Week 44: 28 Oct to 03 Nov

28 October

The Straits Times, 28 October 1984, on Page 1 has an article on "Press merger approved by over 99 per cent of shareholders". The first two paragraphs metioned that Shareholders of Singapore's two main newspaper groups yesterday voted overwhelmingly to support the merger of The Times Organisation and the Singapore News and Publications Ltd (SNPL). More than 99 per cent of the votes cast were in favour of the merger, which will result in the largest industrial concern on the stock exchange, Singpoare Press Holdings.

Named after the prominent Chinese nationalist, Sun Yat Sen, this former Sun Yat Sen Villa became a focal point of anti-Manchu activities outside of China. Sun Yat Sen stayed at the villa on three occasions. It is now known as the Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall, located at 12 Tai Gin Road, Singapore 327874. This villa is gazetted as a monument of 28 October 1994.

The Singapore Light Weight Howitzer (SLWH) Pegasus is a helicopter-transportable, towed artillery piece. Developed jointly by the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF), Defence Science and Technology Agency (DSTA) and ST Kinetics, it was commissioned on 28 October 2005. The Pegasus has replaced the GIAT LG1 105 mm howitzer previously in service with the Singapore Artillery.


29 October

12 July 1963: A large number of detainees at the prison on Pulau Senang started a riot and killed prison officer Daniel Stanley Dutton and three of his assistants. After a five-month-long trial, 18 men were convicted of murder and hanged in Changi Prison on 29 October 1965. Another 29 men were also found guilty of rioting.

The Barisan Sosialis, a now defunct political party, was formed in 1961 by left-wing members of the People's Action Party (PAP), who had been expelled from the Party. It became the main opposition party in self-governing Singapore. In October 1966, the Barison rallied a demonstration, but only Chia Thye Poh and 30 supporters turned up outside the Parliament. On 21 and 22 October, violence broke out at the "Aid Vietnam against U.S." show at Gay World Stadium and the police had to open fire to control the violent mob, which was hurling bottles, acid, stones and chairs at them. After the incident, the Barisan openly expressed support for the Gay World event.  On 29 October 1966, 22 people were arrested under the Internal Security Act for engaging in communist activities. The detainees were eventually released except Chia Thye Poh who refused to sign any document to renounce violence and sever ties with the Communist Party of Malaya.

The withdrawal of the British Far East Command from Singapore and Malaysia was commemorated by a massive parade held on 29 October 1971 featuring the military vanguard of the British army, followed by a spectacular sea parade by the navy of the Far East Command on 31 October two days later. The parades essentially marked the end of more than a century of British military presence in the region.

A major research center Biopolis opened on 29 October 2003.

BreadTalk opens its first food court at Wisma Atria, called the Food Republic on 29 October 2005.


30 October

The Singapore Buddhist Lodge was officially set up on 30 June 1934 but had a fixed address only in September 1934 when Lee Choon Seng donated a double storey house at 26 Blair Road for its use. He also contributed an additional S$1,000 for furniture and other expenses, a considerable sum at that time. At the point of setting up, the Lodge had only a small membership of over hundred but most of the members were from the Chinese social elite. On 31 July 1949, Lee invited representatives from all Chinese temples to the Singapore Buddhist Lodge to discuss the formation of an umbrella organisation. On 30 October 1949, the Singapore Buddhist Federation was officially registered with 5 guiding principles as follow: (i) To promote world peace; (ii) To promote the Dharma; (iii) To expand Buddhist education; (iv) To carry welfare services; (v) To raise the quality of the Sangha members.

Mr Edmund William Barker was the Minister for Home Affairs starting on 16 September 1972 and end of term was on 30 October 1972. Barker practised law in Singapore from 1952 to 1964 at the law firms Braddell Brothers and Lee & Lee. He was persuaded to enter politics in 1963 by Lee Kuan Yew. E.W. Barker is best remembered for being independent Singapore's first law minister. One of the many roles Barker held included being the first President of the Singapore National Olympic Council (1970-1990).

Singapore’s another encounter with plane hijacking was on 30 October 1977, involving a Vietnam Airline aircraft, which was on a domestic flight from Ho Chi Minh City to Phuquoc Island. The pilot of the aircraft was forced to land in Singapore after a refuelling stopover at U-Tapao Airbase, 130 km southeast of Bangkok, Thailand. The aircraft eventually landed at Seletar Airport, where the hijackers surrendered to the Singapore authorities after negotiation.


31 October

The Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation (OCBC) was incorporated on 31 October 1932 through the merger of three Hokkien banks – the Chinese Commercial Bank Ltd. (established in 1912), Ho Hong Bank Ltd. (1917) and Oversea-Chinese Bank Ltd. (1919) – during the Great Depression.

The Singapore Insurance Employees’ Union was registered on 31 October 1955. In the early years, the Union was primarily engaged in solving bread and butter issues. Though Industrial Relations is still the mainstay of the Union, the present challenge is for SIEU to remain relevant to the changing needs and aspirations of its membership. This task calls for our Union leaders to have innovative ideas; commitment and dedication to workers welfare; and position for a progressive, strong and caring Union.

