Week 39: 23 Sep to 29 Sep

23 September

The old minute Look of the Armenian Church shows that on 8 January 1825, a meeting was held and a letter was written to one of the Archbishops in Persia asking that a priest might be sent to Singapore. The letter was signed by Johannes Simeon, Carapiet Phanos, Gregory and Isaiah Zechariah, Mackertich M. Moses, and Paul Stephens. On 23 June 1826, there was further correspondence with the Archbishop. On 23 September 1827, there was a meeting to decide about a place to hold the services when the priest should arrive; and subscriptions were collected.

During the Japanese Occupation, the Cathay cinema was renamed Dai Toa Gekijo (Greater East Asian Theatre) and the building housed the Japanese Broadcasting and Military Propaganda departments and the Military Information Bureau. In the post-war period it served as Admiral Lord Louis Mountbatten’s headquarters. Cathay was the first cinema to reopen after the war with the screening of The Tunisian Victory (1944) on 23 September 1945. The building was ‘returned’ to its Cathay owners in November 1946.

The Legal Profession (Amendment) Bill was introduced in parliament on 25 August 1986 to tighten up the way the Law Society regulates the legal profession. The bill proposed to amend the Legal Profession Act in two areas. First, the bill required any legal practitioner who was suspended from practice for six months or more, or convicted of fraud or dishonesty, to be barred from holding office as a member of the council of the Law Society. Second, the bill sought to amend the legal profession’s disciplinary processes by introducing non-lawyers in the Law Society’s disciplinary committee so as to ensure impartiality in the review process. More than 400 lawyers, including the entire council of the Law Society, however, were unhappy with the proposed law. On 23 September 1986, the lawyers passed a motion in an extraordinary general meeting held by the Law Society to reject the bill.


24 September

The first post-war Census of Singapore took place on 24 September 1947. The census showed that 56 percent of the population was born in Singapore and that there were 1,217 males for every 1,000 females.

Katong Park is one of the oldest parks in Singapore. Built in the 1930s' Katong Park with its sea frontage was a favourite with families for Sunday picnics. Many learnt to swim in the sea here. A pagar (fence) was built to create a safer swimming bay. The park lost its sea frontage in 1966 due to land reclamation. On 24 September 1953, a bomb exploded here. It marked the beginning of Kronfrontasi (Confrontation) when Indonesia, led by Sukarno, opposed the formation of Malaysia which, until 1965, included Singapore. The explosion broke the windows of then Ambassador Hotel across the road. Within two weeks, two more bombs went off here. There were no casualties in all three incidents.

Toa Payoh Swimming Complex opened to the public on 24 September 1973, it is used extensively for elite training such as water polo, synchronized swimming, swimming and diving. Various swimming lessons are conducted there as well.

On 24 September 1975, after 150 years of British naval presence in Singapore, the last British warship, HMS Mermaid, left the Sembawang Naval Basin.

A new national movement which aims to prepare the public in the event of a terrorist attach was officially launched on Saturday, 24 September 2016 by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.


25 September

In June 1956, Lim Yew Hock succeeded David Marshall as the chief minister of Singapore. In a bid to check the growing influence of the Communist Party of Malaya in Singapore, Lim initiated a series of arrests and banning of pro-communist groups between September and November 1956. He ordered the deregistration of the Singapore Chinese Middle Schools Students’ Union (SCMSSU) on 24 September 1956, which then Minister for Education Chew Swee Kee had declared as “nothing less than a Communist front organisation”. About 5,000 Chinese middle school students responded immediately by taking over control of their schools on 25 September 1956 and threatening a sit-in until the SCMSSU was reinstated.

The idea of forming an organisation to reach out to and help diabetes patients began stirring in the mind of Dr Frederick Tan Bock Yam more than 40 years ago. His interest in diabetes developed when he had to treat diabetic patients at The Singapore General Hospital, where he was attached to after graduation. In those days, patients had poor knowledge of their condition or how to treat their diabetes. Dr Tan’s postgraduate studies in the United Kingdom led him to the work with two eminent endocrinologists - the late Professor Sir Derrick Dunlop the Royal Infirmary, Edinburgh, Scotland and the late Professor Sir Russell Fraser at the Hammersmith Postgraduate School of Medicine, London, England. It was during this time that he learned about the programmes of the British Diabetic Association, which further sparked his interest in diabetes. He was also inspired by his great-grandfather, the late philantrhopist Tan Tock Seng (pictured), founder of Tan Tock Seng Hospital, to do something for the sick. After several years of planning, the non-profit organisation was finally registered as the Diabetic Society of Singapore (DSS) on 25 September 1971.

Bishan Home was declared open by then Deputy Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on 25 September 1999 and started operations the following month. The Home is a joint effort between the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports (MCYS) and the Bible-Presbyterian Welfare Services with MCYS.


26 September

The change in the Singapore Chronicle paper's fortunes came in September 1835, when the newspaper was sold to Singapore merchant Walter Scott Lorrain. The first issue to bear his imprint was dated 26 September 1835, but he was only a nominee. A month later ownership of the paper was transferred to a Scottish merchant James Fairlie Carnegie from Penang, who had ideas of news distribution throughout the Straits Settlements. But the Penang takeover provoked and spurred a group in Singapore to set up a rival newspaper, The Singapore Free Press and Mercantile Advertiser, which first appeared in October 1835. To compete, the Chronicle halved its price and advertising rates. But in spite of this the business failed. The last issue of the paper was dated Saturday, 30 September 1837.

