Week 14: 01 Apr to 07 Apr

1 April

Singapore streets were first lit on 1 April 1824 and by 1862, gas from the Kallang Gas Works powered the street lights until the gas-fuelled street lamps were ended in 1956, and electric lights took over.

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.

The foundation stone of the former Supreme Court building was laid on 1 April 1937 by Sir Thomas Shenton, Governor and Commander-in-Chief of the Straits Settlements, and to commemorate the event, a cylinder containing coins and newspapers was placed beneath it. Built at a total cost of $1.75 million, the interior and exterior design of the Supreme Court Building was calculated to strike awe.

In 1932, the revenue collected from opium alone reached $5.9 million. However, the social cost of opium consumption proved too high as opium consumption was linked to crime, violence and the breakdown of the family unit. On 1 April 1946, the importation, exportation, purchase and sale of opium were banned.

Police Intelligence Department (PID) started its roots as the Criminal Intelligence Unit (CIU) of the Criminal Investigation Department on 1 April 1973 to support CID's investigations. To reap greater synergies and for better intelligence collation across the entire SPF, the CIU was revamped and upgraded to a division of CID in October 1988; and subsequently to a full-fledged Department on 28 Mar 1996. That marked the tremendous progress of the unit over the years; reflecting the value and contribution of intelligence in SPF’s fight against crimes.

From 1 April 2016, all employers must issue itemised pay slips to employees covered under the Employment Act.

 

2 April

Scotts Road host distinctive buildings like the old Lido Cinema and Shaw House which was officially declared opened on 22 November 1958. Before this building was constructed, the plot at which it stood on was vacant with only an Esso patrol station. The land was part of Grant No. 23 from the East India Company to William Scott on 2 April 1845. The old Lido has since been renovated into the current 22-storey Shaw House (Lido Theatre) that opened in 1993 after three years of reconstruction. Another post-war oldie that however did not survive was the Tropicana, Singapores first theatre restaurant and nightclub, and it stood where Pacific Plaza, a retail-cum-office block, is today.

A significant event for Department of Statistics Singapore was on 2 April 1871, Census Day of the Straits Settlements of Singapore, when the first census of population was taken.

Singapore Airlines began with the incorporation of Malayan Airways Limited (MAL) on 1 May 1947, by the Ocean Steamship Company of Liverpool, the Straits Steamship Company of Singapore and Imperial Airways. The airline's first flight was a chartered flight from the British Straits Settlement of Singapore to Kuala Lumpur on 2 April 1947 using an Airspeed Consul twin-engined aircraft.

The 1949 Municipal Commission election was held on 2 April 1949 to elect 18 of the 27 members of the Municipal Commission. The commission, which was later renamed the City Council in 1951, was the local authority within the city area. It was in charge of Singapore’s municipal services such as sanitation, health, water and roads. The Municipal Commission election was a political milestone in Singapore’s journey to self-government as it was the first time a public institution was installed with a popularly elected majority. This election was the result of the enactment of the Municipal Elections Ordinance in 1948.

The Jurong Entertainment Centre was a shopping centre, opened in 1993 and closed and demolished began in 2008. It had a net lettable retail floor area of 110,000 square feet (10,000 m2), and featured Fuji Ice Palace, one of the only two ice rinks in Singapore. In 2000, it was converted into a cineplex, with a total of six screens, operated by the Shaw Organisation. On 21 May 2010, CapitaMall Trust held a groundbreaking ceremony for its new mall, named JCube, on the site of the former Jurong Entertainment Centre. It houses Singapore’s first Olympic-size ice skating rink measuring 60m x 30m with a 460-seat gallery for spectators. JCube started welcoming shoppers on 2 April 2012.

The first nature park in Singapore to have separate hiking and biking trails was opened on Saturday, 2 April 2016. Chestnut Nature Park is located next to the Central Catchment Nature Reserve, the park has a biking trail of 1.6km and a hiking trail of 2.1km. When the northern portion of the park is completed, both trails will be between 5km and 6km each. All 81 hectares of the Chestnut Nature Park will be open to the public when the second phase is completed by the end of the 2016 year.

