Week 52: 23 Dec to 29 Dec

23 December

Lieutenant-General Sir Henry Pownall, who arrived in Singapore on 23 December 1941 as the incoming Commander-in-Chief Far East, felt that Percival did not make a good field commander. But both men missed the point that it was the poor British training systems that contributed to the dearth of talent in high command and manifested itself in the rapid turnover of wartime brigade and divisional commanders in Malaya.

Madam Kwa Geok Choo, the wife of Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew and mother of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, the two married secretly on 23 December 1947. She had just turned 27, and he was 24. When they returned to Singapore in 1950, they tied the knot again, this time with their parents' full knowledge. At Raffles Institution, she caught the attention of a young Lee Kuan Yew when she gave him unexpectedly stiff competition for a Queen's Scholarship. Their relationship grew through the years of Japanese Occupation, and by September 1944, love had blossomed.

The General Election was held on 23 December 1980. Almost half the number of seats were uncontested in this GE and PAP was one seat away to forming the government on nomination day. People's Action Party was returned to power, winning all 75 seats with 75.55 percent of the vote. The issues of concern to PAP were continuity and consolidation, whereas the opposition parties were concerned over democracy, or rather, having an opposition in the Parliament, rights to minority and care for the poor.

The Singapore Flyer is a giant Ferris wheel in Singapore. Described by its operators as an observation wheel, it opened in 2008. On 23 December 2008, the wheel stopped and trapped 173 passengers for about six hours. The breakdown was caused by a short circuit and fire in the Flyer's wheel control room, which cut off the air-conditioning in the wheel. Eleven passengers were evacuated via a sling-like device from a few of the capsules, and those stranded were given food and drink. The wheel restarted nearly seven hours after it had stopped and two people were hospitalized. The Flyer was closed indefinitely and an investigation into the cause of the malfunction was launched. The wheel re-opened on 26 January 2009 after the Singapore Police received the final safety certification report from the Conformity Assessment Board.


24 December

The first mayor of Singapore, Mr. Ong Eng Guan, was sworn in at City Hall on 24 December 1957. Mr. Ong is a trained accountant, founding member and treasurer of the People's Action Party (PAP).

On 24 December 1966, People's Park Market was destroyed by fire.

Officially opened on 24 December 1987 by the late President Ong Teng Cheong, then the Second Deputy Prime Minister, Singapore's first satellite self-dialysis centre is located in the Toa Payoh housing estate. Called the Singapore Airlines - NKF Dialysis Centre, it was the first centre to open under the National Kidney Foundation's (NKF) major initiative to bring affordable dialysis centres to the doorstep of kidney patients, either near their homes or workplace. Singapore Airlines (SIA) was the first corporate organisation to sponsor such a centre.


25 December

On 25 December 1941 a lone Japanese aircraft drops propaganda pamphlets on Singapore island.

In 1957 a group of students from Madrasah Raudatil Atfal and students of the late Ustaz Abdul Rahman Harun, Ustaz Rijal Abdullah and Ustaz Amir Esa had organized an Eid Adha Hari Raya Gathering. In that gathering the students had unanimously agreed to strengthen their group and officially established a Sunnah/Salafi movement in Singapore. Pursuant to that meeting, the name MUHAMMADIYAH was chosen and submitted to the Registrar of Societies. In that meeting a protem Committee of 13 members were also chosen and were tasked to draft its constitution. The Protem Committee later called for a General Meeting on 25 December 1957 to officiate its formation. This is a brief history of Muhammadiyah Association.


26 December

Jalan Besar Stadium is a well-known Singapore landmark located at Tyrwhitt Road in the Kallang area. Officially opened on 26 December 1929, the stadium is considered the birthplace of football in Singapore. The stadium hosted the popular Malayan Cup football tournament from the 1930s to the 1960s, followed by its successor the Malaysian Cup from the 1960s to the 1970s. The original facility was redeveloped as part of the Jalan Besar Sports and Recreation Centre that opened in 2003.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) is Singapore’s de facto central bank and regulator of the financial sector. The Monetary Authority of Singapore Bill was then passed. On 22 October 1970, the Bill became an Act of Parliament after President Yusof bin Ishak assented to it. On 26 December 1970, the Monetary Authority of Singapore Act went into force and the MAS commenced operations on 1 January 1971.

