Week 29: 15 Jul to 21 Jul

15 July

The Straits Times is one of the region's oldest English-language daily newspapers. It is the flagship publication of the publicly-listed Singapore Press Holdings group. First published on 15 July 1845, The Straits Times is the most widely read newspaper in Singapore.

The Innovation Centre (Engineering) in NUS was established in 1987 and officially opened on 15 July 1988 to stimulate students' interest in engineering innovation and to promote collaboration between the Faculty and the industry in innovative R&D projects.

Victoria Theatre and Concert Hall reopened on 15 July 2014 following a four-year refurbishment.


16 July

The Singapore Armed Forces Training Institute (SAFTI) officially opened on 18 June 1961. Its objective was to raise an officer corps for the Singapore Armed Forces. It was originally located at Pasir Laba Road, bounded by Upper Jurong Road and Lim Chu Kang Road. In 1995, the new SAFTI Military Institute (SAFTIMI) opened at Upper Jurong. The original site was located at Pasir Laba, an area preferred over Pulau Tekong and Pulau Ubin as a campsite. Peng Kang Hill and Good Morning Hill are some of the geographical features that made Pasir Laba a natural topography for military training. On 16 July 1967, SAFTI saw the first batch of 117 officer cadets graduate.

The Development Bank of Singapore (DBS) was officially incorporated on 16 July 1968 and commenced operation on 1 September that same year. The bank’s main functions were to provide loans and financial assistance to the manufacturing and processing industries in Singapore, as well as to assist in establishing new industries and upgrading existing ones. In addition, the bank contributed to the general development of the economy by supporting projects from the Urban Renewal Programme and various tourist schemes. DBS offered medium- and long-term loans, equity participation and the guarantee of loans raised by entrepreneurs from other sources. DBS also conducted commercial banking operations aimed at supplementing the services provided by existing commercial banks.

The Capitol Theatre was built in 1929 by two British architects, Keys and Dowdeswell for the Namazie family of businessmen and lawyers of Persian origin. It was designed in the Neo-Classical architectural style. Significant features of the theatre include the concrete ribbed barrel vault roof and interior decorative elements such as zodiac signs, decorative plaster mouldings and figurines. Capitol Theatre opened on the evening of 22 May 1930 with the musical comedy, Rio Rita, the film adaptation of a Ziegfeld Follies theatre production and starring Bebe Daniels. Capitol Theatre was once Singapore's premier picture place showing movies and hosting life variety shows. The building was given conservation status on 16 July 2007. After almost 17 years of dormancy since the last film was screened in 1998, Capitol Theatre officially reopened on 22 May 2015 following a four-year renovation.


17 July

The Muslim Institute and the Muslim Association met on Friday, 15 July 1921, at 91 Selegie Road to submit a resolution to request for more Muslim holidays. Another meeting would be held on Sunday, 17 July 1921, to unite the two entities. The request and amalgamation would be submitted to the Muslim Advisory Board. The Muslim Association united with the Muslim Institute and the name Muslim Association was retained.

On at least two occasions, Toh Chin Chye’s name was floated as an alternative Prime Minister to Lee Kuan Yew. In 1961, they lost two successive by-elections to Ong Eng Guan and David Marshall. On 17 July 1961, Lee Kuan Yew wrote a letter to Dr Toh, Chairman of the CEC. He wrote that the trade unions, the Middle Road Crowd wanted him to resign and they wanted Dr Toh to take over as the Prime Minister. Dr Toh read the letter to all the Cabinet Ministers and CEC members during a Cabinet meeting. All who were present were stunned. Yong Nyuk Lin asked Dr Toh, “Should we accept his resignation?” Dr Toh replied, “No,” because it will divide the government and it will appear to the people of Singapore that they are being unsteady. So they declined the resignation. Dr Toh could very well make himself as the Prime Minister, but he didn’t.

On the 17 July 1967, the first batch of 900 Full-time National Servicemen were enlisted.

Opening of the Singapore Indian Fine Arts Society (SIFAS) new building in Starlight Road, by Minister for Information and the Arts, BG George Yeo on 17 July 1993.


18 July

On 18 July 1967, the British announced its plans to withdraw its troops from Singapore by the mid-1970s. Six months later, the deadline was brought forward to 1971 due to economic problems arising from the devaluation of pound sterling. The news came as a shock to Singapore because Britain had earlier given their assurance that the pullout would be done in stages. As a compromise, the British agreed to extend its deadline for withdrawal from March to December 1971. The sudden pullout of British forces presented serious problems to Singapore's defense and economic security. At that time, the Singapore Armed Forces was in its infancy, and Singapore's relationship with Malaysia remained tenuous after its separation in 1965. By October 1971, most of the British troops had moved out of Singapore, leaving a token number behind. It would be another five years before the last of the British troops leave Singapore.

The humble beginnings of the Singapore Youth Festival could be traced to its roots in the Jalan Besar Stadium. Launched on 18 July 1967 by President Yusof Ishak, it was a festival that involved 24,000 students from primary and secondary schools in a two-week celebration. It has metamorphosed into an annual kaleidoscopic showcase of talents involving more than 40,000 students in the month of July.

The New Woodlands Checkpoint was opened to traffic on 18 July 1999 at the stroke of midnight. Built at a cost of more than $400 million and spanning a site equivalent to about 31 football fields, the new Checkpoint will cater to the growing human and vehicular traffic coming in and going out of Singapore through the Causeway while helping the authorities achieve better border security.

Marina Bay City Gallery was officially opened by Mr Lee Hsien Loong, Prime Minister, on 18 July 2010.


