Archive for the 'National Day' Category

Soft Drink Bottle Cap – Hor Lan Shui Koi

Every year after the National Day, I will get to see many pages about who and who getting the PBM and BBM awards or National Day Awards in the newspaper.

Credit : The Straits Times

Of course the PBM and BBM are part of the National Day Award and is given annually to those who have made outstanding contributions in public service or community work. You will be surprised that 3,195 individuals will be awarded this year 2010! But what does PBM and BBM means and what the awards about?

The Pingat Bakti Masyarakat (Public Service Medal) or PBM in short, was instituted in 1973. The medal may be awarded to any person who has rendered commendable public service in Singapore for his achievement in the field of arts and letters, sports, the sciences, business, the professions and the labour movement. Recipients are entitled to use the post-nominal letters PBM as shown below;

Credit : The Straits Times

I remember when I was staying with my parents, there was this RC (Resident Committee) chairman who was very active and enthusiastic in his role that you were able to see him appearing in very events held at the neighbourhood. I asked my father is he trying to get his “Hor Lan Shui Koi” (荷蘭水蓋, soft drink bottle cap) – and why is it called Hor Lan Shui, you may see my previous post. True enough, after some years of hard work, he was awarded the PBM. After that, he seems to have taken a back seat (a more leadership role than a doer role).

The PBM award;

What I remembered most about him was he would go round door to door selling the National Day dinner tickets. Once he knocked on our door and my mother answered it. She paid for the National Day dinner ticket for the dinner that held just below the flat (not at the restaurant or hotel). I thought it was just a few dollars or the most $10 but my mother told me it was much more than that, if I didn’t remember wrongly, was it $50? (my goodness, at that time for $50 I can watch Anita Mui Concert or have a buffet lunch at the top of Mandarin Hotel). Initially I thought the National Day dinner was a treat by the constituency MPs to reward the residents for supporting and voting for them…but….

OK when the dinner day arrived, I saw the workers roasting the piglets below and I told my mother that she was going to have roast piglet for dinner too (at least quite a consolation for the $50 paid). But my mother told me that not all tables were served with that and only the VIPs tables were served with roast piglets. Since then, I do not bother to open the door whenever someone trying to sell us the National Day dinner ticket (not because my mother don’t get to eat the roast piglet, but I felt that it was unfair treatment and it showed a class differentiation).

The Bintang Bakti Masyarakat (Public Service Star), instituted in 1963, is awarded to any person who has rendered valuable public service to the people of Singapore, or who has distinguished themselves in the field of arts and letters, sports, the sciences, business, the professions and the labour movement. Bars may be issued for further service. Recipients are entitled to use the post-nominal letters BBM just like the PBM. One thing I wonder – must one get the PBM first before one is awarded the BBM?

The BBM award;

Now why do the Cantonese said “荷蘭水蓋” when referring to those awards? I think the phrase came from Hong Kong people when they referred to those awards as “荷蘭水蓋” as the awards shape resembles the soft drink bottle cap;

Don’t you find the shape similar to the real awards;



Of course those who have been through the Singapore National Service will get their military decorations too, like mine;

Sometimes I find the Hong Kong people very creative – how they can relate the awards to soft drink bottle caps ‘荷蘭水蓋’. I think this must be some of the cultural differences that we can see in Hong Kong. Of course when we were young, many of us were playing with the bottle caps ‘荷蘭水蓋’. One of the most common games with the bottle caps is;

Do you still remember the above game?


What my father wrote;

“A little bird whispered it to me.” (Guess my father wrote the whispered wrongly)

“告密于我.” or “有人私下告诉我”

1st National Day Parade At The Padang

This year marks Singapore 45 years of independence and the 2010 National Day parade will be held at the Padang and old City Hall once again. Of course this year my Pri.5 daugther has the opportunity to watch the National Day Parade preview on 24 July 2010.

2010 NDP at the Padang.

This is probably part of the National Education but when I asked her about the words “Majulah Singapura” pinned on the top of the old City Hall mean, she replied “dunno”….and I wonder how many know what “Majulah Singapura” about. I’m thinking that’s bad, I better start teaching her social studies!

Part of the Funpack given during the National Day preview show.

“Majulah Singapura” (in Malay language) means “Onward Singapore” and is our Singapore’s National Anthem composed by Zubir Said in 1958. When Singapore attained full independence in 1965, “Majulah Singapura” was officially adopted as Singapore’s National Anthem. There are a few occasions where the “Majulah Singapura” words are pinned on the top of the old City Hall as you can see in the following posts.

Of course in this National Day post, I’m going to blog about something unique about those National Day parades held at the Padang and in which year the past Presidents had their first National Day Parade at the Padang.

