Week 28: 08 Jul to 14 Jul

8 July

William Henry Macleod Read, K.C.N.L., C.M.G., affectionately known as WH, was an established businessman and an active contributor to political and social interests, in the almost 46 years of his life in Singapore, Treasurer of the first Singapore public library and Honorary Police Magistrate. He was one of the strongest advocates of Singapore's independence. Read Bridge and Read Street are named after him. On 8 July 1854, he was first to join the Straits Settlements Volunteer Corps and remained active for 25 years.

The origins of the People’s Defence Force (PDF) can be traced to the formation of the Singapore Volunteer Rifle Corps (SVRC) on 8 July 1854 to assist the local constabulary during the colonial rule. It was formed by European residents living in Singapore. However, the SVRC was a private military force. In 1857, the Indian Government passed the Volunteer Ordinance, which placed the SVRC under government control. In 1888, the Singapore Volunteer Artillery Corps (SVA) replaced the SVRC. In 1901, the SVA was expanded and a new force known as the Singapore Volunteer Corps (SVC) was formed. It comprised the artillery, infantry, engineers and the rifle sections. Over the years, the SVC became more of an island defence force, with its own guns and artillery. In 1915, the SVC played a major role in suppressing the Sepoy Mutiny. In 1921, the SVC and the other Straits Settlements corps merged to form the Straits Settlements Volunteer Force (SSVF). The Singapore Volunteer Corps headquarters was at Beach Road Camp.

On 8 July 1945, Bose laid the foundation stone of the INA (Indian National Army) War Memorial at the Esplanade, Singapore to commemorate the “Unknown Warrior” of the INA. The words inscribed upon the War Memorial were the motto of the INA: Unity (Ittefaq), Faith (Etmad) and Sacrifice (Kurbani). The foundation stone was laid just months before Singapore returned into British hands, and was completed by the Japanese within a month. The monument was influenced by Subhas Chandra Bose, the co-founder of the INA and Head of State of the Provisional Government of Free India, who also laid the foundation stone for the monument. The INA was backed by the Japanese forces for its goal of liberating India from its British colonial masters.

On 8 July 1966, Post Office Savings Bank (POSB) officially became an independent savings bank in Singapore to provide a means for the deposit of savings, encourage thrift and mobilise domestic resources for public development. Dr Goh saw the possibility of tapping the national savings for projects leading to national development and called for initiatives to raise the amount of deposits in the POSB. The POSB was an important financial resource.

On 8 July 1985, first open mobilisation conducted by SAF. About 10,000 NSmen were recalled via broadcast messages on TV, radio and cinema notices.

Launching the Fullerton Heritage Gallery in the precinct on 8 July 2010, Acting Minister for Information, Communications and the Arts Lui Tuck Yew said it will bring life to the rich history and heritage of the area.

 

9 July

On 29th January, 1819, Raffles founded modern Singapore. On 9 July 1823, feeling that his work on establishing Singapore was finished, he boarded a ship for home, but not before a stop in Batavia to visit his old home and adversary, van der Capellen. A final stop in Bencoolen ensued, and the journey back home was interrupted by a heart-rending experience as one of the ships caught fire off Rat Island, which claimed many of his drawings and papers.

