The Hock Lee bus strike began peacefully on 23 April 1955 but escalated into a violent riot on 12 May in which four people were killed and 31 injured. During the strike, large numbers of dismissed bus workers locked themselves in the Hock Lee garages at Alexandra Road and picketed at the gates. On 10 May, the pickets rioted when they were forcibly removed by the police. On 12 May, they were joined by several lorry loads of Chinese school students and the violence that followed led to the death of two police officers, a journalist and a student. On 13 May, the government closed three Chinese schools for a week and ordered the expulsion of some of the ringleaders. On 14 May, the Hock Lee bus strike was settled by government arbitration on terms generally favourable to the strikers.



Singapore was granted partial internal self-government under the Rendel Constitution in 1955. The Legislative Assembly election held in April that year saw the formation of the Labour Front-Alliance government with David Marshall as the first chief minister of Singapore. A year later, Marshall led a 13-man all-party delegation in what became the first of three constitutional talks held in London to determine the terms of full internal self-government for Singapore. At the discussions, which commenced on 23 April 1956, the Singapore delegation put forth the requirements for the independence of Singapore by April the following year. The delegation proposed that the British retain control over foreign policy and external defence, but with Singapore holding the right to be consulted on foreign affairs and to veto on defence matters. Desiring to retain control over internal security, the British insisted on a defence council made up of an equal number of representatives from Britain and Singapore, and with a casting vote in the hands of the British high commissioner. Marshall’s proposal for the British to appoint a Malayan as chairman of the defence council and for the abolishment of the casting vote were rejected. The negotiations hit a deadlock on 15 May as both sides refused to compromise on the internal security arrangements.






When Singapore was still a part of Malaya, the government felt that it was important to promote the use of a common national language: Bahasa Melayu, so that various races could communicate with one another. The National Language Month was launched on 23 April 1965 by the Ministry of Culture to encourage more people to learn the national language in pursuit of a shared national identity. The opening ceremony, which was held at the Victoria Theatre, was graced by his Excellency, Yang di-Pertuan Negara, Yusof Ishak.