 

3 April

Franklin Gimson was installed as the first governor of Singapore on 3 April 1946.

Trans-Island Bus Services Ltd started operations on 3 April 1983 with 37 buses plying on two services - Services 160 and 167, serving Woodlands/Sembawang corridors. Today, its network and bus fleet have expanded. It now has more than 600 buses on 53 routes with areas of operations mainly in the northern part of Singapore, namely Yishun, Woodlands, Bukit Panjang, Cho Chu Kang, Sembawang, Simpang and Bukit Batok New Towns.

On 3 April 2008, it was reported by The Strait's Times, that the Capitol building will be redeveloped along with its stretch of adjoining buildings - Stamford House, Capitol Building and Capitol Centre - in 2009. The former Capitol Centre is now the site of Neue, a four-storey building with stores of new-to-market fashion and beauty brands such as Japanese fashion label 45R and Finnish lifestyle brand Marimekko, along with multi-label boutiques Manifesto and Julie Nicole. The flagship stores of Singapore's top local designers such as MAX.TAN, SABRINAGOH and The Reckless Shop, can also be found here.

 

4 April

In 1873 the Jewish community bought a piece of land from government in Church Street now known as Waterloo Street. Maghain Aboth Synagogue, which translates to "Shield of our Fathers", was completed in 1878. A well was sunk for use as a mikvah (ritual bath). On 4 April 1878, the Maghain Aboth Synagogue was consecrated. Situated at Waterloo Street, it is the oldest synagogue in Singapore and Southeast Asia.

The Pondok Peranakan Gelam Club is a community club for the Bawean Malay community. Established on 4 April 1932, the organisation served as a communal home for Baweanese immigrants from the 1930s to the 1960s. Originally located at 64 Club Street, it moved to its current location at the Telok Ayer Hong Lim Green Community Centre at 20 Upper Pickering Street in 2000. The National Heritage Board designated the original pondok building a historic site in 2000.

The Singapore Indian Artistes' Association was formed in early 1970 as a result of the deliberations of a few Like-minded personalities in the field of Tamil drama with the primary aim of uniting all Tamil speaking Artistes under One roof and to further uplift Arts and Culture in Singapore. The first Annual General meeting was called on 4 April 1971 to elect a new Management Committee and to chart activities for the future.

4 April 1992 was a very special day for all members of ADSA - The Amateur Dance Sport Association (Singapore). Not only did Singapore become the first country in Asia to host the World Amateur Standard Dancesport Championship, they broke three records doing it. In 2002, the ADSA was renamed as the Singapore DanceSport Federation (SGDF), keeping in line with the other world bodies as a Federation.

 

5 April

Every year, the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) is involved in numerous military exercises with other armed forces. It was more than forty years ago that the SAF took part in its first ever large-scale multi-lateral exercise. This was Exercise Bersatu Padu, held from April to June 1970. The scenario for Exercise Bersatu Padu was this: Ganasia, a fictitious country between Thailand and Malaysia, had begun infiltrating into Trengganu and managed to control a swathe of territory in the West Malaysian State. The aim of the five powers was to stop the growing aggression of the Ganasians and to regain the lost territory. The exercise began on 5 April 1970 with the deployment of the participating ANZUK, Malaysian and Singaporean troops. A six-week training phase was then conducted, with 5 SIR receiving jungle training in Kota Tinggi, Johore. 5 SIR, along with some British units, formed the 19th Brigade. An exercise, Spring Handicap, was held at the end of the training phase where 5 SIR successfully attacked and captured a 400m high enemy-held hill.

