Week 32: 05 Aug to 11 Aug

5 August

A collision between two trains took place at around 0750 hrs on 5 August 1993 at Clementi MRT station. It appeared that one train had stopped at the station for longer than usual after experiencing a technical fault, and then a second westward train hit the first. 156 commuters were injured, many of whom were on their way to work. Eight were admitted to three hospitals, while the rest received outpatient treatment. There was an oil spill on the tracks that was responsible for the second train's inability to brake in time. Some 50 litres of oil had spilled from a locomotive doing maintenance work on the track in the pre-dawn hours of 5 August. SMRT staff had been alerted to the spill and had dispatched a cleaning crew to the neighbouring Buona Vista station, but approval to access the tracks was delayed. Already ten trains had reported difficulty braking on the track that morning. The 11th train had to use its emergency brakes upon reaching Clementi station, and while it was waiting for the brakes to be recharged so that it could move off again, the 12th approached the station and could not brake in time to avoid hitting the 11th train.

A disruption in the natural gas supply from West Natuna, Indonesia led to the tripping of seven gas fired generation plants of Tuas Power Station, Seraya Power Station, SembCorp Cogen Pte Ltd and ExxonMobil Asia Pacific Pte Ltd at 10.00 am on 5 August 2002. Supply was fully restored by 11.28 am. About 228 buildings in Aida (Bedok area), Mandai, Pandan, Pasir Ris, Tampines, Kaki Bukit and Tuas South areas were affected by the interruption of the electricity supply. 82% of the consumers affected were residential while the remaining 18% were commercial and industrial premises.

On 5 August 2010, the Olympic flame for the inaugural Youth Olympic Games (YOG) arrives in Singapore for a six-day tour of the island.


6 August

The Sin Kuo Min Press, later entitled Sin Kok Min Jit Pao, began publishing in Singapore on 1 October 1919. It was a continuation of the Kok Min Jit Pao, founded by the Kuomintang under the leadership of Sun Yat Sun and Chen Xin Zheng in 1914, which ceased publication on 6 August 1919. The publisher moved to Kuala Lumpur in 1941 and the paper ceased publication later in the same year.

United Overseas Bank (“UOB”) was incorporated on 6 August 1935 as the United Chinese Bank. Founded by Datuk Wee Kheng Chiang, the Bank catered mainly to the Fujian community in its early years. The change of name was effected in 1965. Over the past 75 years, UOB has grown from strength to strength. Through a series of acquisitions, it is now a leading bank in Asia. Besides Far Eastern Bank in Singapore, UOB’s major banking subsidiaries in the region are United Overseas Bank (Malaysia), United Overseas Bank (Thai), PT Bank UOB Indonesia, PT Bank UOB Buana and United Overseas Bank (China). Today, the UOB Group has a network of over 500 offices in 19 countries and territories in Asia Pacific, Western Europe and North America.

Chiam See Tong is a veteran figure in Singapore's political landscape. He is one of Singapore's longest standing and most iconic opposition figures and has been the member of parliament (MP) for the Potong Pasir constituency since 1984. With his belief in the need for opposition politics to check the possible abuse of power in a one-party system, he founded the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) in 1980. After leaving the SDP in 1995, he founded the Singapore People's Party (SPP), and later the Singapore Democratic Alliance (SDA), of which he is chairman. The SDP was founded on 6 August 1980, predicated on the safeguarding of parliamentary democracy. In the 1980 general election (GE), Chiam contested in Potong Pasir under the SDP banner and lost, but he managed to garner 41% of the votes.

Istana Kampong Glam (Malay for "Kampong Glam Palace"), also Istana Kampong Gelam, is a former Malay palace in Singapore. The palace and compounds were refurbished into the Malay Heritage Centre in 2004. The palace is gazetted as a national monument on the eve of Singapore's Golden Jubilee, on 6 August 2015.


7 August

On 7 August 1918, residents in Singapore would have woken up to read an unusual notice in their morning paper: an invitation to contribute interesting stories of their island over the last 100 years. The public call, issued in The Straits Times, sought to gather useful and relevant information so that an official history of the civic, public and social life in Singapore since Stamford Raffles’ arrival in 1819 could be compiled.

On 7 August 1965, the two prime ministers met. Singapore was told to leave Malaysia immediately. Lee Kuan Yew, Dr Toh Chin Chye and S Rajaratnam tried unsuccessfully to persuade the Tunku Abdul Rahman to change his decision. It is confirmed by the Governments of Singapore and Malaysia in the 7 August 1965 Separation Agreement, also known as the Independence of Singapore Agreement, 1965.

As Singaopre marks 50 years of independence (SG50), President Tony Tan declared 7 August 2015 (Friday) a public holiday. This will make for an extended Jubilee Weekend over the 7 to 10 August period so as to enable all Singaporeans to participate in commemorating this special milestone in our nation’s history.


8 August

One of only a few sports clubs established during Colonial Times, the Singapore Recreation Club (SRC) was founded in 1883 with the main objective of encouraging amateur sports in Singapore. Cricket was the main sporting activity of the club and the first match reportedly played was between the SRC and the British Royal Artillery on 1 Sep 1883. When by 1891 membership had reached 170, plans were made for a larger pavilion. This new clubhouse pavilion was completed on 8 August 1905 and declared open by then Governor, Sir J Anderson on 2 Sep 1905.

