Pesta Sukan

This was another Festival that was celebrated in August in 1976 and 1977 – not the Chinese 7th Month again please…

Below shows the 6th National Walk in 1975;

Photo Credit : National Archives of Singapore, PICAS

I’m not too sure how many still remember it – “Pesta Sukan”. First what is Pesta Sukan? It means “Festival of Sports” in Malay. The common phrase now is probably “…Singapore International Triathlon…” and who would remember Pesta Sukan?

Pesta Sukan first started in 1964 when Singapore is still a State of Malaya. Remember we gained independence from Malaysia in 1965 August 9! So maybe because of that, Pesta Sukan was used instead of Festival of Sports.

The other strange thing is this idea was mooted by the then Ministry of Culture. Wonder what has sports got to do with Culture then?? In 1965, it was the Ministry of Social Affair that organised the event but in the midst of the festival, Singapore broke away from Malaysia.

It’s then called”Pesta Sukan Minggu Merdeka from 1966 and in 1969 it was reverted back to it’s original name “Pesta Sukan”.

National Walk, Jog or Run and Cycling are some popular mass events organised in the 70s. It’s the kind of mass event that can attract about 20,000 to 30,000 participants of all ages.

The National Walk or the National Jog then was a standard 8km distance. When I was in Sec 2 and Sec 3, I participated in the 7th and 8th National Walk in 1976 and 1977 respectively; also the 3rd National Jog in 1977. As long as one complete the journey, they will give you a certificate of participation. I got mine and when I reached home, I will then use my manuscript pen to write my name on it. It was common for students of my time to use manuscript pen for art.

And in 1970, Singapore has it’s first and probably the only one “Festival of Sports” stamps series (let me know if I’m wrong);

Note : It’s called “Festival of Sports”.

Sports in Singapore seems to be like Fashion – some sports that are not so popular now are squash or badminton. Names of sports also undergoing changes….


9 Responses to “Pesta Sukan”

  1. 1 Victor Koo Thursday, August 30, 2007 at 2:40 pm

    Sent you an urgent email. Please read it ASAP. Thanks.

  2. 2 laokokok Friday, August 31, 2007 at 8:24 am

    Thanks Victor. It’s done.

  3. 3 banglacow Sunday, August 31, 2008 at 5:47 am

    I am participating in pesta sukan taekwondo today. Never knew its true meaning and heritage

    thank you for preserving a small part of our history online

    Gerrard!~ Lim banglacow

  4. 4 Gerrard!~ Lim Banglacow Tuesday, September 2, 2008 at 2:02 am

    Well the 35th National Taekwondo Championships was a blast for me. Festival of Sports !

    It is especially emotional because I have gotten my second gold medal consecutively in different weight categories. That means I am a defending champion.


    I won’t be seeing my bank account boom because of this, or become a celebrity anytime soon, but it feels good to be part of history.

    Imagine the 33 people before me who shares this honor in Singapore.


    Thank you once again, for this entry on Pesta Sukan because it has made my medal gather intangible significance.

    Take good cares
    Gerrard!~ Lim
    banglacow at hotmail dot com (msn)

  5. 5 Maureen Sunday, November 9, 2008 at 9:34 am

    I participated in the Pesta Sukan back in 1970 in Netball.
    Our team did not win, but we did receive a badge with Singapore PESTA SUKAN 1970 – green background with Singapore flag and insiginia.

    I lived in Singapore from 1969 to 1971 and loved every minute of it.

    I returned in 1984 and could only remember some of the places as Singapore has grown into a vast city.

    One day, I would like to return and spent more time touring around.
    I often look at the Google Earth to try and see familiar places I went to. Originally I lived in Serangoon Gardens, but I doubt if I’d recognise that any longer.

    As for the stamps being released in 1970, I honestly cannot remember that now…… it was more than 30 years since I lived there.

    Thanks for the step back in time!

  6. 6 laokokok Monday, November 10, 2008 at 7:48 am

    You are welcome Maureen and hope you enjoyed your stay here.

  7. 7 LL Tuesday, March 24, 2009 at 4:27 am

    So many sports were played in a big pesta sukan? nowadays it seems each sport has its own ‘pesta sukan’ day..

    thanks for ur blog! its really insightful 🙂

  8. 9 Lin Mustapha Tuesday, November 1, 2011 at 11:37 pm

    Hi there heros and heroins of Pesta Sukan can anyone help me locate anybody who had participated in the Pesta Sukan Softball competition. need to see the medals (Gold and bronze) in the early 80s to 1988. My contacts Thank you in advance….

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