The Gurdwara Sahib Silat Road, a.k.a Silat Road Temple, takes its name from its location which is in Silat Road, now renamed Jalan Bukit Merah. It houses the samadh (tombstone) of Bhai Maharaj Singh Ji, the Sikh freedom fighter, after it was brought to the Gurdwara from the Singapore General Hospital on 12 October 1966. The Gurdwara Sahib Silat Road (Gurdwara) has its origins as the first-ever Sikh temple to be built in Singapore at Pearl's Hill. A bigger Gurdwara was built in 1966 and it served as a meeting place for the Punjabis and a memorial to Bhai Maharaj Singh, a Sikh warrior. It is believed by some Sikhs in Singapore that any prayer would be granted through the divine intervention of Bhai Maharaj. It was only after his tomb was kept in this Gurdwara that it soared in popularity, in comparison to the other Sikh temples in Singapore. Bhai Maharaj Singh was born Nihal Singh, in the village of Rahon in the Ludhiana district. When he became a preacher, he changed his name to Bhagwan Singh and joined a wandering group of Sikh preachers headed by Bir Singh. After Bir Singh's death, Bhagwan Singh became the leader of the group. During the Anglo-Sikh wars of 1835-1847, Bhagwan Singh organised a Sikh uprising in the villages around Jalandhar and Multan to prevent the British takeover. For his role in the Prema Conspiracy to kill Henry Lawrence, a British Resident, the British put up a reward of Rs.10,000 for his capture. He was arrested 28 December 1849 as he was planning a revolt with Punjabi soldiers in the British Army. He was tortured and sent to Singapore, then a penal colony, on the ship, the 'Mohamed Shah', with his chela, Khurruck Singh, a sergeant, a corporal and six privates. He arrived at the new Outram Jail on 9 July 1850 where he was put into solitary confinement. He became blind from the lack of natural light in the prison and developed cancer of the tongue and painful rheumatism. Bhagwan Singh died on 5 July 1856 and he was cremated outside the Outram Jail. The spot was visited by Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs, and eventually it became a small memorial to the freedom fighter who was remembered as Bhai Maharaj Singh.

The Dalhousie Obelisk, in 1885, was considered for demolition as an obstacle to the construction of Connaught Drive. So under the order of the Governor, Sir Cecil Clementi Smith, the obelisk was carefully dismantled and removed from its foundation on 9 July 1890 and re-erected in front of Victoria Memorial Hall and Empress Place Building.

It was decided that Singapore should have a dedicated air defence formation and the Singapore Air Defence Artillery (SADA) was formed on 9 July 1979. Initially consisting of just the 160 Bn and 170 SQN, it would develop into a far more formidable force against potential air threats over the course of the next decade.

Immediately after the Japanese Surrender and the return of the British forces in 1945, the Shinto Shrine, the Bukit Batok War Memorial (Syonan Chureito) and the British War Memorial behind it, both located at Upper Bukit Timah Road were demolished by the British forces. The remains of the Japanese were moved to the Japanese cemetery. Plans to rebuild the memorials to remember both the Japanese and Allied fallen were discussed in the 1990s but were shelved in 1991 because of sensitivities toward those who had suffered under the Japanese. Today, a transmitting tower stands at the site of the original monuments. On 9 July 1995, a plaque was unveiled by MP Ong Chit Chung at the Bukit Batok Nature Park as a memorial instead.

 

10 July

The first Coleman Bridge (1840) was a brick structure consisting of nine arches. To cater to increased traffic between the north and south of town, this bridge was replaced in 1865 by a timber bridge, whilst retaining the name, Coleman Bridge. However, it was not well constructed and was again replaced on 10 July 1886. Initially named "New Bridge", this third three-lane bridge was once one of Singapore's most elegant bridges with graceful shallow arches, decorative columns, ornamental gas lamp stands and intricate iron balustrades.

A by-election was held on 10 July 1965 to fill the Legislative Assembly seat for the Hong Lim constituency. It was called after Ong Eng Guan of the United People’s Party resigned from his seat on 16 June. Nomination day was held on 30 June. The by-election was a straight fight between Lee Khoon Choy of the People’s Action Party (PAP) and Ong Chang Sam of the Barisan Sosialis (BS).

on work cost a total of S$1.2 million and the bridge was reopened on 3 July 1987.

Formed under the aegis of Singapore Manufacturers’ Association, Singapore Furniture Industries Council was inaugurated on 10 July 1981 as the official representative body of furniture manufacturers and exporters in Singapore.

 

11 July

Asia Insurance Building, also known as the A. I. Building, is located at 2 Finlayson Green. It was opened on 10 December 1955 with 18 floors at a height of 87 m. It was the tallest building in Southeast Asia when it was completed in 1954, and the first to exceed Cathay Building's claim to height in Singapore. It houses the Asia Insurance, a local company incorporated on 11 July 1923.

Published in June 1951, the report on Chinese schools and the education of Chinese Malayans, also known as the “Fenn-Wu report”, was presented to the Federal Legislative Council on 11 July 1951.

Hotel Royal was incorporated in Singapore under the Singapore Companies Act on 11 July 1968 to conduct business as a hotelier. Later that year, the Company was listed on the Main Board of the Singapore Stock Exchange.

