Week 5: 29 Jan to 04 Feb

29 January

On 29 January 1819, Raffles came to the island of Singapore with William Farquhar. They landed by a river in Singapore saw some Malay and Chinese settlers and Orang Laut living on the island.

Singapore experienced one of its worst disasters during the evening of 29 January 1983, when the cableway of the Sentosa cable-car system was struck by the derrick of the drillship Eniwetok as it was undocking from a wharf at the nearby Keppel Harbour. The impact of the collision dislodged two of the 15 cable cars, which were travelling on the cableway at the time, and caused them to plunge into the sea below. One of the cars was empty, but the five passengers in the other car were killed. Of the remaining 13 cars, one oscillated so violently that three of its seven passengers were thrown out. Two perished, but the third, a toddler, survived the ordeal. Altogether, there were 13 people trapped in four cars – two cars over land and two over water – between Mount Faber and Sentosa.

The S$70 million Sentosa Boardwalk, designed by Aedas, includes themed gardens, shops and eateries. There are covered walkways and travellators along the boardwalk for rainy days. The Boardwalk, officially opened by Singapore's Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean on 29 January 2011, provides visitors with an alternative mode of travel to reach the island.


30 January

On 30 January 1819, Stamford Raffles concluded a preliminary treaty with Temenggong Abdul Rahman, the Johore Sultan's representative in Johore and Singapore, to set up a trading factory in Singapore. Major William Farquhar helped negotiate the provisional agreement on this day with the local chieftain Temenggong Abdul Rahman. This draft agreement is penned between the Temenggong and the British and the Union Jack is raised with little ceremony.

Sir Thomas Braddell was born on 30 January 1823. He was Crown Counsel, and the first Attorney-General of the Straits Settlements. Somtime in 1962, Braddell left the East India Company and moved to Singapore, where he set up a law firm in partnership with another lawyer Abraham Logan (the firm was called Logan and Braddell). Braddell was subsequently appointed Crown Counsel (Jan 1864) and then Attorney-General (Apr 1867) of the Straits Settlements, the latter designation which he held until 1882.

30 January 1993 marks a significant event in the history of both primary health care and dental health care in Singapore as today breaking the ground for the construction of the Institute of Health and the National Dental Centre.


31 January

On 31 January 1942, the Allied soldiers retreated to Singapore and blew up the Causeway which linked Malaya and Singapore, creating a 70 ft-wide gap in an attempt to prevent enemy forces from advancing into the island. This was to slow down the Japanese advancement to Singapore. Japanese soldiers entered and occupied Johore Bahru, the entire Malay Peninsula had fallen into their hands. From there, they carried out aerial bombardment on Singapore constantly.

In September 1962, Dr. Goh Keng Swee, Minister for Finance, had the pleasure of laying the foundation stone to start the construction of this steel rolling mill. At that time, the great work of constructing the Jurong Industrial Estate had just begun. On 2 August 1963, the melt shop went into operation and four months later the re-rolling mill started. The National Iron & Steel Mills Ltd grand opening ceremony was on 31 January 1964. It is fitting that the completion of the first major industrial enterprise in Jurong should coincide with the completion of the first phase of the Jurong Industrial Estate.

On 31 January 1974, four terrorists armed with submachine guns and explosives attacked the Shell Oil Refinery on Pulau Bukom Besar, an island south of mainland Singapore. The group comprised two Japanese from the Japanese Red Army (JRA) or 'Sekigun' and two Arabs from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). After a futile attempt to explode three oil tanks containing 5000 tonnes of crude oil each in the Shell refinery in Pulau Bukom, the terrorists - dubbed the "Bukom bombers" by the newspapers - hijacked the ferryboat Laju at the Bukom jetty and held five crew members as hostages. After several days of negotiations that involved the governments of Singapore and Japan, the terrorists agreed to release the hostages in exchange for a party of guarantors to ensure their safe passage out of Singapore. The incident ended on 8 February 1974, when the terrorists left for Kuwait.


1 February

The Temenggong, a vassal of Sultan Hussein, was consulted and a provisional treaty was agreed upon. Thereafter, the British flag was planted upon Singapore shores, troops dispatched and instructions left for a fort to be built at Fort Canning Hill. Tungku Long (Sultan Hussein) arrived in Singapore on 1 February 1819 from Riau, whereupon they agreed on a treaty on 6 February before Raffles departed on 7 February leaving Farquhar in-charge of the infant settlement.

Sir Cecil Clementi Smith became the Honorary Colonel of the new Singapore Volunteer Artillery on 1 February 1890 until his death on 7 February 1946.

HDB was set up on 1 February 1960, during a housing crisis. At that time, many were living in unhygienic slums and crowded squatter settlements. Only 9 percent of Singaporean's lived in government flats.