On 5 April 1983, The Straits Times on page 8 wrote an article on "How a Revere bell came to Singapore" -- A brief moment of US-Singapore history as Mr Thomas O'Neill listens to National Museum curator, Mrs Eng Seok Chee explain how the 1843 Revere bell (picture above) got to Singapore ... the bell was cast in the Revere foundary of Boston and later donated to the first Church of St Andrew by the bellmaker's daughter. Mrs Maria Revere Balestier, daughter of Paul Revere, became the wife of Joseph Balestier, the first American consul in Singapore...

Pioneer Primary School began its history in January 1995 with 19 classes in Juying Primary School. On 16 April 1995, it moved to its present site. Mr Peter Chen, Senior Minister of State for Education and Member of Parliament for Hong Kah GRC declared the school officially opened on 5 April 1997.

Meidi-Ya Supermarket, at Liang Court Shopping Centre, opened in Singapore on 5 April 2003.

 

6 April

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. David Marshall resigned on 6 Jun 1956, after the breakdown of constitutional talks in London on attaining full internal self-government. Singapore managed to attain self-government only in 1959.

Red Cross work in Singapore began in 30 September 1949 as part of the British Red Cross Society and the Singapore Red Cross (SRC) was incorporated by an Act of Parliament on 6 April 1973.

Bukit Batok Driving Centre Ltd is one of the most advanced driving centres in the South East Asia region. Established on 15 April 1988 and officially opened on 6 April 1990. Bukit Batok Driving Centre's mission is to offer motorists comprehensive and unique methods of training in safe driving.

 

7 April

Officially opened on 7 April 1929, the Church of St. Teresa is the first rural church in Singapore. Built in 1928 and completed in April 1929, the land on which the Church stood on was purchased in November 1925 by Father Emile Mariette. The building is a reflection of the French Missionaries’ contributions in Singapore, as the French Mission sold their coconut estate in Changi to raise the building fund of $26,000. The church is located at 2 Bukit Purmei, Singapore 099865.

Replacing the previous Department of Education, the Ministry of Education (MOE) was established in 1955 by Singapore’s newly elected Labour Front government headed by David Marshall. Chew Swee Kee was appointed the first minister for education, and was sworn in with the rest of the cabinet on 7 April 1955.

The Board of Commissioners of Currency, Singapore (BCCS) was established on 7 April 1967 by the enactment of the Currency Act, 1967. It has the sole right to issue currency notes and coins in Singapore. BCCS has issued four series of currency notes. All currency notes and coins issued by BCCS are legal tender. Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) took over the currency issuance function following the merger with the Board of Commissioners of Currency, Singapore in October 2002.

The above building was designed by colonial engineer John Frederick Adolphus McNair, who was also the superintendent of convicts. Convict labour was employed to construct the building. It was originally designated to be the new Court House, but upon its completion in 1867, various government departments moved in and occupied the building, such as the Government Secretariat, the Public Works and Medical departments, Treasury and Stamp Office. As a result, the building came to be known as the Government Office. Three major extensions were added in 1880, 1908 and 1920, though the overall look remained faithful to McNair’s original design. The building was renamed Empress Place Building in 1907 when the Municipal Council renamed the adjacent pedestrian space in honour of Queen Victoria who had died in 1901. The building continued to be used by various government offices after Singapore attained self-government in 1959. These included the Immigration Department, the Registry of Births and Deaths, and the Singapore Citizenship Registry. In the late 1980s, the offices moved out when the Empress Place Building was earmarked for restoration and conservation. After a 14-month renovation, the building reopened on 7 April 1989 as an art museum called the Empress Place Museum. Its first exhibition was on the furniture and artefacts of the Qing dynasty. The Empress Place Museum, however, failed to attract the following that it needed to stay afloat. After six years of operation, it closed in 1995. The National Heritage Board then took over the building to make it part of the Asian Civilisation Museum. In 1998, the Public Works Department began to restore and extend the building. The Empress Place Building reopened as the second wing of the Asian Civilisation Museum on 1 March 2003. The first wing was located on Armenian Street, though this was closed in 2005.