• Short Summary

    THE REPUBLIC OF SINGAPORE THIS MONTH OBSERVERS THE 150TH ANNIVERSARY OF ITS SETTLEMENT BY THE BRITISH IN 1819.

  • Description

    THE REPUBLIC OF SINGAPORE THIS MONTH OBSERVERS THE 150TH ANNIVERSARY OF ITS SETTLEMENT BY THE BRITISH IN 1819. THE FOUNDER OF THE REMOTE EQUATORIAL OUTPOST WAS SIR STAMFORD RAFFLES -- HIS TASK AT THE TIME WAS TO FIND A BASE TO PROTECT BRITISH TRADE ROUTES TO THE FAR EAST. TODAY SINGAPORE HAS SEVERED MOST OF ITS COLONIAL TIES WITH BRITAIN, AND IS ENTERING THE 1970'S COMPLETELY RELIANT ON ITS OWN INITIATIVE AND INDUSTRY.

    DESPITE CHOLERA, MALARIA AND THE OPPRESSIVE CLIMATE, SINGAPORE BECAME, IN THE HUNDRED YEARS FOLLOWING SETTLEMENT, THE COMMERCIAL CENTRE OF SOUTH EAST ASIA. BUT THE SECOND WORLD WAR -- AND INVASION OF THE JAPANESE -- SIGNIFIED AN END TO BRITISH RULE IN THE AREA AND THE BEGINNING OF NEW PERIOD OF CHALLENGE FOR THE TINY ISLAND STATE.

    IN 1957 SINGAPORE BECAME INTERNALLY SELF-GOVERNING, AND IN 1963 IT WAS MERGED IN THE MALAYSIA FEDERATION. ONLY TWO YEARS LATER SINGAPORE PRIME MINISTER LEE KUAN ANNOUNCED A REGRETFUL SECESSION FROM THE FEDERATION. FROM THEN ON, HE SAID, SINGAPORE WOULD BE FORCED TO MAKE ITS OWN WAY. THE SECESSION AND CONTINUING INDONESIAN CONFRONTATION DEALT THE SINGAPORE ECONOMY A SEVERE BODY BLOW, BUT IN THE PAST TWO OR THREE YEARS AMBITIOUS GOVERNMENT PROGRAMMES HAVE BEGUN TO LIFT THE COUNTRY TO A NEW LEVEL OF PROSPERITY.

    SINGAPORE IS A MULTI-RACIAL SOCIETY, WITH A PREDOMINANCE OF CHINESE. OF THE ISLAND'S TWO MILLION PEOPLE 75 PECENT ARE CHINESE, 15 PERCENT ARE MALAY AND EIGHT PERCENT INDIANS AND PAKISTANIS. SINGAPORE ENJOYS A RELATIVELY HIGH STANDARD OF RACIAL HARMONY, BUT OCCASIONAL ANTAGONISMS OCCUR. A SPECIALLY EQUIPPED RIOT VAN IS ON CONSTANT PATROL IN SOME SENSITIVE AREAS.

    HOUSING IS POSSIBLY THE GREATEST PROBLEM FACING THE GOVERNMENT OF SINGAPORE. THE COUNTRY HAS HAD TO FACE UP TO THE DIFFICULTIES OF ACCOMMODATING ITS TWO MILLION PEOPLE IN LITTLE MORE THAN 225 SQUARE MILES (GBP580 SQUARE KILOMETRES.)
    EARLY IN THE SIXTIES A MASSIVE RESETTLEMENT PLAN WAS LAUNCHED AND THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE WERE GIVEN FLATS IN LOW-COST APARTMENT BLOCKS IN SOME AREAS SKYSCRAPER SATELLITE TOWNS HAVE BEEN BUILT TO ACCOMMODATE A QUARTER A MILLION PEOPLE.

    WITH THE IMMINENT WITHDRAWAL OF ALL BRITISH FORCES FROM SINGAPORE, THE COUNTRY HAS HAD TO LOOK TO OWN RESOURCES FOR A GUARANTEED INCOME IN THE YEARS AHEAD. BY CONCENTRATING ON LARGE-SCALE INDUSTRIALISATION IT NOW APPEARS THAT SINGAPORE WILL BE ABLE TO CARRY ON WITHOUT LOSS MOMENTUM. THE JURONG INDUSTRIAL ESTATE -- A TYPICAL DEVELOPMENT -- IS PART OF A HUGE INDUSTRIAL AREA RECLAIMED FROM SWAMP LAND. IT ALREADY HAS 150 FACTORIES WITH ANOTHER 50 PLANNED, BUT UNEMPLOYMENT IS STILL HIGH, AND THE COMPULSORY RETIRING AGE HAS BEEN BROUGHT FORWARD TO 55.

    PLANNED INDUSTRY AND TOURISM ARE THE TWO FORCES SINGAPORE WILL BEING TO BEAR AGAINST THE ECONOMIC OBSTACLES OF THE SEVENTIES. NEW HOTELS CAN BARELY KEEP PACE WITH THE TOURIST DEMAND -- HOTELS WITH SOME 7,000 BEDS ARE NOW UNDER CONSTRUCTION OR ON THE DRAWING BOARD.

    FOR TOURISTS THERE IS STILL A LOT TO SEE IN SINGAPORE -- MOST OF IT TRADITION-BASED. FEW COME TO MARVEL AT THE NEW APARTMENT BLOCKS OR INDUSTRIAL ESTATES, BUT EVERY TOURIST PAYS A VISIT TO CHINATOWN OR CHANGE ALLEY. AND IT IS PROBABLY THE ABILITY OF THESE PLACES TO SURVIVE IN A MODERN SOCIETY -- THEIR TENACITY AND DETERMINATION TO SUCCEED -- THAT WILL CHARACTERISE SINGAPORE'S ROLE IN THE YEARS AHEAD.

    RECENTLY MR LEE KUAN YEW WAS ASKED ABOUT SOME OF THE PROBLEMS FACING HIS TINY NATION. COULD HE POSSIBLY PREDICT WHAT MIGHT HAPPEN IN THE NEXT 150 YEARS?
    MR LEE WAS ALSO ASKED ABOUT THE PROSPECTS OF SUCCESS FOR THE MULTI-RACIAL SOCIETY OF SINGAPORE.

    MR LEE HAS OFTEN SPOKEN OF THE "RUGGED SOCIETY" IN SINGAPORE. HE WAS ASKED TO DEFINE IT.

  • Tags

  • Data

    Film ID:
    VLVA2YD20IR91VOPHCRXODYCASMKC
    Media URN:
    VLVA2YD20IR91VOPHCRXODYCASMKC
    Group:
    Reuters - Source to be Verified
    Archive:
    Reuters
    Issue Date:
    05/08/1969
    Sound:
    Unknown
    HD Format:
    Available on request
    Stock:
    Colour
    Duration:
    00:07:48:00
    Time in/Out:
    /
    Canister:
    N/A

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