19 July

The idea of having an Academy of Medicine in Singapore was first mooted by some 20 medical specialists. On 19 July 1957, the Academy of Physicians and Surgeons was formed with 34 founding members including Dental Surgeons, Physicians and Surgeons. It was renamed “Academy of Medicine, Singapore” in 1958. The first two Chapters of the Academy were the Chapters of Physicians and Surgeons.

Telok Kurau Secondary School is situated at Chin Cheng Road off Still Road. The School, founded on a piece of state land, is bounded by Changi Road, Still Road and Telok Kurau Road. The word Telok Kurau means ‘mango fish bay’ as telok in Malay for ‘bay’ and kurau is Malay for ‘mango fish’. Before kampongs (villages) were phased out by the 1980s, a Malay village called Telok Kurau was located on East Coast Road connected to Telok Kurau Road. In the pre-war days, it was common to see the Indians in Telok Kurau. They reared cows, leading the animals freely on public roads. Telok Kurau Road also had its share of violence during the Maria Hertogh riots in the early 1950s and the nearby Telok Kurau English School was used as a screening centre before Sook Ching or ‘purging’ was done by the Japanese soldiers during the Japanese Occupation. The building of the school was first envisioned by the government in the early 1960s who saw, amidst the tranquil enclave of middle-class population and the Malay villages in the eastern part of the island, a school to cater to the education need of the majority Malay population in that area. Its presence in 1965 was also in line with the Singapore government policy of integrating pupils of the various streams of education, that is, as part of racial integration efforts during the delicate and turbulent years in Singapore history. The school was officially opened by Mr Rahim Ishak, the Parliamentary Secretary for Education on 19 July 1965. The First Principal was Mr. Syed Ahmad Alwi Alsree.

American International Assurance (AIA) of Singapore was initially known as International Assurance Co. Ltd (INTASCO). Originally founded as the American Asiatic Underwriters in Shanghai in 1919, it was renamed INTASCO in 1931. INTASCO first began its operations in Shanghai, and soon established branch offices in Hong Kong, Malaya, Thailand and Singapore in the same year. When INTASCO was fully acquired by Starr in 1948, he added "American" to its name, changing it to American International Assurance (AIA). In the 1990s, AIA's headquarters resided in a temporary location at Gateway East as the new AIA Tower was being built. At the ground-breaking ceremony of the AIA Tower on 19 November 1991, a time capsule containing items such as a 1962 rate book and other AIA mementoes, was buried. Two years later, the 25-storey state-of-the-art AIA Tower was officially opened by AIG Chairman and CEO, Maurice Greenberg. The agency also established permanent offices in the 1990s with the opening of AIA Tanjong Pagar on 24 February 1992, and AIA Changi and Alexandra on 19 July 1994.


20 July

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. Built by the Municipal Commissioners, construction started in early 1854 and was completed on 13 March 1856. The building of a ghaut, 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 Merlion Statue at the Merlion Park, 8.6 m high and weighing 40 tons, is one of Singapore's national icon. As an emblem, it was designed by Fraser Brunner for the Singapore Tourism Board. Later, the vice-chancellor of the University of Singapore, Kwan Sai Kheong conceptualised the Merlion Statue which was thereafter constructed by Lim Nang Seng, a local craftsman. Since 15 September 1972, the Merlion statue and its cub had stood guard at the Mouth of the Singapore River at the Merlion Park. Exactly 30 years later, it was officially relaunched at its new home, the Merlion Pier, just off One Fullerton. The Merlion logo had been designed by Fraser Brunner, a member of the Souvenir Committee and the curator of Van Kleef Aquarium. It became the emblem of the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) on 26 March 1964 and its registration as a trademark was finalised two years later on 20 July 1966.

The 1972 National Family Planning Campaign with the theme “Plan Wisely for a Small, Healthy and Happy Family” was launched on 20 July 1972 by then Minister for Health Chua Sian Chin. In his opening speech, Chua announced that the Singapore Family Planning and Population Board (SFPPB) aimed to encourage the lesser educated and lower income groups to have only two children so as to give these children better opportunities in life. The SFPPB was formed in 1966 to oversee the task of controlling Singapore’s population growth. However, it was only in 1972 that the government strongly advocated a two-child family norm, deviating from the “small family” policy exhorted by previous family planning campaigns.


21 July

The Junior Library was declared open by His Excellency Major-General Sir Neil Malcolm, Chairman of the Library Sub-Committee, on Saturday 21 July 1923 at 2:30 pm. The Junior Library was located within the Raffles Library and Museum premises at Stamford Road.

On 21 July 1964, near Kallang Gasworks, fighting between Malay and Chinese youths during a Muslim procession celebrating the Prophet Muhammad's birthday erupted into racial riots, in which twenty-three people were killed and hundreds injured. While Singapore and Malaysia were quick to pin the blame on Indonesia's President Soekarno, who had declared a state of Konfrantasi (Confrontation) against Malaysia and initiated military and other acts to provoke the Malays against the Chinese, historians suggest the communal tensions arising Singapore's merger had been the main catalyst.

The National Stadium was officially opened by PM Lee Kuan Yew on 21 July 1973, in time for the 7th Southeast Asian Peninsula (SEAP) Games. This was the first time that Singapore hosted a sports event of such magnitude. Provisions for the event included a SEAP Games Village in Toa Payoh New Town. PM Lee, in his opening address, expressed confidence that the Stadium would be a place where people would be encouraged to watch, and then to participate in sporting activities.

ION Orchard, formerly known as the Orchard Turn Development or Orchard Turn Site. It is the retail component of an integrated retail and residential development by Orchard Turn Developments Pte Ltd, a joint venture between CapitaLand and Sun Hung Kai Properties. It started operating on 21 July 2009, occupying 335 food and retail outlets.