Singapore National Day
Modern Singapore, despite its relatively small territory, belongs to “Asian Tigers” – four countries of Asia Pacific region with the most dynamically developing economy. Today Singapore is a country of innovations and fascinating technologies, skyscrapers of glass and steel and high-speed internet. In several decades Singapore managed to become not only a gateway to South East Asia, but a real heart of the whole Asia Pacific, the key financial and logistic hub of the Eastern hemisphere.
However, it was not always like that. For a long time Singapore was a part of the British Empire. The English perfectly understood the advantageous geographical location of the island and founded there a trading post. It prospered more than one hundred years – from 1819 until 1942, when Singapore was occupied by Japan. After World War II Singapore came back under British control, but it was already impossible to stop the collapse of the colonial system. In early 1960s, Great Britain declared its readiness to recognize the independence of Malaysia. Singapore, in its turn, was supposed to become a part of Malaysia. In 1962 Singapore really became a part of the Federation of Malaysia, but not for a long time. It became clear soon that there were irreconcilable contradictions between the governments of Singapore and Malaysia. The Singaporeans were dissatisfied with the disproportionately small number of seats that were given to them in parliament, while the Malays, in turn, were afraid of the increased influence of the Chinese living in Singapore. The situation gradually grew tense, and finally, on August 7, 1965, Singapore resigned from the Federation of Malaysia, and two days later, on August 9, proclaimed state independence. From this moment begins the history of modern Singapore, which managed in less than half a century to accomplish the impossible – from a backward city-state of the Third World it became a metropolis, a world financial and business centre. The Soviet Union was the first state to recognize Singapore’s independence, and Singapore signed the first International Trade Agreement with it.
National Day is the greatest and most widely celebrated holiday in Singapore. Solemn processions, fireworks and the parade are very similar to the Victory Day’s celebration in Russia and other countries of the former USSR. Indeed, there is a similarity here – and not only external. Like May 9 in Russia, August 9 in Singapore is a day of a national triumph, a day when the strong spirit of an independent nation prevailed, a day when obstacles that seemed insurmountable were overcome. It is also a day of unity of all generations, which are united not only by the memory of the past, but also by the desire for a happy future.
In 2019 the theme of the holiday is “Our Singapore”. “Our” means several generations: those who defended Singapore’s freedom in the 1960s, those who have created its wealth from scratch after independence, and those who are ready to step with the country into its future. “Our” means all the peoples who have found their home on this earth: the Chinese, Malays, Indians and everyone else who has proudly called themselves Singaporeans for more than fifty years. “Our” means all those who are interested in Singapore and who are ready to bring something new to its life: after all, as the founder of modern Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew, said, the key to the success of the young state was trust, namely openness, the constant development of international cooperation and human capital.
The upcoming National Day is planned to be celebrated especially solemnly because in 2019 it is 200 years since the foundation of the first English colony on the island and, therefore, this is the year of Singapore’s bicentennial. Playing field Padang, located in the Business Centre in the Central District of Singapore, was chosen as the venue for celebrations. The huge stadium seats up to 26,000 spectators. Events in honor of the National Day have already been held there twice, and in 2010 in Padang took place the opening ceremony of the Summer Youth Olympic Games. There will be provided another 25,000 seats on a special floating platform to provide an opportunity to see the parade for everyone.
Organizers of the celebration are not going to reveal too much, but it is already known that in addition to the traditional parade and fireworks, a spectacular air show and a navy show are planned.
Russia-Singapore Business Council sends the warmest congratulations to the people of Singapore on the National Day and wishes happiness and prosperity to this fabulous country. For 51 years, Russia and Singapore have been linked by close bonds of friendship, which, we hope, will become even stronger and more reliable over time.