During the Japanese occupation, Elizabeth Choy and her husband (picture) ran a hospital canteen where prisoners-of-war (POWs) bought food. On 26 September 1943, the Allies conducted a secret raid, code-name Operation Jaywick, at the Singapore harbour. Seven Japanese ships were sunk or severely damaged. In response, the Kempeitai raided Changi Prison and other places across Singapore, and arrested people whom they thought had supplied information to the Allies. Elizabeth Choy and her husband were arrested on suspicion of smuggling radio parts to POWs. At the Kempeitai headquarters, Choy was held with other prisoners in a small cell, which measured only about 10 by 12 feet. She was interrogated and tortured, but refused to confess to crimes that she did not commit. She was finally released after 200 days, the longest time that a female civilian was known to have been held in captivity and tortured.

The building of the Benjamin Sheares Bridge began in 1977 at a cost of S$177 million, and was completed on 26 September 1981. It is 1,855 m in 23 spans, making it the longest bridge in Singapore. The bridge is one of modern Singapore's most spectacular and much photographed landmarks. It is also the most magnificent of the expressway bridges, climbing from street level, then soaring over asphalt and water, so high that full-sized ships can pass beneath in its shadows.


27 September

Governer William J. Butterworth, officials and invited guests witnessed the first illumination of the Horsburgh Lighthouse lantern on 27 September 1851.

Freemason Hall Singapore - A land grant made on 27 September 1878 for space in Coleman Street was issued in favour of R. W. Bro. William Henry Macleod Read, District Grand Master, and his successors in office for the use of Masons under the United Grand Lodge of Antient, Free and Accepted Masons of England. There was an express condition that a building to be used as a Lodge should be erected within two years of the issue of the grant.

On 27 September 1943, a daring commando raid, code-named Operation Jaywick, led by Captain Lyon resulted in the blowing up of 6 Japanese oil tankers in the Singapore Harbour. The Japanese authorities received information from the Johore Branch of the Kempeitai that foreign internees in Changi Gaol had transmitted news to the raiding party. Lieutenant Colonel (then Major) Sumida Haruzo, Chief of the Kempeitai received orders to investigate the Changi camp and arrest persons suspected of sabotage. (Source: http://infopedia.nl.sg/articles/SIP_111_2005-01-06.html)

In the 1950s strikes and other forms of labour unrest were common. 1955 was a particularly bad year with 57 cases of labour unrest involving bus workers including the infamous Hock Lee Bus Strike. Another bus strike the Great Singapore Traction Co. Strike also commenced that year on 27 September 1955. It lasted 142 days into the following year making it till then the longest strike in post-war Singapore. For about a month, workers in other public bus companies also joined in, resulting in the public bus transport system here being paralysed. (Source: http://infopedia.nl.sg/

The Army Museum of Singapore, $8.8 million three-storey museum, official opening ceremony was on the 27 September 2007.


28 September

In September 1904, businessman and philanthropist Tan Jiak Kim petitioned the government for the establishment of a medical school. The government agreed to the petition on the condition that the Chinese community raised a minimum of $71,000 to fund the school. The Chinese and non-European communities responded with enthusiasm, raising over $87,000 for the school, of which Tan contributed $12,000. The Straits and Federated Malay States Government Medical School was subsequently officially opened on 28 September 1905 by Governor Sir John Anderson in the buildings of the former Female Lunatic Asylum at Sepoy Lines.

Bukit Batok CC located at 21 Bukit Batok Central, Singapore (659959), was completed on 28 September 1992. The date of official opening was on 29 May 1993 by Mr Goh Chok Tong - Prime Minister.

Singapore hosted the inaugural 2008 Formula One (F1) SingTel Singapore Grand Prix night race at Marina Bay on 28 September 2008, practice & qualifying session on 26 and 27 September. It was the first race to be held at night and the first street race in Asia. The race began at 2000 hrs at the newly built Marina Bay Street Circuit in Marina Bay, using exisiting street roads to form the circuit. The race, which was contested over 61 laps, was won by Fernando Alonso for the Renault team from 15th on the grid. The Singapore GP marked the return of motor racing to the Republic after a 35-year absence. Prior to this, Singapore had been part of the racing calendar for 12 years from 1961 to 1973 at the Thomson Road circuit. The earlier Singapore GP was discontinued due to various reasons, one of which was safety. The Anderson Bridge was completed in 1910, and was named after the Governor of the Straits Settlements and High Commissioner for the Federated Malay States (1904–1911), Sir John Anderson, who officially opened the bridge on 12 March 1910. This bridge (picture) formed part of the Singapore Grand Prix's Marina Bay Street Circuit.


29 September

St Gabriel's Primary is a government-aided Catholic school run by the Brothers of St Gabriel. St Gabriel's School opened its doors on 3 June 1953 to its first intake of 212 pupils who attended classes ranging from Primary One to Standard Two under the supervision of Rev Bro Louis Gonzaga and seven pioneer teachers. The school was then located at the junction of Hillside Drive and Upper Serangoon Road. When the enrolment of the school rose to over two thousand pupils in the 1960s, it became necessary to provide more space and facilities for the pupils. A project to build a separate primary school was launched. On 2 January 1969, the whole of the primary section of St Gabriel's School comprising 31 classes with an enrolment of 1350 pupils moved into the new building at the junction of Highland Road and Yio Chu Kang Road. On 2 January 1988, the 31 classes of 1350 pupils of the school moved to its present premises in Lorong Chuan. The official opening celebration of the school was held on 29 September 1989.

Singapore's first liver transplant was successfully performed on Surinder Kaur, a 25-year-old female production worker, on 29 September 1990, by a team of doctors from the National University Hospital. The team of four surgeons and two anaesthetists was led by Susan Lim (Dr), who was the second woman doctor in the world to perform a liver transplant.

Express 521 bus was introduced on 1 September 1999 plying between Bukit Panjang and World Trade Center (now HarbourFront). On 29 September 2002 it downgraded to trunk service and renumbered Service 963, route extended to Woodlands Interchange - HarbourFront Interchange.