Week 3: 15 Jan to 21 Jan

15 January

Merdeka Bridge crosses the mouth of the Rochor and Kallang Rivers aka Kallang Basin. Merdeka (in Malay) means "freedom" and the bridge in mid-1950s era, symbolised the peoples' pursuit and spirit for independence. The bridge was constructed over the Kallang Basin to link two stretches of the new Nicoll Highway. This new Channel opened to river traffic on 15 January 1956.

It was in the old Ford Factory that the meeting between Lieutenant-General Arthur Ernest Percival and General Tomoyuki Yamashita was held and the surrender document signed, on 15 January 1942.

Orchard MRT Passageway links ION Orchard to nearby Shopping Centres opened on 15 January 2008.


16 January

Sir Stamford Raffles was a man of great foresight. Working for the East India Company, he sailed out to the Far East and saw the potential of Singapore, then a swampy island with 150 fishermen and pirates. On 16 January 1819, a fortnight before his landing in Singapore, Raffles wrote: "The island of Singapore has, on its southern shores and by means of the several smaller islands which lie off it, excellent anchorage and smaller harbours, and seems in every respect most peculiarly adapted for our object. Its position in the Straits of Singapore is far more convenient and commanding than Riau, and for our China trade passing down the Straits of Malacca, and every vessel that sails through the Straits of Riau must pass in sight of it".

Gleneagles Hospital was incorporated on 16 January 1958 and opened in 1959, is one of Singapore's largest private hospitals.

Screeb grab of Sriwijaya Air website - 2006

Sriwijaya Air, an Indonesia-registered airline, was given a warm reception by the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) on 16 January 2009. The airline, which commenced flight operations at Singapore Changi Airport's Terminal 2 on 18 December 2008, operates 14 weekly scheduled flights between Singapore and Jakarta.


17 January

Yamamoto Otokichi a.k.a. John Matthew Ottoson, who died on 17 January 1867 is recognised as the first Japanese to have resided in Singapore. He lived in Singapore from the late 1840s until his death in 1867. Among the many firsts he accomplished was helping to translate portions of the Bible into Japanese.

Mount Palmer, later a.k.a. Mount Parsee (Parsi) or Parsee Hill, hill, located near Tanjong Pagar and the bay of the early 19th century Telok Ayer Street. In 1853, Mount Palmer, the largest of the hills on that coastal stretch had a height estimated at 119 ft. John Palmer purchased the hill shortly after the settlement was founded. From June 1827, Mount Palmer had already been singled out as a fortification, part of a chain of batteries to protect the town and east coast from attack by sea. In 1855, at the southern end of the hill, the government built the Mount Palmer Defence Battery. In the early 1870s, suggestions were raised on possible removal of the hill as it was obstructing access to the town. The government decided to construct a road from Collyer Quay (through Robinson and Anson Roads, and later Keppel Road) to the docks and for this purpose, some Mount Palmer land was purchased by the Tanjong Pagar Dock Company, from Hoo Ah Kay in 1872, and the trustees of Parsick Joachim on 17 January 1878.

The National Campaign to Minimise Cash Transactions was launched on 14 March 1985 to urge Singaporeans to carry out their transactions electronically. The three-month long campaign had three specific goals: to encourage Singaporeans to receive their pay through direct credit to the bank, to persuade them to pay their bills electronically via General Interbank Recurring Order (GIRO), and thirdly to promote payments through the Electronic Funds Transfer at Point of Sale system (EFTPOS). The third and most challenging part of the campaign was the implementation of EFTPOS, a mode of cashless transaction where the shopper pays his purchases and bills with his ATM card. EFTPOS was officially launched on 17 January 1986 to the 1.1 million ATM card holders in Singapore.


18 January

The SMMWU (The Singapore Manual & Mercantile Worker's Union) was formed on 18 January 1959 by a group of seven industrial and clerical workers who had broken away from the pro-communist Singapore General Employees Union (SGEU).

The National Theatre was a public theatre used for performances, concerts and conferences that was situated at the corner of Clemenceau Avenue and River Valley Road. On 18 January 1961, the Minister for Culture appointed the Board of Trustees for the National Theatre Trust. The board comprised chairman Lee Khoon Choy, who was then parliamentary secretary to the Ministry of Culture, as well as members Zubir Said, K. P. Bhaskar, Liu Hsue Ying, Ng Aik Huan, Wee Kim Wee, P. Abisheganaden, Liao Sung-Yang, Liew Yung Ho, Othman Wok, and the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Culture.

