Exhibition

Section 2
Defence and International Security

Section 3
Linking Bridges and Strengthening Ties

Section 4
Building on the Economic Miracle

Section 5
A Healthy Nation, A Thriving Land

Section 6
Housing a Nation: Changing Times, Changin Needs

Section 7
Sports and Culture: The Finer Things in Life

Section 8
Education for All on Different Paths

Section 9
The Next Decade

 
 

Sports and Culture: The Finer Things in Life

 
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7.1 Sports for all
7.2 Culture for Everyone
7.3 Sports and Cultural venues of the decade.
7.4 The People’s Association…Bringing Sports and Culture to the People
7.5 Keeping Active in the Golden Years

 

Sports for all

The Singapore Sports Council (SSC)  implemented the Master Plan on Sports Facilities in 1976. The master plan provided for the construction of 6 indoor multi-purpose stadiums, 3 football  fields, 7 swimming pools, 70 tennis courts, 3 athletic stadiums and 30 squash courts. Sports facilities built by the HDB as part of the recreational facilities for the New Towns also formed part of the master plan. Singaporeans were able to enjoy facilities at the various sports complexes provided under the Master Plan.


Source: Singapore Sports Council. The First Ten Years, 1983
The Buona Vista Swimming Complex in Holland Drive was opened to the public in September 1976. The Complex is equipped with the latest bi-flow filter system where pool water is continually filtered and drained off from the pool surface and the floor of the pool.

Source: Singapore Sports Council. The First Ten Years, 1983
Badminton courts at the Delta multi-purpose Indoor Hall,  part of the Delta Sports Complex. The complex opened to the public in September 1979.

Source: Designed for Living, 1985
Bukit Merah Swimming Complex opened to the public in August 1982. It covers an area of 21,000 sq metres and serves residents of Bukit Merah, Henderson and Telok Blangah constituencies.

Source: Singapore Sports Council Annual Report 83/84, courtesy of NAS
Clementi Swimming Complex opened in August 1983.

Under this plan, fitness parks with exercise stations were introduced in different parts of the island. The first fitness  park was opened by Senior Minister of State for National Development Dr Tan Eng Liang, at the MacRitchie Reservoir Park in Jan 1977.


Source: MOC (now MICA), courtesy of NAS

Source: Singapore Sports Council. The First Ten Years, 1983

To continue the Government’s “Sports for All” policy, Constituency Sports Clubs were set up to promote a wide variety of games, such as badminton, basketball, football, netball, sepak takraw, table-tennis and volleyball to be played at inter-constituency levels.


Source: NAS
To spur Singaporeans to stay active through sports and to promote interest in the game at grassroots level, inter-constituency football matches were often held. Here, the team from Radin Mas, finalists of the 1979 Prime Minister’s Cup, received their trophy from PM Lee at the National Stadium. They played against the team from Sembawang.

Source: Singapore Sports Council. The First Ten Years,1983
Making friends and keeping fit through inter-constituency games.

Source: Singapore 1983, courtesy of NAS
The first Singapore International Marathon (42.2 kilometres) was held in December 1982, and attracted 15,000 runners and casual joggers,  including 21 invited marathoners from 12 nations. It was jointly organised by the SSC, the Jogging Association of Singapore, the Singapore Amateur Athletic Association and the Singapore Tourist Promotion Board. Raymond Crabb of England won in the men’s category in a time of 2:24.19 and Winnie Lai-chu Ng from Hong Kong was the winner in the women’s category in a time of 2:55.11.

Source: Singapore Sports Council. The First Ten Years, 1983

A coaching session for hockey coaches under the SSC Coaching Plan which was implemented in 1976 to standardise to an accepted level the training of coaches of all sports in Singapore.


Housewives were also encouraged to keep fit and stay healthy with rhythmic  exercise classes conducted in HDB housing estates.



Source: Singapore Sports Council. The First Ten Years, 1983

Source: Singapore Sports Council Annual Report 84/85, courtesy of NAS

The SSC introduced more awards and sponsorships to recognise achievements in the sporting field: Esso Sports Scholar Awards (1975), Sportsboy/Sportsgirl Awards (1977), the Sports Aid Fund and the Sports Scholarship Scheme (both in 1982), and the Special Training Assistance Programme (1983). The National Aerobic Fitness Award (NAFA) Scheme was introduced in 1976 to promote aerobic fitness among Singaporeans.


Source: Singapore Sports Council. The First Ten Years, 1983
Ang Peng Siong swam competitively from 1977 to 1993. At the US Swimming Championships in 1982, Peng Siong  won the 50m freestyle in a record time of 22.69 seconds and was named the “World’s Fastest Swimmer” by Swimming World Magazine. In the same year, he again brought glory to Singapore by winning the gold medal for the 100m freestyle at the 9th Asian Games in New Delhi.  The national records that he held for the 50m and 100m freestyle and 100m butterfly has remained unbroken since the 1980s.   For three consecutive years from 1982 to 1984, he was the Singapore National Olympic Council’s “Sportsman of the Year”.

