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  Lives Notes

The Live Notes are the sources and references used in the exhibition catalogue. For readers who have a copy of the catalogue, please click on the following:

Section 1
Looking Back - Political Milestones Leading to the Birth of the Republic

Section 2
Making Friends and Defending Our Sovereignty

Section 3
The Story of an Economic Miracle

Section 4
Caring for the Nation

Section 5
Living Together in Harmony



Section 5 Living Together in Harmony


Page 131, para 2, line 4: Parliamentary Debates Republic of Singapore, Vol. 24, Col. 349, 20 December 1965

Page 131, para 2, line 8: Singapore Year Book 1969, pg 171 and Singapore Year Book 1973, pg 172

Page 131, caption: The Minister also recognised the importance of civics education in inculcating the young people with a love for the country as he announced his plans to continue visiting and interviewing schools, even those in the rural areas, as part of an effort to strengthen the study of civics in schools. (Report in Nanyang Siang Pau, 27 February 1966).

Page 132, caption 1 : Parliamentary Debates Republic of Singapore, Vol. 24, Col. 349, 20 December 1965
The policy of a compulsory second language was introduced into the English-medium schools as the Chinese-medium schools had all along been learning English on a compulsory basis. (Oral History Interview, Chan Kai Yau, Director of Education 1975 - 1982, Accession No. 1707). This policy, which ensures that all school leavers would be at least proficient in two languages, remains largely unchanged, with the exception of the monolingual stream created in 1975. (Singapore Year Book 1976, p 153).

Page 132, quote: Speech by the Minister For Education, Mr. Ong Pang Boon, at the resumed debate on the annual budget statement of the Minister For Finance, 12 December 1968 (National Archives of Singapore, Speech-Text Archival and Retrieval System)

Page 133, para 1, line 4: Singapore Year Book 1973, pg 173
Every new government school was integrated by having students and teachers from two or more language streams learn and work in one building under a single administration. Government-aided schools were similarly integrated, whenever possible.

Page 133, caption 2: Singapore Year Book 1966, pg 253

Page 134, para 1, line 5: MOE press release on Role of CCAs, 11 January 2003,
ECA (extra-curricular activities) was renamed as CCA (co-curricular activities) in 1999 to better reflect the role it plays in the school curriculum.

Page 136, para 1, line 4: Singapore Year Book 1966, pg 258

Page 136, para 2, line 3 : Singapore Year Book 1966, pg 258 and

Page 137, para 1, line 11: Parliamentary Debates Republic of Singapore, Vol. 24, Col. 352-353, 20 December 1965

Page 137, para 2, line 16: Parliamentary Debates Republic of Singapore, Vol. 24, Col. 354, 20 December 1965

Page 137, para 3, line 25: Parliamentary Debates Republic of Singapore, Vol. 24, Col. 355-359, 20 December 1965
The move to give equal treatment to Nanyang University began in July 1964 and faced a great challenge from anti-national elements who had turned it into a political issue on Chinese culture, accusing it as being an attempt to kill Chinese education.

Page 137, para 3, line 27: Singapore Year Book 1971, pg. 171

Box Story: Singapore Pledge

Page 138, all information from File reference MOE C27-18-072

Box Story: National Anthem

Page 142, para 2, line 4, Oral History Interview, Zubir bin Said, Accession No. 293. See Oral History Interview, Paul Abisheganaden, Accession No. 1415, Oral History Interview, Yap Yan Hong, Accession No. 1041. Reel 1 and Legislative Assembly Debate, 11 Nov 1959, p.740

Page 142, para 4 line 4,

Also refer to City Council File No. 7033/3 : Opening Performance - New Victoria Theatre and file titled E&B Sub-Committee "Opening Performance" VT & MH for more information.

Who actually commissioned the City Council Song that eventually became our National Anthem?

Dr Toh Chin Chye, former Deputy Prime Minister recalled in his oral history interview with National Archives:

"...When we were looking around for a national anthem in 1959, it was Ong Eng Guan (then mayor of Singapore) who told me that he had Zubir Said to do a piece for the City Council. And Ong Eng Guan introduced him to me. That was how it started."

