Singapore was founded by Sir Stamford Raffles who planted the English flag along the Singapore River on 2 February 1819 to set up a factory and a trading station in order to break the Dutch domination of the maritime route to and from China and the Indonesian spice islands through the Straits of Malacca and Singapore. Because it was a free port, it immediately attracted thousands of traders from China, India and the region. Five years later, by 1824, the British wanted and obtained sovereignty over Singapore in perpetuity. The rest, as they say, is history.




When Raffles returned to Sumatra in 1818, he realised that he was not truly welcomed by the Dutch colonial authorities. He carried with him the marble bust sculpted by Chantrey but transferred it to his wife, Lady Raffles, for safe-keeping. Unfortunately, it is believed that the original bust sank with the ship, the Fame, on 2 February 1824.



Khoo Seok Wan was better known in Singapore as a literary scholar and poet. In his youth, he was a strong supporter of the Reformist Movement in China and founded progressive newspapers that advocated China’s reformation. He was one of the earliest Chinese-educated men to promote education for girls in Singapore. With the inheritance from his late father, Khoo provided strong financial support to the Hundred Days’ Reform Movement launched in 1898, which was crushed by the Empress Dowager. On 2 February 1900, he invited Kang Yu-wei, one of the exiled reform leaders of the movement, to Singapore, paid for all of Kang’s expenses, and protected him during his six-month stay. Kang garnered considerable support among the China-born and China-educated Chinese, as well as the English-educated Babas. He planned another revolt that was scheduled to take place simultaneously in four provinces in central and south China on 9 August 1900, but this was eventually aborted. Like many who had donated large sums to support the abandoned revolt, Khoo was disheartened, and his relationship with Kang turned sour in 1901 due to a quarrel over the handling of a contribution made by Chinese in Australia towards the revolt. Khoo put up a notice in Thien Nan Shin Pao on 22 October 1901, announcing his support for the Chinese Qing government and his disassociation from the reformists.



Operation Coldstore was the code name for a covert security operation carried out in Singapore on 2 February 1963 which led to the arrest of over 100 people, who were detained without trial under the Preservation of Public Service Security Ordinance (PSSO). In official accounts, the operation was a security operation "aimed at crippling the Communist open front organisation," which threatened Singapore's internal security. The operation was authorised by the Internal Security Council which was composed of representatives from the British, Singapore and Malayan Federal governments.