Source: Singapore Sports Council. The First Ten Years, 1983
Boys training under the Milo Football Training Scheme.

Source: MOC (now MICA), courtesy of NAS
Swimmers Khoo Teng Cheong and Junie Sng were awarded the Sportsboy and Sportsgirl of the year respectively for  their performances  in 1978. These awards gave recognition to the youths for their outstanding sports achievements and served to inspire other youths to strive for higher levels of performance.

Source: Singapore Sports Council. The First Ten Years, 1983
In 1982, the National Physical Fitness Award (NAPFA) Scheme was started to promote other components of physical fitness such as clockwise from top left: 2.4 km run/walk, 30 seconds pull-up for men; inclined pull-up for women; sit-ups; standing broad jump; sit and reach forward; 4x10-metre shuttle run. The NAPFA tests were then  adopted by organisations such as schools and the Singapore Police Force.

As more swimming pools and lagoons were built, the National Survival Swimming Award Scheme was introduced in 1978 to  raise proficiency in water survival skills. The first mass swim held at Toa Payoh Swimming Complex that year attracted  3,561 participants.


Source: Singapore Sports Council. The First Ten Years, 1983
 
 

 Culture for Everyone

“The ensuring cultural excellence will not only enhance the graciousness of our life-style but also help to strengthen the moral fabric of our society, since moral and ethical values are embedded in the traditional art forms.”

Extract of speech by Acting Minister for Culture Ong Teng Cheong, at the opening of the second Festival of Arts, 11 Dec 1978.

By the second decade, artistic and cultural development were seen not only as an essential ingredient of nation building, but also to counter an increasingly materialistic society brought on by affluence as a result of  Singapore’s rapid  economic development. The values and lifestyles associated with the West included the keeping of long hair, drugs, hippism, and these were believed to be spread through rock music, foreign films and television programmes.

To counter this, the Government encouraged Singaporeans to compose songs with a local flavour through competitions written by Singaporeans in the hope that “these songs will help develop our national identity and instil a sense of patriotism in our young people”, as Minister for Culture Jek Yeun Thong told Parliament on 16 Mar 1977.


Source: MOC (now MICA), courtesy of NAS.

Minister of State for Culture Lee Khoon Choy, at an art exhibition organised by the Singapore Art Society & Southeast Asia Art Association at the Chinese Chamber of Commerce, 1975.  The exhibition of art work by local artists is one example of  encouraging a mode of artistic expression that is uniquely Singaporean. 


Source: MOC (now MICA), courtesy of NAS

Minister for Labour Ong Pang Boon presented prizes to winners of a children’s art competition at the opening of the "Art for Everyone" exhibition at Telok Ayer community centre in 1976. 


Source: Singapore Press Holdings, courtesy of NAS
The Singapore Symphony Orchestra (SSO), the  brainchild of DPM Dr Goh Keng Swee, was formed in 1979 under the baton of Singaporean conductor, Choo Hoey. With its formation, Singapore came a step closer to shedding its image as a ‘cultural desert’. The  41-strong orchestra held its inaugural concert at the Singapore Conference Hall on 24 January 1979.


Source: MOC (now MICA), courtesy of NAS.


In 1978, the Cultural Foundation was set up to finance programmes and scholarships for individuals and cultural groups. In recognition of individuals who have contributed or excelled in the arts scene, the Cultural Medallion was instituted in March 1979.  


Source: NAS
First recipients of Cultural Medallion in 1979 from left: Wee Beng Chong (Art), Choo Hoey (Music), Madhavi Krishnan (Dance), Bani bin Buang (Theatre) and David Lim Kim San (Music) for their achievements in 1979.

This decade saw several milestones in our local media scene. The Radio and Television of Singapore (RTS) was corporatised to become the Singapore Broadcasting Corporation (SBC) in 1980. To effectively promote the use of Mandarin in line with the “Speak Mandarin Campaign” during the decade, dialect television programmes were phased out after 1979.  This change thus saw the broadcast station starting to produce more Mandarin dramas with local content that were better enjoyed such as Seletar Robbery (1982), Flying Fish (1983) and The Awakening (1984). The birth of Lianhe Zaobao on 16 Mar 1983 through the merger of Nanyang Siang Pau and the Sin Chew Jit Poh, two of Singapore’s oldest Chinese newspapers signified another milestone in our local media scene. With the merger, financial and manpower resources were pooled together resulting in greater commercial benefits and raising the standard of journalism in the Chinese press.


Source: MediaCorp, courtesy of NAS
 
  Sports and Cultural Venues of the Decade

In the first decade, the National Stadium played host to many local and regional sporting events. In the second decade, the stadium went from being only a sports venue to hosting cultural and national events such as the National Day Parade (1976 – 2006), the opening and closing ceremony of the 12th Southeast Asian Games in 1983 and the New York Philharmonic in 1984.



Source: MOC (now MICA), courtesy of NAS

Against a spectacular backdrop of fireworks, the New York Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of world renowned conductor, Zubin Mehta, performed at the National Stadium attracting a large crowd of some 26,000 on 8 September 1984.