2 February

Singapore was founded by Sir Stamford Raffles who planted the English flag along the Singapore River on 2 February 1819 to set up a factory and a trading station in order to break the Dutch domination of the maritime route to and from China and the Indonesian spice islands through the Straits of Malacca and Singapore. Because it was a free port, it immediately attracted thousands of traders from China, India and the region. Five years later, by 1824, the British wanted and obtained sovereignty over Singapore in perpetuity. The rest, as they say, is history.

When Raffles returned to Sumatra in 1818, he realised that he was not truly welcomed by the Dutch colonial authorities. He carried with him the marble bust sculpted by Chantrey but transferred it to his wife, Lady Raffles, for safe-keeping. Unfortunately, it is believed that the original bust sank with the ship, the Fame, on 2 February 1824.

Operation Coldstore was the code name for a covert security operation carried out in Singapore on 2 February 1963 which led to the arrest of over 100 people, who were detained without trial under the Preservation of Public Service Security Ordinance (PSSO). In official accounts, the operation was a security operation "aimed at crippling the Communist open front organisation," which threatened Singapore's internal security. The operation was authorised by the Internal Security Council which was composed of representatives from the British, Singapore and Malayan Federal governments.


3 February

Sri Senpaga Vinayagar Temple, situated on Ceylon Road, was established in the mid-19th century by the Ceylonese Tamils from Sri Lanka. Built on the architectural lines that was favoured in the ancient Chola kingdom of India, this temple is the second-oldest Hindu temple in Singapore. The work of constructing the temple was taken up by the temple's management committee formed by community members elected at the 1923 Annual General Meeting of the Singapore Ceylon Tamils Association. The committee, headed by S. Muthucumaru who bore the cost of constructing the main shrine area or the moolasthanam, appointed a few people including Pillay to raise funds for the temple construction. When building construction plans were finalised by May 1926, the Chief Sculptor was invited from Ceylon to begin his work. On 3 February 1930, a consecration ceremony (Maha Kumbhabishegam) was held to mark the completion of the temple.

On 11 May 1934, a group of PWD (Public Works Department) employees playing in a cricket team called the “Non-Descript” formed the PWD Sports Club. The Sports Club was located at Kolam Ayer, and the clubhouse then was a thatched-roof building. The activities of the Sports Club were disrupted during the Japanese Occupation of Singapore, and it was not until 3 November 1947 that the Club was revived. The Club was formally registered in 1948. An interim committee with Mr. W G Steward as President was formed to administer the affair of the Club until the Management Committee was formed after the First Annual General Meeting held on 14 January 1949. One of the first tasks of the Management Committee was to apply the Registrar of Societies for re-exemption from the Societies Ordinance. The application was approved on 3 February 1949 and its name “PWD Sports Club” was entered into the Register of Exempted Societies. Today it is known as the PWD-BCA Club.

The first Straits Times strike arose from a dispute over the terms of reinstatement of a dismissed worker. The strike was considered illegal as no prior notice was given as required by law, and the Straits Times management dismissed the workers who took part in the walkout. The workers on realizing that their action was illegal agreed to return to work but were locked out of their workplace. On Chinese New Year's Eve, 3 February 1954, when a worker pestered two other workers to stop work early, the management took action and dismissed the worker, who was an official of the Singapore Printing Employees' Union. Although the management later agreed to reinstate the worker, there was a dispute over the terms of reinstatement. This resulted in 200 printing employees going on strike without giving the two-week notice as required under the Emergency laws.


4 February

During this period, Singapore was part of the Colony of the Straits Settlements (together with Malacca and Penang) and was administered by the Colonial Office in London. On 4 February 1867, the 1st Legislative Council of the Straits Settlements was set up, replacing the Legislative Council of India. Thereafter, Straits Settlements Acts and Ordinances were enacted to govern Singapore as well as Malacca and Penang.

On 4 February 1973, the first Singapore Chingay parade was held partly as a result of the ban on firecrackers a year earlier in 1972 as a result of fire hazards. This ban was viewed unfavourably despite the safety issues involved. Some people felt that the ban would result in a much dampened festival mood for the Chinese New Year period. To address this issue, the People's Association and the Singapore National Pugilistic Association jointly organised a street parade from Jalan Besar to Outram Park featuring the signature floats, acrobatic acts, lion and dragon dances, stilt walkers, and the like, to bring back some cheer to the general public.

On 4 February 1996, TIBS (Trans-Island Bus Services) acquired Singapore's first underground bus interchange - Woodlands Regional Interchange. Occupying an area of 36,000 square metres with 16 boarding and alighting berths, the Woodlands Regional Interchange was officially declared opened by Prime Minister Mr Goh Chok Tong on 10 February 1996.