Week 50: 09 Dec to 15 Dec

9 December

On 9 December 1959, a plaque was unveiled by the newly installed Yang di-Pertuan Negara, Yusof bin Ishak, at the site of the future National Theatre at Kallang Park. Engraved on the plaque in Malay and Chinese were the words: "This is the site for the proposed National Theatre to be built in commemoration of National Loyalty Week". Donations quickly poured into the National Theatre Fund, with contributions coming from people from all walks of life, through various donation drives, performances, and the "a-dollar-a-brick" campaign. As the majority of the fund-raising work was done by public-spirited persons and voluntary organisations and with contributions primarily from the general public, the theatre was dubbed the “People’s Theatre”. In April 1960, the government decided to move the site of the proposed National Theatre from Kallang Park to the King George V Park facing Clemenceau Avenue as the ground at the latter site was deemed firmer.

On 9 December 1983, Isetan Singapore made an investment of $20 million to open a store with a floor area of 4,767 meter square in the Parkway Parade Shopping Centre in Katong.

15 suspected militants of Jemaah Islamiah are arrested for alleged bomb plot on 9 December 2001.


10 December

The first Chinese daily in Singapore and the Nanyang was the Lat Pau (Le Bao), started on 10 December 1881 by See Ewe Lay. The Lat Pau continued for 52 years before folding in March 1932, making it the longest running pre-war Chinese daily.

The Singapore Science Centre (now known as Science Centre Singapore) situated in Jurong, at 15 Science Centre Road Singapore 609081, the centre has held many science and technology-related exhibitions and programmes since its opening on 10 December 1977. On 4 April 2008, the Urban Redevelopment Authority announced plans to relocate the Science Centre next to Chinese Garden MRT Station in ten to 15 years. During his speech at the National Day Rally 2014, the prime minister of Singapore, Lee Hsien Loong said that by 2020, the Science Centre will be relocated to the north shore of Jurong Lake, beside Chinese Garden MRT Station.

Clarke Quay Festival Village, the biggest conservation project for the Singapore River, was developed and officially opened on 10 December 1993.


11 December

18 people are killed during the Maria Hertogh riots began on 11 December 1950 after a court decided that a child who had been raised by Muslims should be returned to her biological Catholic parents. A protest by outraged Muslims escalated into a riot when images were published showing 13-year-old Maria Hertogh (or Bertha Hertogh) kneeling before a statue of the Virgin Mary.

The Straits Chinese British Association was founded on 17 August 1900 with Tan Jiak Kim as its first president. It was the forerunner to the Peranakan Association in Singapore. On 11 December 1964, the association was renamed the Singapore Chinese Peranakan Association following the formation of the Malayan Federation. Finally becoming The Peranakan Association, Singapore on 23 February 1966.

The Robinson’s Department Store building at Raffles Place (pictured) was destroyed by a fire that broke out at around 9.55 am on 21 November 1972. The fire, which was one of the worst in Singapore’s history, also caused damage to the roof of the Overseas Union Bank next door1 and forced the Stock Exchange in Clifford House at Collyer Quay to stop trading for the day.2 Nine people, eight of whom were trapped in the store’s lifts, were killed in the blaze. On 11 December 1972, a new Robinson’s Department Store was opened at Specialists’ Centre along Orchard Road.

On 11 December 2001, SMRT merged with TIBS Holdings.


12 December

British and Malay troops, with fixed bayonets, were in support of the Singapore police on 11 December 1950 night in efforts to quell the rioting which broke out in the afternoon after the appeal in the case of Maria Hertogh had been heard. The Maria Hertogh Riots sparked off what initially was a dispute involving two families into a gory racial nightmare between the Malays and the Europeans in multi-racial Singapore. The riots took place over a period of three days and saw at least 18 people killed and 173 people injured. It was sparked by the controversial custody battle between Maria's adoptive Malay family and her Eurasian parents. On 12 December 1950, Maria was flown to Holland with her parents to be reunited with her family.

Tanjong Pagar MRT Station opened on 12 December 1987.

The Shaw Group completed the redevelopment of Shaw Plaza - Twin Heights at the site of the former single screen Hoover and President Theatres at Balestier. The official opening date was 5 November 1999. The project cost more than S$250 million and is the culmination of construction work which began in 12 December 1996 with the piling starting on 26th March 1997. The new development consists of a six screen cineplex and shopping mall adjoining a luxury condominium with 21 storey apartment blocks. All 6 screens within the cineplex are equipped with SDDS, DTS, SRD and Dolby Stereo SR as well as comfortable rocking chairs. The cineplex officially opened with the premiere of 'Asterix and Obelix take on Caesar' on 3 November 1999.

