how we were only talking slap bass a few weeks back and just last week one of those very best masters passed away way too young, so this in his honor:

Edit: added umlaut


ya I do agree....Thanks


Your credit card balance doesn't appear on your police record Neither is it a civil offence, after all what law has been broken? Having a credit card balance is simply a personal debt.

I understand if/when ICA run an international police record scan on someone it's more at say the level of Interpol. To suggest that Interpol might have an interest in your credit card balance is wildly preposterous.

I'm now convinced this whole question is simply a wind-up, as the bounds of reality get pushed further out with each reply. ...

Re: RE: I am a 20 year old NS Defaulter


Encouraging words ...

Brightened my Saturday anyway ....

Re: I am a 20 year old NS Defaulter

If you voluntarily turn yourself in, you will probably be fined (up to $5G I believe) and you will have to do your NS as well. They 'could' make you do time as well. Following is a links to answer your questions but can not answer your odds.... ... #Penalties for NS defaulters

Sir, let me now touch on the issue of punishment for NS defaulters. The legal framework for National Service is contained in two pieces of legislation – the Enlistment Act and the Singapore Armed Forces Act.

The Enlistment Act applies to all Singaporeans and Permanent Residents from age 16½ to 40, or age 50 in the case of officers. The Act provides for the registration and enlistment of those liable for National Service, and also for the requirement to apply for an Exit Permit or to notify MINDEF when going overseas. Those who fail to comply with the provisions of the Enlistment Act are dealt with in the civil courts regardless of whether they are pre-enlistees, full-time NSmen or Operationally Ready NSmen. On conviction, they can be sentenced to a jail term of up to three years, or a fine of up to $5,000, or both.

The Singapore Armed Forces Act deals with those in the service of the SAF and contains provisions pertaining to their conduct and discipline. Those in the service of the SAF comprise regulars, full-time NSmen, and Operationally Ready NSmen who have been served an order to report for service. Pre-enlistees are not subject to the Singapore Armed Forces Act as they are not yet in the service of the SAF. Servicemen who commit offences under the Singapore Armed Forces Act are dealt with either in the Subordinate Military Court or by SAF disciplinary officers.

NS defaulters are dealt with under the Enlistment Act as they have failed to respond to orders to register or enlist for National Service, or failed to comply with Exit Permit requirements. MINDEF’s approach in dealing with NS defaulters has been to charge them in Court for Enlistment Act offences and let the Court impose an appropriate sentence based on the circumstances of each case and the provisions of the Enlistment Act.

Over the past 20 years, 185 NS defaulters have been convicted in Court for Enlistment Act offences. Of these, 43 received jail sentences, 140 were fined and two were punished in connection with other civil offences. Of the 140 who were fined, 35 were ultimately jailed when they did not pay their fines.

Of the 185 convicted defaulters, 127 were enlisted or are awaiting enlistment for National Service following their convictions. Two were supposed to enlist but defaulted again prior to their enlistment. 33 were not drafted as they were unsuitable for enlistment for security or medical reasons - they would not have been enlisted in any case even if they had not defaulted on NS. The remaining 23 were not drafted because they were either above the statutory age limit or no longer Singaporeans.

Of note is that the High Court had, in a 1993 case, reduced the sentences of two NS defaulters - two brothers - from eight months' imprisonment to a fine of $3,000 on appeal. This was an unusual case where it could be said that there were mitigating circumstances. Since then the Subordinate Courts have been using this case as a guideline, and not imposed a jail sentence on single-instance defaulters, no matter how long the default period was. The courts have imposed jail sentence on single instance defaulters only in cases where there are aggravating factors, such as repeated Enlistment Act offences, past criminal records, concurrent charges of other civil offences, and absconding during investigation.

It is for the Court to decide on the appropriate punishment for individual cases of NS defaulters. MINDEF had not been pressing for custodial sentences, nor had it appealed for heavier sentences. The majority of cases so far have been those who returned at a relatively young age and were still able to fulfil their National Service obligations. Half of those charged in Court over the past 20 years returned at age 21 or younger, and 80% returned at age 28 or younger. A fine for such NS defaulters was not inappropriate as they were still able to serve their National Service obligations in full.

However, Melvyn Tan’s case has highlighted an inadequacy in penalties for those who have defaulted for so many years that they are no longer able to discharge their National Service obligations in full. Since the appeal case in the High Court in 1993, besides Melvyn Tan, there have been 13 other cases of convicted defaulters who were sentenced only to a fine and who were not subsequently enlisted because they were already over 40 or almost 40. This is something that we need to look into more closely, especially as there may now be more defaulters who are 40 or older coming before the courts with the passing of time.