Week 19: 06 May to 12 May

6 May

The Orchard Road Presbyterian Church, a.k.a. Greja Kechil and the Scots Church, is the earliest Presbyterian church in Singapore. Only on 6 May 1875 was land given upon which the current Presbyterian Church of Singapore was built. The location of the Church's foundation stone laid in 1877 is however not known. The Church was erected in 1878 at a cost of $20,000 and worship began with only 42 members. During the Japanese Occupation, it was used as a supply base for the Japanese and most of its early records were destroyed. After World War II, the Rev Geer who had been interned in Changi, reopened the Church for regular services in 1947. Today, the church holds services in various languages including English, Mandarin, Indonesian, German and Dutch.

Singapore's independence brought on the 1966 National Registration Act. All citizens and permanent residents were required to register or re-register for their ICs. A new identity card was thus introduced in 6 May 1966 and the re-registration exercise was rolled out in two phases. A total of 1,233,705 cards were issued.

The tenth Singapore general election is held on 6 May 2006with the ruling People's Action Party winning 82 out of 84 seats with a percentage of 66.6% of the total vote.

 

7 May

The Badminton Association Club House did not have the finances to support such a large project. However, with help from a building committee, the building fund eventually reached $6 million. Significant donations included $1 million from Tan Chin Tuan, then patron of the Association, $2 million from Ho Whye Chung, and $1 million from the Shaw Foundation. On 7 May 1986, the $5.5-million Badminton Association Club House, located next to the Badminton Hall, was officially opened by President Wee Kim Wee.

The Marine Division underwent a major restructuring and was renamed as the Police Coast Guard ("PCG") on 13 February 1993, given its expanded roles in marine security responsibilities and capabilities, including preventing the intrusion of illegal migrants and foreign government vessels, and the guarding of the Horsburgh Lighthouse on the disputed island of Pedra Branca in the Singapore Straits. The PCG officiated the reorganisation of its operations into three squadrons, namely the Interceptor Squadron, the Port Squadron and the Coastal Patrol Squadron on 7 May 1993 and launched the Special Task Squadron (STS) on 22 January 1997.

StarHub was awarded the licence to provide fixed network and mobile services on 7 May 1998, when the government announced that telecommunications sector in Singapore would be completely liberalised by 2002.

 

8 May

Singapore Khalsa Association (SKA) was the brainchild of a few schoolboys of Raffles Institution during the mid-1920’s. In the absence of a Sikh organization for sports and culture, these sports enthusiasts took it upon themselves, with the backing of several adults, to establish Khalsa Association. Gurdwaras functioned, as most still do, as a place of worship and of social functions. Fueled with the need to establish a sports club, for their own community, the SKA was established on 8 May 1931. Today it has become a formidable institution for Sikhs in particular to partake and hone their sporting skills.

On 8 May 1965 delegations from the PAP and four opposition parties from the peninsula and Sarawak met in Singapore under the chairmanship of Toh Chin Chye to form a Malaysian Solidarity Convention.

The Singapore Chemical Industry Council, or (SCIC) is the official body representing the Chemical Industry of Singapore in the private sector. Its membership comprises key MNCs, SMEs, Logistics Service Providers and Traders. SCIC was officially formed under the umbrella of the former Singapore Manufacturers Association (SMa) on 8 May 1979 by a group of 17 manufacturers. SCIC is affiliated to the ASEAN Chemical Industries Council (ASEAN-CIC).

In 1912, a group of Sikhs saw the need to move out of the first premises devoted to Sikh worship at Pearl's Hill Police Barracks. The Central Sikh Temple, also known as Wadda Gurdwara, was then set up in a bungalow at No. 175 Queen Street. The temple was reconstructed in 1921 to cater to the growing Sikh community. In 1977, the land in Queen Street was acquired for urban renewal and the temple was vacated in December 1979. It was temporaily housed in the former Bukit Ho Swee Community Centre at Seng Poh Road until it moved to the Central Sikh Temple at Towner Road in 1986. The above storyboard at the site of the former Central Sikh Temple at Queen Street was unveiled on 8 May 1999 by Justice Choor Singh (Retired).

Singapore first museum on the Indian community, $21 million Indian Heritage Centre, opened its doors to the public on 8 May 2015.

 

9 May

Lt. Colonel (later Major-General) William Farquhar was the First British Resident and Commandant of Singapore from 1819-1823. With his long Malayan experience, and an intimate knowledge of Riau-Lingga politics, Major Farquhar was given the task to help Sir Stamford Raffles found a settlement on Singapore island. On 9 May 1821, William Farquhar was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. Despite his many positive achievements in the formative period of Singapore's development, he adopted measures in his administration which conflicted with Raffles' instructions, notably in allowing the erection of houses and godowns on the Padang and on the nearby banks of the Singapore River.

The national registration for pink and blue Singapore identity cards began on 9 May 1966 with pink cards for citizens and blue ones for non-citizens who are permanent residents (PRs). The exercise was governed by the National Registration Act of 1965 that took effect on 5 May 1966, requiring all Singaporeans above 12 years of age and those with existing identity cards issued under the Registration of Persons Ordinance 1955 to re-register. Although the National Registration Act legislated two types of ICs to differentiate between citizens and non-citizens, it did not stipulate that pink was for citizens and blue for PRs. This colour differentiation was only legislated when the National Registration (Amendment) Regulations 1969 came into operation on 28 March 1969.

