Week 34: 19 Aug to 25 Aug

19 August

The Singapore Anti-Narcotics Association (SANA) is a voluntary welfare organisation registered under The Societies Act on 19 August 1972. SANA is affiliated to the National Council of Social Service. SANA was first established to assist in the rehabilitation of drug addicts and provide assistance and support wherever necessary. SANA's association with anti-drug work has made it a household name and it is well recognised in the region as an established anti-drug non-government organisation.

Opened on 19 August 1985, the Ang Mo Kio Public Library (formerly known as Ang Mo Kio Branch Library) was the fifth full-time branch library to be built. Prior to that, residents in Ang Mo Kio had to travel to Toa Payoh for the nearest library. Planning for the library began as early as 1978. The site was finalised by 1979 and construction began only in 1983. Meanwhile, a temporary mobile library was opened in 1981, housed in the former HDB Area (East) Office at Block 528, Ang Mo Kio Street 52, to serve the residents. When the library opened in 1985, the response from residents was overwhelming. Huge crowds turned up and the wait to borrow books took easily more than an hour. The library had to set up a temporary loans counter in its garage to help ease the queue, which snaked outside the library building.

The Singapore Philatelic Museum is a museum about the postal history of Singapore and its stamps. Located at 23-B Coleman Street, was formerly part of the Anglo-Chinese School, completed in 1906. In the 1970s, the building became the Methodist Book Room until it was restored to become the present museum opened on 19 August 1995.


20 August

Paya Lebar International Airport officially opened on 20 August 1955 and Kallang Civil Airport was closed to air traffic the next day. At the time of its opening, Paya Lebar had an interim terminal building and a temporary control tower. They faced a single runway that was 8,000ft long and 200ft wide. With its associated taxi tracks and aprons, Kallang was considered a Class B3 Airport based on the 1953 standards of the International Convention for Civil Aviation. The airport was described as “one of the finest in the world” as it was “equipped with completely up to date approach and runway lighting”. Together with the airport’s radio navigational aids and surveillance radar, the airport was “useable in almost any weather conditions by the largest civil aircraft”.

The Founding of the Tan Kah Kee International Society was initiated by a group of eminent scholars, including the three Nobel Laureates, Prof Yang Chen Ning, Prof. Samuel C.C. Ting and Prof Lee Yuan Tseh; Prof Tien Chang Lin, the former Vice-Chancellor of the University of California at Berkeley; and Prof Wang Gungwu, chairman of the East Asian Institute and the former President of Hong Kong University. The Society was founded on 20 August 1992 in Hong kong and registered in Singapore on 29 November 1996. The objective of the Society is to propagate the spirit of the late Mr Tan Kah Kee in promoting education.

UNIQLO (SINGAPORE) PTE. LTD. was established on 20 August 2008. Opened first UNIQLO store in Singapore, UNIQLO Tampines 1 Store on Thursday, 9 April 2009.


21 August

The former St Joseph’s Church on this site (143 Victoria Street) was blessed and opened in 1853 on this site. However, the congregation continued to grow and although two wings were added in 1868, it was still too small for the growing population. In 1906, the church was demolished and a new one erected over it. The Bishop of Macau, Dom Joao Paolino de Azevedo e Castro, the impetus behind the project, laid the foundation stone on 21 August 1904, and blessed and opened the completed church on 30 June 1912. The costs of building this new church were estimated at S$85,000.

Lee Choon Guan was a Straits-born Chinese businessman and philanthropist. Together with Lim Peng Siang, Lim Boon Keng, and other Chinese merchants, Lee founded the Chinese Commercial Bank in 1912. Lee was also actively involved in public service. He donated generously to public funds, and served as a member in a number of public organisations, including the Straits Chinese British Association, the Chinese Advisory Board, and the management committee of Tan Tock Seng Hospital. On 21 August 1915, Lee, together with Lim Peng Siang, donated a battle plane (Malaya No. 6, also known as the "Choon Guan Peng Siang") in support of the British army in the First World War.

The National Museum Art Gallery was officially opened by Mr Jek Yuen Thong, then Minister for Culture on 21 August 1976. The 2440 square metres large Art Gallery was financed by a contribution of $200,000 from the government as well as a donation of $1,148,816 from the Singapore Arts Council.


22 August

On 22 August 1887 a new flashing light was used at the Horsburgh Lighthouse.

Lim Boon Keng was a pioneer Straits Chinese who actively sought to improve the status of the Chinese in Malaya through education and social activism. He held top positions in the Legislative Council and liaised actively with the Manchu government. On 22 August 1895, he was appointed Legislative Councillor. Although he was a mere 26-year old and despite opposition from the governor, public support for him was overwhelming. Especially after he gave moving public speeches rooting for the Chinese and Baba communities. He was reappointed in 1901 and again in 1915.

The government’s proposal and estimates eventually convinced the Legislative Council and on 22 August 1899, the council passed the motion authorising the Straits Government to build a 15-mile (about 24 km) railway from Singapore Town to a point on Johore Straits, located opposite the town of Johore, for the immediate purpose of carrying passengers between the two towns. It was envisioned that the railway would ultimately extend all the way to Burma. The Singapore-Johore Straits Railway, also known as the Singapore Government Railway or the Singapore-Kranji Railway, was opened  in  two  phases: the  first on 1 January 1903  and  the second on 10 April 1903.

