Date: 28 Aug 2022
Sermon Text: Galatians 5:1-6 Speaker: Dn Lee Pak Choon
Singapore ‘s Story of Independence
We just celebrated the 57th birthday of Singapore. It was a sea of red at the Marina Bays’ floating platform where the National Day Parade was held. People from all walks of life gathered there to celebrate the biggest event of the year. Against the backdrop of MBS and the skyscrapers in Central Business District, the panoramic view of the Parade was spectacular.
We have certainly come a long way from a small fishing village to a vibrant cosmopolitan city that we are today. But the day of independence, 9th of Aug 1965, was fraught with uncertainty, disappointment, and anguish.
At 10 am on 9 Aug 1965 , the proclamation of Singapore’s independence was announced over radio. Simultaneously in Kuala Lumpur, the Tunku of Malaysia announced the separation of Singapore from Malaysia to the federal parliament. He then moved a resolution to enact the Constitution of Malaysia (Singapore Amendment) Bill, 1965, that would allow Singapore to leave Malaysia and become an independent and sovereign state. The bill was passed with a 126-0 vote and given the royal assent by the end of the day. Singapore TV also aired the press conference called by LKY, the then Prime Minister of Singapore at 4:30 p.m.
I remembered watching the scene on TV many years later when LKY announced the separation with his eyes brimming with tears. For the first time and never before in all of his speeches that I have heard since, he choked on his delivery. It was a moment of anguish for him.
3 years earlier, in 1962, he and the PAP, the ruling party of Singapore, had managed to get the majority of Singaporeans on a referendum to go for a merger with Malaysia. One year later, in 1963, Singapore officially joined the Federal Malaysia as one of the 14 states.
Singapore badly needed the support of Malaysia then as its economy was struggling. Trade was declining. Unemployment rate was high. Housing was inadequate. Crimes were rampant. The outlook for Singapore was extremely bleak. That was the motivation for LKY to want a merger with Malaysia. But continual political and economic wrangling between Malaysia and Singapore political parties made the merger untenable, resulting in Singapore ‘s separation from Malaysia.
The day of Independence on 9th Aug 1965 was not celebrated in style as we see today on our National Day. There were no fireworks and parade. Instead, it was a tense, sombre and momentous moment in our history.
Freedoms in Singapore
Do we call our independence a freedom of sorts?
It did not appear so at that time. But on hindsight, th