On 31 October 1971, the British Far East Command handed over the responsibility of the air defence of Singapore to the Singapore Air Defence Command (SADC). To help ensure continued security, the Five Power Defence Arrangements was established, enabling Singapore and Malaysia to retain some form of security cooperation with the UK, Australia and New Zealand. The five member countries would hold consultation to determine the joint or separate measures required to respond to any external aggression or threat against Malaysia or Singapore.

Plate final of the Standard Chartered Asian Rugby Championships on 31 October 1998 at the National Stadium - Singapore won its first international rugby union trophy.


1 November

Grand Cinematograph was the first cinema at Beach Road, opened on 31 August 1907. At that time a cinema was known as a cinematograph. On 12 October 1907 "The Grand Cinematograph" changed to "Alhambra Grand Cinematograph", and on 1 November 1907, "The Alhambra" completely replaced "Grand Cinematograph".

Registration for Singapore citizenship opened for the first time on 1 November 1957, and MPD Nair, who was Assistant Minister to the Chief Secretary at that time, became the first citizen of Singapore among the 1,300 who turned up at the Citizen Registration Centre at Fort Canning.

The National Youth Council (NYC), a division of the People's Association, was set up by the Singapore Government on 1 November 1989 as the national co-ordinating body for youth affairs in Singapore. It supports the development of youth and youth organisations through awards, grants, national and international programmes, research and publications, and various other support activities.

The New Singapore Shares is a scheme announced by Goh Chok Tong, the then Prime Minister of Singapore, during the National Day Rally 2001 on 19 August 2001. It is part of a new social compact the government is trying to forge with Singaporeans. Under the scheme, New Singapore Shares, worth S$1 each, were given to qualifying Singaporeans from 1 November 2001. These shares will earn annual tax-free dividends in the form of bonus shares at a guaranteed minimum of three per cent a year for five years starting from 1 March 2002. Bonus dividends will be declared annually in the form of bonus shares equal to the real GDP growth rate of the preceding year, provided it is a positive growth. These shares are neither transferable nor tradable. Singaporeans may cash in up to half their shares in the first 12 months before 1 November 2002. Thereafter, they can cash in their shares anytime without limits. The government will redeem all outstanding shares at S$1 each on 1 March 2007.

The Marina Barrage is a dam in Singapore built at the confluence of five rivers, across the Marina Channel between Marina East and Marina South. It was officially opened on 1 November 2008. It was Singapore's fifteenth reservoir. It provides water storage, flood control and recreation.


2 November

In January 1977, the then Ministry of Culture launched the inaugural National Poetry Writing Competition, which received additional sponsorship from Singapore Airlines and MPH Private Limited. Participants in the National Poetry Writing Competition could submit original poetry in any of Singapore’s four official languages. The competition received a total of 1,827 entries from 905 participants. The awards ceremony was held on 2 November 1977, with prizes presented by then Parliamentary Secretary (Culture) Ow Chin Hock.

On 2 November 1996, then Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defence, Dr Tony Tan, officiated at the opening ceremony of the MINDEF IT EXPO 96 at the Expo Gateway, World Trade Centre. With "Greater convenience to our NSmen" as the theme, the exposition traces the national service cycle, from enlistment, unit training and Operationally-ready period and how MINDEF uses information technology to bring greater convenience and efficiency to servicemen.

Fantasy Island was a water based theme park in Sentosa. Opened in 1994 at a cost of S$54 million, it had numerous water slides and other features. A very popular park at the time of its opening, it was plagued by several accidents, including two fatalities, and this eventually led to the closure of the attraction on 2 November 2002.


3 November

On 3 November 1957, David Marshall founded The Workers' Party. 2011 marks the Party's first breakthrough in winning a GRC.

Bata Shoe Organisation opened their first shoe store in Singapore in 1931 with a retail outlet in the Capitol Building on Stamford Road. 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. As one of the early affordable modern footwear shops in Singapore, Bata shoes became a huge success.The main Bata store at Bata Building was renovated, and when the store re-opened on 3 November 1966, the modern outlet was the only store in Singapore with an escalator for customers between the two shopping floors. In 1979, the Bata Building had to be demolished to pave way for the construction of the Peninsula Plaza Shopping and Office Complex. However, Bata continues to occupy a portion of the Peninsula Plaza Shopping Complex. The escalator feature too is still present in this shop.

The Sentosa Causeway links Sentosa Island with mainland Singapore. A groundbreaking ceremony was held on 3 November 1990 to mark the official start of the causeway's construction. The Keppel-Brani link was completed about a year later and officially opened on 24 November 1991. It became the second causeway out of Singapore and the first land link to be constructed between Singapore and an offshore island. A year later, on 15 December 1992, the Sentosa Causeway or Keppel-Sentosa bridge link was completed and officially opened by then Senior Minister of State (Trade and Industry), Lim Boon Heng.

Read Bridge opened in 1889 on the site of the old Merchant Bridge, which had given Merchant Road its name. On 3 November 2008, Read Bridge, named after prominent Scottish businessman and public figure William Henry McLeod Read, was selected for conservation as part of the Urban Redevelopment Authority's expanded conservation programme.