On 22 August 1972, the Malay-asian Ship Officers' Union (MSOU) was renamed the Singapore Maritime Officers’ Union (SMOU). The new name reflected SMOU’s shift towards progress as a union of seafaring officers, and progress in the industrial relations scene. It was a shift towards co-operation rather than confrontation when negotiating with employers. A shift that builds relationships with an eventual benefit to union members and employees alike.

Sellapan Ramanathan,usually referred to as S. R. Nathan, was the sixth President of Singapore from 1999 to 2011, having been elected in uncontested elections in 1999 and 2005. In 2009, he surpassed Benjamin Sheares to become Singapore's longest-serving President. Nathan suffered a stroke on the morning of 31 July 2016 and was taken to Singapore General Hospital's Intensive Care Unit. He died in hospital on 22 August 2016 at 9:48 pm, aged 92.


23 August

The Singapore Anti-Tuberculosis Association (SATA) was registered as a limited company on 23 August 1947. Its purposes is to help Singapore fight the then rampant Tuberculosis (TB), the number one killer disease in Singapore, as well as the provision of quality and affordable healthcare services, especially to the poor and disadvantaged in the community. SATA Woodlands Clinic was officially opened by Dr Wee Kim Wee, patron of SATA, on 23 August 2001.

A Special Branch was created after World War I in 1916 by the British colonial government in Singapore to specifically deal with subversion. In 1945, after the end of World War II, the Malayan Security Service was established with Singapore as the Headquarters. On 23 August 1948, Internal Security Department's (ISD) direct forerunner was established as the Special Branch.

Bukit Timah Plaza's management corporation is facing legal action for gross negligence in allowing sewage to contaminate the building's water supply system. The filthy water has made at least 65 people fall ill since last week. The Public Utilities Board (PUB) and the Ministry of Environment (ENV) said on Thursday 23 August 2000 that their investigations showed that the management corporation had "grossly neglected its duty" to maintain the complex's water supply and internal sewage-piping systems. (ST 24 Aug 2000).


24 August

On 24 August 1966, about 500,000 students at all 529 government and aided schools held the first daily recitation of the pledge (above) of allegiance before the national flag. Since then, the pledge-taking ceremony has been observed daily during school assemblies as well as at important national events like the National Day Parade. The pledge was penned by then Minister for Foreign Affairs S. Rajaratnam just after Singapore's independence on 9 August 1965. The pledge embodies the ideals for building a united Singapore "regardless of race, language or religion". The practice of reciting the pledge with the right fist clenched to the chest was introduced on 27 June 1988 to better reflect its emotional significance.

The GIA was officially registered as General Insurance Association of Singapore on 24 August 1972 and its sibling, the Malaysian Insurance Association (MIA) later re-organised itself into the Persatuan Insuran Am Malaysia (PIAM). The two associations still enjoy close contact today. GIA now represents every kind of general insurance company -both foreign and home-grown, large and small, specialist and composite insurers.

METALLICA performed in Singapore for the first time in 20 years at Changi Exhibition Centre on 24 August 2013.


25 August

Bata Shoe Organisation opened their first shoe store in Singapore in 1931 with a retail outlet in the Capitol Building on Stamford Road. On 25 August 1931, the company was officially incorporated in Singapore. In 1939, Bata Shoe (Singapore) Private Limited opened the Bata Building on North Bridge Road next to the Capitol Building, which became a prominent landmark in that area. The building not only housed the store but also the factory and the offices. As one of the early affordable modern footwear shops in Singapore, Bata shoes became a huge success. The company began production of leather shoes in 1939. The war years saw the company suffering heavy losses with the Bata factory being completely destroyed. However, Bata resumed business on 2 January 1946 soon after the war, and since then there was no looking back. Bata became synonymous with good quality, medium-priced footwear and soon grew to be a household name.

The census of Singapore and Malaya in 1947 cost the British colonial government $1,185,000. Some 1,200 enumerators were hired to conduct the preliminary and final surveys in Singapore. As part of preparatory work, house-numbering was carried out from 1 April to 21 May 1947 where houses were marked with a census number and details of the house were noted. The preliminary census began on 25 August 1947 during which information on the occupants of a household was recorded.

A mass rally attended by more than 120,000 people was held at City Hall on 25 August 1963. Dubbed as the “blood debt” rally, it was organised by the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce (SCCC) and supported by the Singapore government. The purpose of the rally was to press the Japanese government for a compensation or “blood debt” amount of no less than M$50 million to atone for the wartime atrocities committed by its army during the Japanese Occupation of Singapore (1942–1945). The call for compensation came in March 1962 after a number of mass war graves containing the bones of massacred civilians were discovered in various parts of the island, including Siglap and its surrounding area. These massacres were linked to Operation Sook Ching (a Chinese term which means “purging through cleansing”), which was an exercise carried out by the Japanese army to eliminate anti-Japanese elements among the Chinese community in Singapore.

A Bill was passed in Parliament on 25 August 1997 to corporatise the Port of Singapore Authority (PSA). This was necessary to ensure the port remain responsive to the developments of the shipping industry and the demands of a marketplace. It would better able to seize new business opportunities and respond more effectively to future challenges.