Yap Yan Hong, then Superintendent of Victoria Theatre, in his oral history interview said this:

"I had orders from then Mayor of Singapore to look for a theme song to be used by the City Council at its official functions...I had on several occasions met Pak Zubir who was a music composer for the then Cathay-Keris Film Company. I remembered seeing one of his films called Jula Juli Bintang Tiga wherein the songs were so very pleasing to the ears and its so nice...So with that in mind, I contacted Pak Zubir." Yap explained Zubir and not others was asked because it was not easy to find a good music composer at that time. Yap had remembered enjoying the music compositions that Zubir had done for Cathay-Keris Film Company. Having met Zubir on several occasions during the course of his work at Victoria Theatre, he was happy to approach Zubir to write the song.

The file records of the City Council shed further light on the matter. According to the minutes of meeting dated 10 July 1958 of the Entertainment Sub-Committee chaired by Mr Ong Pang Boon, then Deputy Mayor of Singapore, the committee had agreed to invite Mr Zubir Said to compose the music and lyrics for the song to be performed at the new Victoria Theatre. As a follow up to the meeting, Mr H F Sheppard, Assistant Secretary of City Council wrote to Mr Zubir Said on 10 July 1958. In his reply dated 15 July 1958, Mr Zubir Said accepted the task and informed him that he would forward the composition to the Superintendent of Victoria Theatre.

Zubir delivered an outline of the song, sans lyrics, within two weeks, and taped a piano recording by the fourth week. Yap recalled: “I took the tape to the committee specially formed to select this song at the City Council. The committee was chaired by Mr Ong Pang Boon. We played this song and he rather liked it and told me to try and improve on it…I took the trouble of improving the tempo by getting the Singapore Ensemble under the baton of Paul Arbisheganadan to try and improve the song and they did. They played it after orchestra by Dick Abel – the leader of Radio Singapore Orchestra and the Singapore Chamber Ensemble was the first orchestra to test it out with their choir. And later on…I heard that Mr Toh Chin Chye had the song further improved at the Singapore Volunteer Corps hall with a military band. And..after that…the Berlin Ensemble…further improved on this song...I believe the version we have today is a version completely improved and contributed not by any one body".

Public Housing

Page 144 para 1 line 4:
Former Minister for Culture and Social Affairs Othman Wok explained how ethnic mixing in housing estates helped foster cross-cultural respect and understanding, in his oral history interview, Accession number 000774, reel 3:

"In the past they have always been living separately. The Malays in one area, the non-Malays in another area. And this created problems. For example, the 1964 riots where the Malays and the non-Malays lived in separate areas and they fought each other. And they did not understand each other because they were living separately. So in the flats they live together and they begin to understand each other and to respect each other's culture and the religion."

Page 144, para 2, line 4, HDB Annual Report 1960, pg. 4
The Housing and Development Board was established on 1 February 1960 by the Housing and Development Act, Chapter 271 to build houses equipped with essential services such as water, electricity, gas and modern sanitation for the lower income groups. Lim Kim San, then a banker, was appointed as its first Chairman on 12 February 1960. Mr Lim served on a voluntary capacity and assisted by Howe Yoon Chong, the Chief Executive Officer, the Board aimed to build 10,000 units of low cost housing per year (or at rate of one flat every 45 minutes) under a 5-Year Building Programme from 1961-1964. In 1964, Lim Kim San was awarded the 1964 Ramon Magsaysay Award for Community Leadership for his contributions to resolving Singapore's acute housing shortage and re-housing its populace. (Information extracted from HDB Annual Report, 1965, p 16).

