National Day 2012
This webpage is dedicated to all the un-named Heroes of Singapore, who in one way or another have contributed to the prosperity of our Country since 1965, we want to give you the glory and the credit as your dedication and hard-work have built this beautiful Country.
The Singapore Storey
Singapore (i/ˈsɪŋəpɔər/ SI-ngə-pohr), officially the Republic of Singapore, is a Southeast Asian city-state off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, 137 kilometres (85 mi) north of the equator. Singapore is highly urbanised but almost half of the country is covered by greenery. More land is being created for development through land reclamation.
Singapore had been a part of various local empires since it was first inhabited in the second century AD. Modern Singapore was founded as a trading post of the East India Company by Sir Stamford Raffles in 1819 with permission from the Sultanate of Johor. The British obtained full sovereignty over the island in 1824 and Singapore became one of the British Straits Settlements in 1826. Singapore was occupied by the Japanese in World War II and reverted to British rule after the war. It became internally self-governing in 1959. Singapore united with other former British territories to form Malaysia in 1963 and became a fully independent state two years later after separation from Malaysia. Since then it has had a massive increase in wealth, and is one of the Four Asian Tigers.
The economy depends heavily on the industry and service sectors. Singapore is a world leader in several areas: It is the world's fourth-leading financial centre, and the world's third-largest oil refining centre. The port of Singapore is also one of the five busiest ports in the world, most notable for being the busiest transshipment port in the world. The country has the highest number of US dollar millionaire households per capita, with one out of every six households having more than one million US dollar in disposable wealth, not taking into account properties and businesses. The World Bank notes that Singapore is the easiest place in the world to do business. The country has the world's third highest GDP PPP per capita of US$59,936, making Singapore one of the world's wealthiest countries.
Singapore is a parliamentary republic with a Westminster system of unicameral parliamentary government. The People's Action Party (PAP) has won every election since the British grant of internal self-government in 1959. The legal system of Singapore has its foundations in the English common law system, but modifications have been made to it over the years, such as the removal of trial by jury.
Based on Department of Statistics Singapore, on mid year 2011 about 5.2 million people live in Singapore, but only 3.3 million people are Singapore Citizens and 0.5 million people are Singapore Permanent Residents. Most are of Chinese, Malay or Indian descent. There are four official languages: English, Chinese, Malay and Tamil. One of the five founding members of the Association of South East Asian Nations, Singapore also hosts the APEC Secretariat, and is a member of the East Asia Summit, the Non-Aligned Movement, and the Commonwealth.
You asked, ‘What is the meaning of the name Singapore?’
The English name of Singapore is derived from the Malay word Singapura (Sanskrit: सिंहपुर, lit. Lion City), hence the customary reference to the nation as the Lion City. Lions probably never lived here; the beast seen by Sang Nila Utama, who founded and named ancient Singapore, was most likely a tiger.
You asked, ‘Has there been any most challenged moment among the Singaporeans?’
Yes, it is probably when Singapore decided to become a fully Independent State separated from Malaysia in 1965.
On 31 August 1963, Singapore declared independence from Britain and joined with Malaya, Sabah and Sarawak to form the new Federation of Malaysia as the result of the 1962 Merger Referendum. Singaporean leaders joined Malaysia for various reasons. Firstly, as a small country, they did not believe that the British would find it viable for Singapore to become independent by itself. Secondly, they also did not believe that Singapore could survive on its own, due to scarcity of land, water, markets and natural resources. And lastly, the Singapore government wanted the help of the Malaysian government to flush out the Communists.
The two years that Singapore spent as part of Malaysia were filled with strife and bitter disagreements. The Malaysians insisted on a pro-Malay society, where Malays were given special Bumiputera rights, which still exist to this day. The Malaysians were also suspicious about Singapore's majority of ethnic Chinese and worried that Singapore's economic clout would shift the centre of power from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore. There were also linguistic and religious issues. The Singaporeans, on the other hand, wanted an equal and meritocratic society, where all citizens were given equal rights. As part of Malaysia, Singapore's economic and social development came to a halt as the Malaysian parliament blocked many bills. Race riots broke out in Singapore in 1964. After much heated ideological conflicts between the two governments, in 1965, the Malaysian parliament voted 126 to 0 to expel Singapore from Malaysia.
