betty July 21, 2022

SINGAPORE – A Telok Kurau Primary School registry of entries from 1926 to 1941, listing founding prime minister Lee Kuan Yew and Malaysia’s third prime minister, Tun Hussein Onn, as pupils resurfaced recently after the Founders’ Memorial committee made an open call for artefacts relating to Singapore’s early years.

Here are three other artefacts belonging to the public that may be included in the memorial, which opens in 2027. It will be located in Bay East Garden at Gardens by the Bay.

1. The Mirror newsletter featuring the first Singapore Armed Forces Day message

Interior and Defence Minister Lim Kim San said on July 1, 1969, that the armed forces had a mission to build “a multiracial nation in which there is stability, equality, opportunity, prosperity and freedom for all, regardless of race, creed or colour”. He was speaking on the first Armed Forces Day, now known as SAF day.

2. First posters of Toto lottery

They were launched in six colours on June 9, 1968. Then Social Affairs Minister Othman Wok picked up the idea of raising money from a national lottery from the Bulgarians, and wanted to use it partially to fund sports facilities such as the National Stadium. The idea was studied by the Finance Ministry and approved by the Cabinet, and Singapore Pools was opened in 1968.

3. Lunch pass from the early 1980s

The pass allowed students such as electrical engineer Tan Teck Lee, 59, to go home for lunch instead of eating in the Bukit Merah Vocational Institute. He would not have been able to afford lunch at the institute.

Vocational training contributed significantly to Singapore’s industrialisation. Like Mr Tan, many of his classmates went on to work in Singapore’s first factories in Jurong.