Issue 112


Grassroots with passion

The Singapore

What is the Singapore Bicentennial about? Bicentennial

2019 marks the 200th anniversary of Stamford Raffles’ arrival in Singapore.

But our story did not start in 1819. It started more than 700 years ago in 1299.

The Singapore Bicentennial looks at our journey before and after Raffles. While the arrival of Raffles in 1819 was a key turning point that set us on a new trajectory, there is a lot more to our longer history to discover. 1819 was the year that Stamford Raffles, along with William Farquhar, arrived in Singapore. They established Singapore as a free port with an open city to take advantage of our natural geography along regional and global trade routes. Many came to our shores and built their lives here, including different communities from the Malay Archipelago, Indonesia, China, India, the Middle East and Europe. Many people joined us at different times and contributed to what makes us who we are today.

Throughout the colonial period, we were never governed as part of Malaya. Though we didn’t know it then, the last 200 years made us so different that we had to chart our own path in 1965.

Why are we commemorating it?

The Singapore Bicentennial is not a celebration but a time to reflect on what our past can tell us about ourselves today and help us find our way in the future.

We live inarapidlychangingandtroubledworld, and it isamidst theseuncertainties thatwecommemoratethe Singapore Bicentennial. We encourage all Singaporeans to reflect on the traits of openness, multiculturalism and self-determination that have evolved with us throughout our 700-year history and are now embedded in the Singaporean DNA. They could be the key to facing our challenges today, and charting our future tomorrow.

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