Singapore gained independence as the Republic of Singapore (remaining within the British Commonwealth) on 9 August 1965 with Yusof bin Ishak as president and Lee Kuan Yew as prime minister. Everyone who was present in Singapore on the date of independence was offered Singapore citizenship.
Anyone who has a religion would agree that how we have survived and prospered since 1965, it must be a “miracle from God”, no matter what’s your religion. On the day we decided to separate from Malaysia, all Singaporeans had this great anxiety in them; in their hearts, all of them knew that Singapore is physically small, practically having no natural resource, all we had were our people. However, thank God, He has really blessed us, He has endowed our fathers & mothers with intelligence so that all of them could work in unity to achieve what we have now: the prosperity of Singapore, and has allowed us to stand proud on the International Platform. Thank you, dear un-named Heroes of Singapore.
You asked, ‘What are the general characteristics of most born Singaporeans or older generation Singaporeans who witnessed the independence?’
In Singapore, there is a common saying that “a good tree produces good fruit but a rotten tree bad fruit”. Look at the prosperity that Singapore is enjoying now, obviously, these are the result of hard work and commitment of our Fathers to the Country.
Many of the tourists who come to visit Singapore are surprised that all of us who are multi-racial live in racial and religious harmony. The reasons being that most of us; especially those who are born Singaporeans have a very strong national identity. We may be Chinese, Malays, Indians or other races, but being Singaporeans are our common & most important identity. Since all of us go through the common education system and work together closely, it is not surprising that most of us have common likes and dislikes, adhere to the same sets of ethical standards despite our religions; as practically all of us have been taught since young by our parents and teachers who are also Singaporeans, to be honest, fair, generous, courteous and treat others with respect.
Most of the born Singaporeans have the same common hobbies: we like to interact with our neighbours and the elders in our communities, talking to them and hearing them sharing with us on what they know about what’s happening ranging from business, politics and the consumer market etc. . Obviously, cooking and tasting of different food with our family, neighbours and friends are signs of goodwill and harmony.
There are many people in other countries may treat people with “no moral standard” with contempt, but the effect may be more pronounced in Singapore. As all of us live closely together in this densely populated city, everyone knows what the others are doing and it is practically impossible to hide. Obviously, people who deal dishonestly / deceitfully, “playing games” in the commercial world, politics and /or manipulating others with religious beliefs or in religions, causing financial crisis, moral degeneration in the Society and harm to others, which could be physical, financial, psychological or spiritual, are generally being hated and treated with contempt.
Singaporeans believe that all of us need to deal uprightly in our private capacities and in work, so as to maintain a harmonious society fit for all to live in; as we are living “side by side” and it is practically impossible for the evil that one has done not to affect his neighbours, causing damage or possible bad influence etc.. . Thus, in Singapore, everyone is free to do what he likes within the ambit of the law and not to cause harm and/or damage to his fellowmen; if he does not want to be ostracized and be treated with contempt, regardless whether he is rich or poor, a professional or not. Thus, you can be assured that Equity and Fair Dealing are upheld practices in our Society.
That’s enough introduction to our culture, now we want to invite you to join us in our National Day Celebration on 9 August 2012. You can be assured that you are going to have a great time here with our Celebration Party and we also have many places of visits such as the new Gardens by the Bay and others like Sentosa Island, Singapore Zoo, Bird Park, Botanic Garden etc.., we shall leave it to the Hotel that you would be staying in Singapore to introduce them to you.
Remember to visit our Food Courts or Lau Pa Sat Market to enjoy the various cuisines in Singapore, that’s how you could experience the lives of Singaporeans and integrate into our culture. See you then!
Acknowledgments: We want to express our gratitude to all the expert photographers who provided the pictures in this webpage and made the publication possible. Thank you very much and may God bless you abundantly for your generosity.
National Day 2012