44th Years Of Independence Or 50 Years Of Nation Building?

Happy 44th Birthday Singapore! Happy 50th Nation Building Singapore! Today is 9 Aug 2009, and is Singapore’s National Day.

Well you may ask is there a difference between “Years of Independence”and “Years Of Nation Building”? Frankly initially I thought it’s the same, is there a difference? When approaching National Day, didn’t the media always use terms like xx Years of Independence, xx Years of Nation Building or xx National Days, etc…? Don’t they mean the same?

OK, let me show you another of my mother’s treasured collection;

Credit : Ministry Of Culture, The Straits Times

The above was the “1st Year Of Independence” magazine published by the Ministry Of Culture and The Straits Times. Inside you may see a message by MM Lee, our Prime Minister then;

Credit : Ministry Of Culture, The Straits Times

The above magazine was to commemorate our 1st Year Of Independence from 9 August 1965. It was the year we gained independence from Malaysia, yes the year Singapore exit from Malaysia on 9 August 1965. You may read more about it in my earlier post title “My Fist National Day On 3rd June“.

So I believed any reference to the year 1965 will be referred to as “xxth Years Of Independence” or “xxth National Day”. Now what about any reference from the year 1959, the year Singapore achieved full internal self-government (In 1957, Lim Yew Hock asked for control over Singapore’s internal affairs and the British government agreed to grant Singapore control over it’s internal affairs but not the external affairs like defence and relations with other countries. Following this, an election was held 3rd June 1959 to elect leaders to from the new government).

I believed that any reference to the year 1959, will be referred to as “Nation Building”. We do celebrate Nation Building too! Remember the old TV Guide I posted not too long ago? In 1984, we celebrated 25 Years Of Nation Building “Reach Out Singapore”;

Credits : Mediacorps

The “Reach Out Singapore” was held on 2nd June 1984 at the Padang and was telecast live then to celebrate 25 Years Of Nation Building. So does that mean every year we have 2 dates to celebrate?

Now take a look at this First Day Cover to commemorate 25 Years Of Independence;

Credit : Singapore Telecom

The above stamps were issued on 16 August 1990 to commemorate Singapore’s 25 Years of Independence. Also remember the slogan “One People, One Nation, One Singapore”?

Ok now let’s take a look at another set of First Day Cover or Miniature Sheet issued on the 23 Nov 1984;

Credit : Singapore Telecoms

The above was issued to commemorate Singapore’s 25 Years of Nation Building (1959 – 1984).

See the difference : One issued in 1990 while the other one in 1984!

Recently I’ve seen on the papers the phrase “50 Years Of Self-Governance” instead of “50 Years Of Nation Building”. Well “Self-Governance” is more straight forward and easily understood.We know that it refers to the year 1959.

Who knows in another 10 years (2019), we may celebrate 200th anniversary of Singapore’s founding by Stamford Raffles in 1819 on our 54th National Day.

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9 Responses to “44th Years Of Independence Or 50 Years Of Nation Building?”


  1. 1 Jun Wong Sunday, August 9, 2009 at 12:36 pm

    Happy Birthday, Singapore!

    Indeed, 9 August 1965 mark the separation from malaysia. Hence, the independence of Singapore, indicated a nation was born.

    Watched those old videos of Singapore History, the moment when Mr Lee weeping during boardcasting of the separation was so vividly in my mind now.

    I wonder how wld Mr Lee feel when he saw those videos again?

  2. 2 laokokok Tuesday, August 11, 2009 at 7:53 am

    I’m sure many of us remembered that weeping moments.

  3. 3 Lam Chun See Monday, August 17, 2009 at 12:25 pm

    I think 1965 has always been a more prominent date with big celebrations. It’s only becos of the nice 50 figure that they decide to give more publicity. I doubt the younger generation know or care about the difference. I think I will test my children and see how they do 🙂

  4. 4 Chere Wedding Planners Monday, April 15, 2013 at 7:44 pm

    Interesting blast from the past. Makes us wonder whether any of the people of that generation can predict how Singapore will be like, 50 plus years on.

  5. 5 die abnehm loesung Thursday, April 25, 2013 at 3:52 pm

    Wow that was strange. I just wrote an extremely long comment but after I clicked submit my comment didn’t appear. Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that over again.

    Anyways, just wanted to say wonderful blog!

  6. 6 Madeleine Wednesday, May 15, 2013 at 7:37 pm

    Thanks for sharing such a good thought, post
    is fastidious, thats why i have read it entirely

  7. 7 Ronald Queh Monday, February 23, 2015 at 2:46 pm

    SG50 as many echoed this year in 2015. SG50 = nation building or independence?


  1. 1 Happy 44th Birthday Singapore! | 新加坡部落格大奖 II Trackback on Monday, August 10, 2009 at 10:31 am
  2. 2 Happy 44th Birthday Singapore! « OMY BLOG CLUB Trackback on Wednesday, March 17, 2010 at 12:59 pm

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