Inuka (Inuit for "Silent Stalker"), was born on 26 December 1990 in the Singapore Zoo, is a polar bear and one of the mascots of the Singapore Zoo. This is the first polar bear to be born in the tropics.


27 December

At a farewell dinner with the principal merchants and British inhabitants of the settlement on 27 December 1823, William Farquhar was presented with a plate valued at 3,000 sicca rupees as a farewell gift. Shortly after, he departed from Singapore for Malacca, Penang and Calcutta en route to England. In his Hikayat Abdullah, Munshi Abdullah bin Abdul Kadir attested to Farquhar's popularity with the Asian and European communities with his account of Farquhar's departure from Singapore at the end of December 1823. The event was confirmed by a report in a Calcutta newspaper that described how, on the day of his departure, Farquhar was accompanied to the beach by most of the European inhabitants of the settlement as well as by a large following of Asians. As a compliment to him, the troops formed a guard-of-honour from his house to the departure point, and he embarked with the customary salute to his rank. Many Asian boats accompanied him to his ship, the Alexander, and as they sailed, some of the Siamese vessels fired salutes to him.

Typhoon Vamei, a rare typhoon that occurs only once in 100 to 400 years, hits Singapore on 27 December 2001.

Downtown Line 2 (DTL2) starts from 27 December 2015 (Sunday): Bukit Panjang – Cashew – Hillview – Beauty World – King Albert Park – Sixth Avenue – Tan Kah Kee – Botanic Gardens – Stevens – Newton – Little India – Rochor.


28 December

The Singapore Baptist Convention was established on 28 December 1974.

The Bukit Merah Public Library was officially opened on 28 December 1982 by then Mr Lim Chee Onn, Member of Parliament and Minister Without Portfolio. Bukit Merah Public Library was closed for eight months from 28 June 2004 for major upgrading. It reopened its doors to the public on 25 February 2005. Then Senior Parliamentary Secretary, MINDEF & Ministry of Environment and Water Resources and MP, Tanjong Pagar GRC, Associate Professor Koo Tsai Kee, officiated the reopening ceremony.

On 28 December 2006, FairPrice opened its largest branch in Singapore, the 7,150-square metre (77,000 square feet) FairPrice Xtra hypermarket, at Ang Mo Kio Hub. The new S$12 million outlet offers a wider range of goods than the typical FairPrice supermarket, and includes new lines like electronic products and fashion wear.


29 December

The Upper Serangoon Branch Library (Part-time) was opened on 29 December 1953. This library was located at the Social Welfare Centre in Lim Ah Pin Road and it became the first of several branch libraries to be opened in Social Welfare Centres. The Colonial Secretary, W.A.C. Goode and Mrs Goode visited the Branch on this occasion. It provided library services to residents staying in the Upper Serangoon area until June 1960. Part- time branch libraries were started by the National Library in order to provide library services to the public in social welfare and community centres.

Institute of Public Relations of Singapore (IPRS) was officially registered as a non-profit organization on 29 December 1970 on the premise of bringing Singapore’s public relations industry to greater professional height.

Changi Airport replaced Paya Lebar Airport as Singapore’s new international airport on 1 July 1981. It was declared officially opened by then Minister for Defence Howe Yoon Chong on 29 December 1981.

The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) is a framework international agreement for the conservation of biodiversity, the sustainable use of its components and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits from the use of genetic resources. The CBD entered into force on 29 December 1993. Singapore signed the CBD on 12 June 1993 and subsequently became a Party on 21 December 1995. NParks is Singapore’s national focal point for the CBD.

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) opened the new Marina Coastal Expressway (MCE) from 9am on Sunday, 29 December 2013. It had its opening ceremony on 28 December 2013 by Senior Minister of State Mrs Josephine Teo, together with Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong. The 5km-long MCE, Singapore’s tenth expressway, will connect the Kallang-Paya Lebar Expressway (KPE) and the East Coast Parkway (ECP) in the east to the Ayer Rajah Expressway (AYE) in the west. 3.6km of MCE is built as a tunnel, including a 420m section underneath the sea bed, Singapore’s first undersea road.