Page 144 para 3, line 4, HDB Annual Report 1964, pg. 9
Only Singapore citizens were eligible to purchase these flats which must be used solely by the purchaser and his immediate family. The individual income of any member of the family could not exceed $800 per month whilst the total family income must not exceed S$1,000 per month and no person was allowed to purchase more than one flat. Loans at 61/4% per annum were offered by HDB to prospective buyers unable to afford outright payment. The monthly installment on a three-room flat over a period of 15 years was $44 after the initial down-payment of $1,200. (Information from Singapore Annual Report, 1964, p 378). In 1968, the CPF Act was amended to allow the use of accumulated CPF savings to pay the 20% down payment and service the housing loan for the balance in installments over 20 years. (Additional information extracted from From Third World To First The Singapore Story 1965-2000 Memoirs of Lee Kuan Yew, Times Media Pte Ltd, p 117).

Page 144, quote by MM Lee Kuan Yew, From Third World To First The Singapore Story 1965-2000 Memoirs of Lee Kuan Yew, Times Media Pte Ltd, pg. 117

Page 146, para 1, line 4, HDB Annual Report 1966, pg. 3
HDB launched its second 5-Year Building Programme in 1966 with a target of building 60,000 units of public housing at the average rate of 12,000 units per annum. Toa Payoh, the first satellite town to be built after independence, was the biggest development under this Programme. Each neighbourhood has a shopping centre, located within easy reach of residents, schools, social and recreation amenities and a sports complex with swimming pools and running tracks providing opportunities for residents to meet. (Additional information extracted from First Decade in Public Housing, Housing and Development Board, Singapore, 1960 - 69, p. 24)

Page 146, quote by Othman Wok, Race Riots Singapore 1964: Oral History Interview with Othman Wok, 2005, Acc No. 2005001999, Tape 1

Pg. 147, para 1, line 6, HDB Annual Report 1964, pg. 10

Pg. 148, para 1 line 4, HDB Annual Reports 1963 and 1965 pg.1 and pg. 10 respectively
Queenstown was the first town to be built on the modern planning principle of self-contained neighbourhood as its nuclei. Built in 1964, it housed more than 125,000 persons.(Additional information from Singapore Annual Report, 1965, p 341).

Page 149, quote: Speech by Mah Bow Tan Minister for National Development in Parliament on Public Housing Policies during the Committee of Supply Debate, 7 March 2005.

Page 150, quote: Speech by Queen Elizabeth II during her visit to Toa Payoh in 2006.

Culture and Sports

Page 152, para 3, line 8: The First Twenty Years. (People's Association, Dec 1980), pg. 91
The first Aneka Ragam concert was held in the Botanic Gardens and opened by PM Lee Kuan Yew.

Page 152, quote by Lee Khoon Choy: Oral History Interview with Lee Khoon Choy, 1981. Acc No. 22 Reel 44
In his autobiography, On the beat to the hustings: An autobiography. (Times Book International, Singapore) 1988. p61, Ministry of Culture, Lee Khoon Choy had also noted that what he found most rewarding in the beginning of his political career was the influence that he had to help shape society for the better. Through the Aneka Ragam Rakyat, he was able to change, to some degree, the cultural ignorance and prejudices of the respective races towards one another.

Page 153, quote: Speech by Minister for Culture, Jek Yeun Thong, at opening of the Kreta Ayer People's Theatre, 1971.

Page 156, quote: Parliamentary speech by Minister for Social Affairs, Encik Othman Wok, 13 May 1968

Page 157, para 1, line 5: Singapore Sports Council Annual Report, 1973

Page 159, para 1, line 6: Singapore Sports Council: The First Ten Years. (Singapore: Singapore Sports Council, 1983), pg.16 - 17
The "Sports for All" campaign also led to many sporting events at the constituency level. The 5BX, 5 basic exercises which included sit-ups, push-ups and leg raises were introduced on television and accompanied by music.

Page 159, para 1, line 10: Chua Chong Jin, On Track - 21 Years of the Singapore Sports Council (Singapore Sports Council. 1994), pg.16
While the Singapore Sports Council was guided by its 'Sports for All" policy in the first ten years, it was only in the 1980s that more attention was focused on the pursuit of "Sports Excellence". This led to the Sports Excellence 2000 programme in Dec 1993 to raise the overall standard of competitive sports in Singapore. Presently, SPEX21 aims to make Singapore one of Asia's leading sporting nations.




  Last Updated on 31 March 2009  

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