Mok Ly Yng: City of Singapore: 60th anniversary

From: Mok Ly Yng <>
Date: September 23, 2011 0:17:22 GMT+08:00
City of Singapore: 60th anniversary

Hi everyone,

Today, 22nd September 2011, is the 60th anniversary of Singapore’s attainment of City status.  Singapore was presented with the Royal Charter making Singapore a City at 8:33 am on 22nd September 1951.  To me, the 60th anniversary is of some significance as the Chinese calendar repeats itself once every 60 years.

Below are some newspaper links from the National Library of Singapore, dating from 1951:

1. Singapore Free Press

Front page of the Singapore Free Press, 22 Sep 1951, Saturday: link

King George VI’s message to Singapore on City Day: May Singapore flourish [SFP, 22 Sep. Front page]: link

The KING has transmitted the following message through the Secretary of State for the Colonies on the occasion of the elevation of Singapore to the status of a City:

     ‘Please convey my best wishes to the City Council and to the citizens of Singapore on this notable occasion.’
     ‘It is my earnest wish that the City of Singapore may continue to flourish and bring to all its people of every community increasing happiness and prosperity in the years to come.’

A new orchid was named for the occasion: Aranda City of S’pore [SFP, 22 Sep 1951, p8]: ilnk >

2. The Straits Times

Front page of The Straits Times, 22 Sep 1951, Saturday: link >

Full text of the Royal Charter [ST, 22 Sep 1951, p1]: link

Front page of The Sunday Times, 23 Sep 1951: link


I have found all these links back in 2010, before the movie The King’s Speech was released here in Singapore.  I did not think much about the King’s message at that time.  Now when I look at his short message — after having watched the movie earlier in the year — I can’t help but imagine him working with Logue to deliver it properly.  But sadly he did not get to do so, for he was rather ill when Singapore was presented with the Royal Charter.  If you read the front pages of the Singapore Free Press and the Straits Times again, you’ll find that there is a smaller note ‘King to have operation’ and ‘Doctors visit King twice’ respectively in the two papers.

King George VI had his operation on 23 September 1951 (Sunday).  He died on 6 February 1952, almost exactly 4.5 months after Singapore’s City Charter Day (and his operation).  This might have accounted for the absence of Royal representatives on Singapore’s City Day here in Singapore.


Singapore Town/City Map series (10 inch to 1 mile series, 1:6336)

In 1932, a brand new series of Singapore Town maps was produced.  This was revised in 1938.  In 1943 during the Occupation, the Japanese military reprinted the entire series, and even added a couple more sheets to it.  After the war, the entire series was re-surveyed and redrawn.  A black and white edition was produced in 1953, after Singapore had become a City.  This was also the first large-scale ‘town’ map of Singapore to bear the title of ‘Singapore City’.  This series was produced in full colour in 1954.  As it turned out, the 1954 edition would become the final and last edition of this ‘Town Map’ series of Singapore.  Although there were plans to revise the series then, political changes in Malaya and Singapore presented new priorities in map production schedules.

Singapore Town and City maps:<>

Look at the mapsheet Title.  In 1938, the title was ‘Map of Singapore Town’.  In 1953, the title had changed to ‘Map of Singapore City’.  Although the map was based on a fresh post-war survey, the layout and style are almost identical to the pre-war edition.  In 1954, colours were added to the map.  The 1953 edition is very rare, surviving copies can only be found (at present) in the National Archives of Singapore and the Lee Kong Chian Reference Library (NLB).  Both collections do not seem to have the complete set of 6 mapsheets for the 1953 edition.

For the technically inclined, the major difference between the 1953 and 1954 edition was not merely the addition of colours.  It was the introduction and addition of the then new Malayan Rectified Skew Orthormorphic (RSO) grid coordinates corner ticks on all the mapsheets. 


Two-thirds of the 1932 map series and the complete 1954 map series was on display in 2009’s map exhibition at the National Library Building.  In 2011, a new movie reminded us of King George VI.  I hope this short and hastily written email would help to remind you of Singapore’s long forgotten City Day. 

Thank you for your time and attention.

Best regards,

Mok LY

PS: Incidentally, Cambridge, England (the university town) also became a City in 1951, on 24 March.

One thought on “Mok Ly Yng: City of Singapore: 60th anniversary

  1. Pingback: List Building In Singapore | How Do I Build A List?

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