 

12 July

Rajabali Jumabhoy is a prominent businessman and patriarch of the four-generation Jumabhoy family business which once owned Scotts Holdings. Nicknamed "the Grand Old Man of Scott's". On 12 July 1951, he was appointed into the Executive Council of the Legislative Assembly. In 1975, converted family residence at Scotts road into a commercial development Scotts Shopping Centre was set up with the Ascot serviced apartments. Outside Scotts, the Jumabhoy's also hold the A&W Restaurants fast food franchise in Singapore.

On 1 July 1958, the British Government in Singapore handed over the Royal Malayan Navy to the government of the Ferderation of Malaya. This historic moment was officially held at the Royal Malayan Naval Base, Woodlands Singapore on 12 July 1958.

Racial sentiments were aroused in Singapore in various ways. On 12 July 1964, Singapore United Malays National Organisation organised a convention of about 150 Malay organisations at the New Star cinema in Pasir Panjang to discuss the problems faced by the Malays in Singapore.

 

13 July

The referendum on merger with the Federation of Malaysia, also known as the Singapore National Referendum, was held on 1 September 1962. The idea for a referendum to be held was championed by then Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew of the People’s Action Party (PAP). The official purpose of the referendum was to allow the people of Singapore to express their preference on the terms of merger with Malaysia. The opposition political parties, notably the Barisan Sosialis (BS), were not satisfied with the framing of the referendum as it did not allow voters the choice of rejecting merger altogether. The bill was eventually passed and the Singapore National Referendum Ordinance came into operation on 13 July 1962.

Section 8B(1) of the amended Internal Security Act provides that the law pertaining to the judicial review of decisions made by the President or the Minister was restored to the legal position applicable in Singapore on 13 July 1971.

The National Kidney Foundation (NKF) financial scandal involved the revelation of a number of malpractices at the charity organisation, including the misuse of donated funds by its former chief executive officer T. T. Durai. The scandal broke in July 2005 after Durai sued Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) for defamation following a newspaper article detailing a lack of transparency and accountability in the NKF’s usage and acquisition of funds. On 13 July 2005, Durai drops the defamation suit against SPH after making several confessions. The trial led to public disclosures about numerous malpractices and financial mismanagement in the NKF and subsequent government investigations into its misconduct.

 

14 July

Jurong Drive-In Cinema was located at 11 Japanese Garden Road, Singapore 619229. Opened on 14 July 1941, it was a first of its kind in Singapore and the largest in Asia. The drive-in cinema was situated along Yuan Ching Road, just opposite of where Block 105 is. Covering 55,602 sq metres, the premises could accommodate 899 cars & 300 walk-in patrons. There were two shows a day (7pm & 9pm) and tickets were sold at S$2 (adult) & S$1 (child). The cinema showcased mainly Chinese movies, featuring actors such as Bruce Lee. It was considered one of the earliest and most unique recreation to exist in Singapore. After 14 years, on 30 September 1985, the cinema had to close its doors because of poor attendance attributed to increase in real estate value, video piracy, affordability of VCRs due to improvements in technology and people no longer found it a novelty. Today, the Fairway Country Club sits on the same site as where the Jurong Drive-In Cinema used to be.

Prior to the formation of the Singapore Film Society on 17 October 1954, a society of the same name was established on 14 July 1948 by a group of locals with the objective of organising film screenings of artistic, historical and educational pictures that were not usually screened in cinemas. The society, which started with an initial membership of 50, was led by Tan Thoon Lip as president and Lim Choo Sye as secretary. However, the society struggled to survive due to the high cost of acquiring these films, entertainment tax and the lack of suitable viewing facilities, and eventually dissolved.

On 14 July 1999, when Cathay Organisation mounted a reverse takeover on IMM Multi-Enterprise Ltd (IME) which was then listed on the SESDAQ. IME was subsequently renamed Cathay Organisation Holdings Ltd. In December 2000, Cathay Cineplexes Pte Ltd became Singapore’s first cinema operator to achieve ISO 9002 certification awarded by the Singapore Productivity and Standards Board (PSB). On 1 June 2006, Cathay Organisation effected its voluntary delisting from SESDAQ.