The United Chinese Library at Armenian Street was inaugurated at this site on 8 August 1910 by the Father of Modern China, Dr Sun Yat Sen. This sole surviving reading room was initially set up to promote general knowledge and culture among the general public but extended itself to disseminate revolutionary ideas and generate support for the Chinese Revolution against the Manchu rulers. Bewteen 1908 and 1911, about 50 reading rooms were established throughout Malaya and Singapore. The library moved to Cantonment Road in 1987.

National Theatre, public theatre for performances, concerts and conferences, was at the corner of Clemenceau Avenue and River Valley Road, located in the Central Region. It was built to commemorate Singapore's self-government in 1959 and when completed in 1963, was the largest theatre in Singapore, with a capacity of 3,420 seats. Costing S$2.2 million, it was opened on 8 August 1963 with its first show, the Southeast Asian Cultural Festival, attended by 11 Asian countries. It was the venue for various international performances and the annual National Day rallies. Offices of the National Theatre Trust were also located here. It was demolished in 1986.

Singapore is a founding member of ASEAN on 8 August 1967. Other members include Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand.

The National University of Singapore (NUS) was inaugurated on 8 August 1980 with the merger of the Nanyang University (1956) and the University of Singapore (1962). The University of Singapore had its own evolution. It was preceded by the University of Malaya which was formed in 1949 when two institutions, the King Edward VII College of Medicine (1905) and Raffles College (1928) merged. In 1962, the University of Malaya became known as the University of Singapore.


9 August

In 1902 decision was taken by the government to build on to the Town Hall a Memorial Hall to Queen Victoria. The foundation stone for the Victoria Memorial Hall was laid by Govern Sir Frank Swettenham on 9 August 1902 and the building was completed in 1905. The older part became the Victoria Theatre. The Straits Trading Company donated a clock and chimes in 1906; the clock chimes every hour but was silenced from 9 pm and 7 am. Because of complaints by the patrons of the Grand Hotel de L'Europe nearby. Renovations were carried out in 1915 when a crown was placed on Victoria Memorial Hall.

Singapore today separated from Malaysia, following an amendment to the Constitution approved unanimously by both Houses of Parliament under a certificate of urgency. At his own press conference in Singapore, Mr Lee Kuan Yew called on his people to remain firm and calm. His eyes brimming with tears: "What has happened has happened. Everybody will have a place in Singapore and will continue helping the Malays in competition with UMNO." The Proclamation of Singapore that announced Singapore's separation from Malaysia on 9 August 1965 was drafted by Mr E W Barker, then Minister for Law. He was also responsible for drafting two other related documents, namely: an Amendment relating to the separation of Singapore from Malaysia as an independent and sovereign state, and an Act to amend the Constitution of Malaysia and the Malaysia Act to give Singapore independence.

The National Day falls on 9th August to commemorate Singapore becoming an independent nation. A parade was held at the Padang on 9 August 1966. It started with the arrival of the first President of Singapore, Mr Yusof Ishak, Cabinet members, and members of the Parliament on the steps of the City Hall. The highlight of the event was the march-past by 23, 000 men, women and children through Chinatown to Tanjong Pagar, which was televised live.


10 August

In 1947, Char Yong (Dabu) Association bought over No. 30 Cairnhill Road and converted it into a school building. Khee Fatt School at Cairnhill Road was established on 10 August 1947. It received financial support from the members of the Association and money obtained as compensation from the Eastern Telephone Company. By 1951, the pupil population rose to about eight hundred. Khee Fatt School, presently known as Qifa Primary School was re-located to 50 West Coast Avenue.

Click on the picture to enlarge the full front page of
The Straits Times dated 10 August 1965.
(Source: The Sunday Times on 9 August 2015)

Built in 1920 as Singapore's third impounding reservoir, Seletar Reservoir was officially opened by Her Royal Highness, Princess Alexandra on 10 August 1969. In 1992, it was renamed as Upper Seletar Reservoir and became a marked conservation site in 1999.


11 August

Goh Keng Swee was reappointed for Minister for Defence on 11 August 1970.

Consumers Association of Singapore is formally constituted on 11 August 1971, with Dr Henry Ong Wah Kim as Pro-tem Chairperson and V Jayakody as Pro-tem Executive Secretary.

Esplanade Theatre or simply The Esplanade, is a 60,000 square metres (6.0 ha) performing arts centre located in Marina Bay near the mouth of the Singapore River. Planning for the construction of the centre started in 1992, headed by the Singapore Arts Centre Co. Construction officially started on 11 August 1996, with a groundbreaking ceremony officiated by then Deputy Prime Minister Dr. Tony Tan. The Esplanade occupies the site of the former "Satay Club", a popular food haunt for Singaporeans which had been discontinued prior to the Esplanade's construction. The "Satay Club" had been relocated next to Sembawang Shopping Centre, before closing down. Completed in February 2001, the centre was officially opened on 12 October 2002, by the then President of Singapore S. R. Nathan.