The Toa Payoh Branch Library, located at 6 Toa Payoh Central, Singapore 319191, was officially opened on 7 February 1974 by Haji Sha'ari bin Tadin, Senior Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Culture. Jek Yuen Thong, Minister for Culture, was originally scheduled to conduct the Opening Ceremony but circumstances prevented him from performing this function. The Library was opened to the public on the same day. The Toa Payoh Branch Library was renamed Toa Payoh Community Library when the National Library became a Statutory Board on 1 September 1995. In 1997, the library launched an upgrading programme and was reopened on 9 May 1999 by the then Minister of Home Affairs, Wong Kan Seng.

 

10 May

Hoo Ah Kay (Whampoa) was a noted Chinese businessman who ran Whampoa & Co., and, with an uncommon mastery over English, became the first and only Chinese to hold a position as extraordinary member in the Executive Legislative Council. He was also noted for entertaining dinners at his Whampoa home, renamed Bendemeer House and his fascinating Whampoa Gardens. On 10 May 1876, he received the honour of Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George (C.M.G.) at a public investiture ceremony held by the Straits Settlements Governor. Hoo Ah Kay (Whampoa) was a shopkeeper who supplied ships with bread and vegetables. He also owned a bakery and an accessories shop. He owned a large gambier plantation and he was the first businessman who produced cash crops in large amount.

James Johnson, FSA (Scotland) became the first fully qualified librarian appointed on 10 May 1920 at the Raffles Library and Museum. He retired on 23 April 1935 and was replaced by a temporary female librarian, K.E. Savage-Bailey.

On 6 November 1989, it was reported in The Straits Times and The Business Times that the government planned to construct a 140-metre-long and four-metre-wide suspension bridge linking Mount Faber Park and Telok Blangah Hill Park. Henderson Waves, which links Mount Faber to Telok Blangah Hill, along with Alexandra Arch, was officially opened by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on 10 May 2008. The 274-metre-long and eight-metre-wide Henderson Waves is the highest pedestrian bridge in Singapore at 36 m above Henderson Road. Its distinctive wave-like steel-and-timber structure comes from seven undulating curved "ribs" that alternately go above and below the bridge deck. Henderson Waves offers breathtaking views of the city and southern islands.

 

11 May

The St. Andrew's Church Mission was begun with one catechist at Whitsuntide, 1856. Bishop McDougall of Sarawak had joined with Mr. Humphrey, the Chaplain, in its establishment, and it was carried on by a committee. The Bishop, when in England, recommended the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel to assist the local mission by sending out an ordained missionary, and about the beginning of 1862 the Rev. E. S. Venn was sent by the Society to Singapore. On 11 May 1863, at a meeting of the subscribers to the mission held at the Raffles Institution, at which the Governor, Colonel Cavenagh, presided, and Bishop McDougall was present, it was decided that it would be desirable to join the local mission with that of the S. P. G. to bear the name of the St. Andrew's Church Mission to the Heathen in connection with the S. P. G.; the united mission to be under the management of the S. P. G. in communication with the Residency Chaplain. Mr. Venn, of Wadham College, Oxford, was the first missionary of the Society to the Straits. He died in Singapore on 19th September, 1866. After his death there was no resident missionary until 1872, when the Rev. William Henry Gomes was appointed. He was born in Ceylon in 1827, was educated at the Bishop's College, Calcutta, and went to the S. P. G. mission at Sarawak in 1852. He left Sarawak in 1867, and was appointed Acting Colonial Chaplain of Malacca. In 1868 he returned to Ceylon, and after working among the coffee planters there, he came back to the Straits in 1871 as acting Chaplain of Penang. In June, 1872, he became S. P. G. missionary at Singapore. In 1878 the Archbishop of Canterbury bestowed upon Mr. Gomes the decree of a Bachelor of Divinity of Lambeth, in recognition of his missionary and literary services. He translated the Prayer Book and a number of Hymns into native languages, Chinese, Dyak, and Malay, which were printed in Singapore at his own expense, aided by contributions from the congregations.

The “garden city” vision was introduced by then Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew on 11 May 1967 to transform Singapore into a city with abundant lush greenery and a clean environment in order to make life more pleasant for the people.

In the same area across the open space from Block 179 is another building which is significant in Toa Payoh’s history – the building that housed Kong Chian Cinema – Toa Payoh’s first ever cinema, which opened on 11 May 1972 with the screening of a Charity Premier ‘The Loner’ for the nearby Chung Hwa Free Hospital. Now called 600@Toa Payoh, the building housed a single screen cinema with two classes of seating, which was very typical of the day – where tickets were printed on coloured pieces of paper on which seat numbers were scribbled onto by a box office clerk with Chinagraph. The cinema screened mainly Chinese films for close to fifteen years until it screened its last movie, ‘The Legend of Wisely’ on 31 January 1987 after which the building was sold to McDonalds.

 

12 May

The National Productivity Board (NPB) was established as a statutory board under the Ministry of Labour on 12 May 1972.

A three-man pro-tem committee was formed on 12 May 1973 to start conceiving a plan for the establishment of the Stock Exchange of Singapore at the earliest possible date.

Benjamin Henry Sheares succeeded Yusof Ishak as president. The 63-year-old renowned obstetrician and gynaecologist was elected as president by parliament on 30 December 1970. He took office on 2 January 1971 and was re-elected for a second and third four-year term on 6 November 1974 and 29 December 1978 respectively. Sheares died on 12 May 1981 during his third term as president after having been in a coma for five days.