Tiger Airways Singapore was incorporated on 12 December 2003 and began ticket sales on 31 August 2004. Services commenced on 15 September 2004 to Bangkok. Scheduled international services are operated from Singapore Changi Airport. The airline is a subsidiary of Tiger Airways Holdings, a Singapore-based company.


13 December

At a public meeting held in the Town Hall (at today location of Victoria Theatre and Concert Hall) on 13 December 1901, a resolution was passed to build a memorial hall for Queen Victoria, who had passed away on 22 January 1901. The Town Hall was to be incorporated into the design. This task was executed by R. A. J. Bidwell of Swan & Maclaren. The design is considered Palladian in style, a common style for 19th century British Singapore.

The Ministry of Education (MOE) was established in 1955. MOE also followed through with the white paper’s call for equal treatment of all schools regardless of their language medium. On Chew Swee Kee’s recommendation, then the first minister for education, the government enacted the Education Ordinance on 13 December 1957. The legislation, still in force today as the Education Act, laid the basis for equality in education.

The present site of the Kwong Wai Shiu Hospital, started out its life as a hospital for the British in 1850, before being taken over by the Tan Tock Seng Paupers’ Hospital in 1861 (which had started out at Outram). After the TTSH moved up to Balestier Hill, the site then passed into the hands of the Kwong Wai Shiu Hospital (KWSH), who have been operating there ever since. After the 1950s, a garden pavilion was also built for patients to relax. In 1960, the final main front block facing Serangoon Rd was completed for wards and administration after a $300,000 fund raising effort. The foundation stone for this main block was laid on 13 December 1959 by Leung Yun Chee, the founder of the Leung Kai Fook Medical Company (maker and distributor of Axe Brand Universal Oil).

On 13 December 2003, 10-year-old Megan Zheng became the first Singaporean actress to win the Taipei Film Festival Golden Horse Award for Best New Performer (co-recipient) with her role in Jack Neo's movie Homerun.

The first flight of sister airline Jetstar Asia Airways took off from its Singapore hub to Hong Kong on 13 December 2004. This marked Qantas' entry into the Asian low-cost market. Qantas has a 42.5% stake in Jetstar Asia's ownership.


14 December

On 14 December 1851 the first foundation stone of St. Joseph's Church was laid by the Vicar Father Vincente de Santa Catarina, and the building was completed in 1853 but in 1906 the Church was pulled down and the present replaced in in 1912.

On 28 February 1962, The Singapore Free Press merged with The Malay Mail – a paper that was first issued on 14 December 1896 and later bought by Straits Times Press in 1952 – and the latterbecame a national paper. The popular paper was distributed to all major towns with separate editions for Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. On 1 September 1972, with the split of Straits Times Press Group, the Malaysian operations changed its name to The New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd and took The Malay Mail with it. The Malay Mail continues to be in publication in Malaysia today.

The first Starbucks store opened on 14 December 1996 at Liat Towers, strategically located along the nation's renowned Orchard Road shopping belt. Then, Singapore was the third country outside North America to have a Starbucks Store. Liat Tower Starbucks was hit by the Orchard Road flood on 16 June 2010. The store was fully submerged under water and the store have to close for 2 months for renovation.


15 December

Tan Boon Liat, great-grandson of Tan Tock Seng, owned Golden Bell Mansion on Pender Road at the Mount Washington (previously known as) side of Mount Faber. The building's left dome resembles a Buddhist stupa. Dr. Sun Yat-sen stayed the night there on 15 December 1911 after his arrival from Europe, this will be Sun Yat Sen last visit to Singapore, as did his wife and daughters. Today this building is occupied by the Danish Seaman's Mission. Lim Nee Soon was among the local leaders who entertained Sun and his entourage.

The Immigration Automated Clearance System introduced on 15 December 1996, uses smart card technology for faster immigration clearance. Frequent traveller's fingerprint data stored in Checkpoint Access Card (CAC).

The first Ballroom Dancers Federation International (BDFI) Ballroom Dancing Cup was held at the Dynasty on the 15 December 2001. This inaugural event was a smashing success with an overwhelming response from 50 competitors and almost full support from the dance schools. This is a new milestone for ballroom dancing in Singapore.

Abercrombie & Fitch opened its first flagship store in 270 Orchard Road, Singapore on 15 December 2011 at 10am. Singapore is A&F’s fifth flagship store opening this year after Paris in May, Madrid in November, Dusseldorf on 1 December and Brussels on 8 December.