Source: MOC (now MICA), courtesy of NAS
The National Stadium was packed with supporters who came to watch the Singapore football team play in the 12th Southeast Asian Games in 1983.

Formerly known as Conference Hall and Trade Union House, the Singapore Conference Hall was officially opened by PM Lee Kuan Yew on 15 October 1965. Fully equipped to cater for international conferences and designed for acoustic excellence for musical performances, it has been the choice venue for many significant events in this decade such as the SSO inaugural concert performances in 1979 and the presentation of the Cultural Medallion in 1980.


Source:  Singapore Press Holdings, courtesy of NAS

Since its openingon 8 August 1963, the National Theatre has played host to a variety of local and foreign artistes ranging from the Youth Acrobatic Troupe of China to the National Theatre Symphonic Band. The National Theatre was the venue of the National Day Rally speeches from 1966 to 1983.  The National Theatre closed on 16 January 1984 giving way to venues that were better designed acoustically and more comfortable such as the fully air-conditioned  Kallang Theatre which officially opened on 6 June 1986. 


Source: NAS

Source: MOC (now MICA), courtesy of NAS

Air-conditioners were not common in the 1970s and in the semi-open National Theatre, fans were put on stand-by to cool the surroundings including the stage as shown in this picture taken during the National Day Rally in 1977.


Source: MOC (now MICA), courtesy of NAS
Kallang Theatre.

The Cultural Centre which was officially opened by Singapore’s first Chief Minister, David Marshall in 1955,  was acquired by the Ministry of Culture in 1980 and renamed the Drama Centre. Situated at the foot of Fort Canning, the 334-seat air-conditioned theatre and three practice rooms became very popular for local drama groups in the  1980s. It was the venue for many well-known dance, music and drama performances such as the third ASEAN Festival of Performing Arts (1983) and Pileh Menantu “Choosing a daughter-in-law” (1984).


Source: MOC (now MICA), courtesy of NAS

Source: MOC (now MICA), courtesy of NAS

Source: MOC (now MICA), courtesy of NAS
DRAMA Centre.
 
  The People’s Association…Bringing Sports and Culture to the People

To ensure continued stability and social cohesiveness, the People’s Association (PA) and its community centres continued to work in support of sports, recreational, educational and cultural activities.  The rapid social economic progress enjoyed by Singapore also prompted the PA to widen its range of programmes at the various community centres to meet more affluent interests and needs. Between 1977 and 1982, another 70 community centres were built in different parts of Singapore.


Source: The People's Association 1960-1990...30 Years with the People, 1990

Source: MOC (now MICA), courtesy of NAS

The important role played by the PA was emphasised by Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Culture S Dhanabalan on 20 October 1984 when he spoke at the opening of Kallang Theatre:

“The participation of residents of all educational and income groups in the activities of community centres is an important and significant development. Differences in educational and income levels is a feature of all human societies. But such differences must be harmonised by actions to emphasize interdependence and common purpose. Otherwise we will have an irresponsible and divided society.”


Source: The People's Association 1960 – 1990...30 Years with the People, 1990

Source: The People’s Association 1960 – 1990…30 years with the people, 1990

Sports and cultural activities such as archery, fencing, ballet and piano lessons, previously enjoyed by only the affluent, can now be enjoyed by everyone through courses at the community centres.


Source: The People's Association 1960 – 1990...30 Years with the People, 1990

Source: The People’s Association 1960 – 1990…30 years with the people, 1990

Long before PCs were a common household necessity, the PA was in the forefront conducting computer programming courses in the early eighties.


Source: The People’s Association 1960-1990…30 years with the people, 1990
Women being given some grooming and beauty tips at a course organised for them at the PA
 
  Keeping Active in the Golden Years

“In our preoccupation with achieving economic and social progress we must not lose our perspectives. A caring and gracious society must first have at its base respect and care for the elderly”.

Extract of speech by Minister for Communications and Acting Minister for Culture Ong Teng Cheong, 2 Dec 1979.

Sports and cultural activities were not confined to the younger generation. The PA began to cater to Singapore’s senior citizens with the setting up of the first senior citizen’s club at Kallang Community Centre in 1978.  Their participation in the social, cultural, sports and recreational activities encouraged them to lead active, healthy and meaningful lives.

Senior citizens  participated in courses and programmes such as health fairs, necklace making, morning mass walks, gateball and petanque tournaments, social dancing and theatrical opera organised for them at the community centres.


Source: MOC (now MICA), courtesy of NAS

Source: MOC (now MICA), courtesy of NAS

This led the Minister for Home Affairs, Chua Sian Chin to observe during the second anniversary celebration of the MacPherson Senior Citizens’ Club in 1982:

“…activities of the senior citizens’ groups in Singapore have changed the image of the old and the aged. Far from being a helpless and troublesome burden to their family and society, they have shown that they are quite capable of looking after themselves well.”


Source: The People’s Association 1960 – 1990…30 years with the people, 1990

Source: The People’s Association 1960 – 1990…30 years with the people, 1990

Source: The People’s Association 1960 – 1990…30 years with the people, 1990
 
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