In 1965, the Public Works Department (PWD) issued a statement that the graves on state land in Bukit Brown Cemetery, about 237 tombs, were to be exhumed to make way for the realignment of Lornie Road, off Adam Road. On 18 January 1965, these tombs were exhumed for interment at the Choa Chu Kang Cemetery.

On 18 January 1970, President Yusof bin Ishak laid the memorial's foundation stone along Collyer Quay Street outside the Fullerton Hotel in 1970, on what was supposed to be a temporary site. The foundation stone consists of a rectangular granite stone topping off a pyramid-shaped brick pedestal with inscriptions in the four official languages (English, Malay, Mandarin, and Tamil): This foundation stone of the monument in tribute to the early founders of Singapore was laid by Inche Yusof Bin Ishak, the President of the Republic of Singapore on the 18th day of January 1970. In 2000, the memorial was relocated to the National Archives of Singapore at Canning Rise before moving back to the grounds of The Fullerton Hotel in 2010.

Network for Electronic Transfers (NETS) was officially launched island-wide on 18 January 1986, enabling some 1.3 million ATM card holders to make transactions through 195 NETS terminals located at 84 retail outlets in departmental stores, supermarkets, petrol stations, government departments and restaurants.

The Land Transport Gallery was officially opened by Mr Raymond Lim, Minister for Transport & Second Minister for Foreign Affairs on 18 January 2008.


19 January

The "Shoe King" landed in Singapore on 19 January 1932, there were only two people at the Seletar Air Base to meet him, his company manager for Malaya and a reporter from The Straits Times. "At every place in the East I have been I have seen thousands of people walking about without shoes," said Mr. Bata to the latter.

Toa Payoh housing estate was selected as the Games Village of the 7th Southeast Asian Peninsular (SEAP) Games that was held in Singapore from 1 to 8 September 1973. The decision was announced by E. W. Barker, who was then president of the Singapore National Olympic Council, on 19 January 1973.

On 19 January 2001, Majulah Singapura was officially relaunched in the F-major key, as this was said to be a "grander and more inspiring arrangement" of the anthem. The Ministry of Information and the Arts (MITA, now the Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI)) took more than a year to produce the new version. Its main objective was to make the anthem more accessible to all Singaporeans.


20 January

In 1967, construction works began on the college, which was named National Junior College (NJC). On 20 January 1969, NJC conducted an inaugural assembly for its pioneer batch of students. This pioneering cohort of 572 students later called themselves the “Sixty-niners”.

The Singapore Art Museum (SAM) was officially opened on 20 January 1996 and is dedicated to Singapore and Southeast Asian art history and contemporary expressions.

Resorts World Sentosa opens its doors in phases from 20 January 2010. Its four hotels - Crockfords Tower, Hotel Michael, Festive Hotel and Hard Rock Hotel Singapore opened on that day. Resorts World Sentosa began operations at two of its four hotels on Tuesday, and employees and their families were the resort's main guests before the hotels' public opening.


21 January

Johnston's Pier, a jetty, landing-platform for the convenient arrival and departure of sea travellers. It once stood opposite Fullerton Square, and Hong Kong Bank Building at Battery Road and Collyer Quay. The Development of a Pier for the convenience of commercial and shipping interests of the port was first suggested in the "Municipal Commissioners" meeting of 20 July 1853, and "this should be erected without unnecessary delay". The 21 January 1854 Municipal Commissioners meeting, "sanctioned the construction of a pier", to cope with the increasing sea-faring traffic in Singapore. It was the first major landing point ever constructed, and was extensively used.

The Singapore Railway line is the southernmost segment in the West Coast Line of what first began as the Malayan Railway, now known as KTM (Keretapi Tanah Melayu) Berhad, a Malaysian corporation wholly-owned by the Malaysian Government. Works were initiated with the ceremony of cutting of the first sod in 16 April 1900. The Singapore-Kranji Railway line running from Tank Road to Kranji was finally completed in 1903. Opened in two phases, the first section was launched on 1 January 1903. It ran from Tank Road to Bukit Timah and consisted of four stations along the line: Singapore, Newton, Cluny and Bukit Timah. The second section, which extended the line to Woodlands, was completed three months later when the Woodlands station was opened for use on 10 April 1903. Soon after, work began on an extension of the railway line to the wharves. The extension was completed and opened to the public on 21 January 1907. With the extension, the stations along the railway line now consisted of Woodlands, Bukit Panjang, Bukit Timah, Holland Road, Cluny Road, Newton, Tank Road, Borneo Wharf and Pasir Panjang.

On 21 January 2009, Singapore Airlines received the first of 19 new A330-300 aircraft in Toulouse, France. The aircraft is configured in a two-class layout, with 30 new Business Class seats and 255 Economy Class seats.