The venue of the parade is usually at the Padang and the old City Hall, where the declaration of Singapore’s independence was held. In fact the old City Hall and Padang was used for the National Day parade even before Singapore achieved independence in 1965.  Below shows the photos of our National Day parade in 1963;

National Day parade in 3 June 1963 held at the old City Hall;

Credit : National Archives of Singapore, PICAS

Credit : Above 2 National Heritage Board

See the words “Majulah Singapura” pinned up on the top of City Hall in the above photos. Can you identify the Head of State in the 3rd photo? In case you have forgotten why are we celebrating National Day on 3 June, pls see my previous post here.

Below are our Singapore past and present Presidents first National Day Parade at the Padang and City Hall:

1. Late President Yusof bin Ishak first NDP in 1966 at the Padang;

The above 2 photos showed the Late President Yusof bin Ishak in full military attire attending the NDP in 1966 (our 1st NDP after full independence). Note that the NDP started at 9am sharp at that time!

2. Late President Benjamin Henry Sheares first NDP in 1971 at the Padang which was also his very first NDP as Singapore 2nd President;

3. Late President C. V. (Chengara Veetil) Devan Nair first NDP in 1982 at the Padang;

4. Late President Wee Kim Wee first NDP in 1987 at the Padang;

5. Late President Ong Teng Cheong first NDP in 1995 at the Padang;

6. President  S. R. Nathan first NDP in 2000 at the Padang;

I hope thru the above photos, we can remember some treasured moments our late presidents shared with us on National Day. As this year National Day is back to the old City Hall and Pandang (of course it’s no longer at 9am sharp), I wonder how many know the historic City Hall building was designated as a National Monument on Feb.14 in 1992.

BTW, this year National Day theme is “Live Our Dreams, Fly Our Flag”, did you fly the Singapore Flag?

What my father wrote;

“A small leak will sink a large ship.” or “A small leak will sink a great ship.”


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.

My Version Of Old Singapore Videos Remake For National Day 2008

This is my version of plagraism – a remake by editing all old Singapore videos together.

I give credit to all original sources, but it’s getting late now and I’ll put in the credits next few days time (pls bear with me). If I left you out, kindly inform me…

Thanks to Victor who SMS to highlight that video to me and gave me the inspiration. Took me 2 days to do it and rushing to post it up on National Day. Though it’s already 11.12pm now, hope you enjoyed it as it’s terribly done.


Let me append the following today;

Though it’s our 43rd National Day this year, but let’s not forget about our past. I’ve put together some old videos from some very good sources (credit to them) and hope you all like it. As I’m using the Adobe Premiere Element 1 (given free with videocam) and my pc is rather slow, so it had taken me quite sometime to do it. Moreover to convert videos from Youtube to .avi is rather slow…

Here are the credits to the original sources and should I left out any, pls let me know:

– Michael Rogge

– Rony Tan

– Dick Lee

– Kit Chan

– Hkgalbert

– Floser75


My First National Day on 3rd June

Credit : vPost.

My wife asked me a few days before National Day if I would like to buy the new National Day stamps (above). I immediately recalled I’ve one very special National Day stamp below;

What so special about the above stamp of mine? 2 things you must take note – 1. Date was 3rd June 1961 and 2. The “State Of Singapore” instead of “Republic Of Singapore”.

Maybe it’s a printing error that National Day was 3rd June in 1961, you may said. But no no, from 1960 to 1963 our National Day was on 3rd June. Let me show you with the use of stamps.

In fact our first National Day issued stamps were on 3rd June 1960. You may wonder why is that so if we gained independence on 9 August 1965 right? Before I proceed, here are our first National Day stamps;

So why was our National Day on 3rd June then? Let’s take a peek at my son’s Pri. 5 Social Studies textbook two years ago… Under the Chapter 2 “Steps towards 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.

So when Singapore achieved full internal self-government in 1959 after the election, it became known as the “State Of Singapore”. In that year, British symbols were replaced by Singapore’s National symbols and Yusof bin Ishak became our first local Head of State.

The above stamps were issued on 1st June 1959 to celebrate Internal Self-Government and note the “State of Singapore” printed on them. The portrait of Queen Elizabeth 2nd was printed on the top right hand corner.

Below are the National Day Stamps issued on 3rd June from 1961 to 1963;

Then why the 3rd June National Day stamps end in 1963 and not 1965 (the year we gained independence from Malaysia)? OK, let’s continue with the history…

Singapore became a part of Federation of Malaya on 16 September 1963 together with Sabah and Sarawak to form Malaysia. However, the merger didn’t last long…the shocking news that Singapore’s exit from Malaysia on 9 August 1965 may be a disbelief to many.

Credit : SPH, Straits Times.

Though we gained indepedence on 9 Aug 1965, we didn’t have our National Day on 9 Aug until 1966. That year we celebrated our First Anniversary of Republic with these stamps;

In 1967, we finally had our own Republic of Singapore National Day Parade stamps on 9 Aug;

So I celebrated my First National Day on 3rd June 1962!


Blog Directory & Search engine singapore blog directory Personal Blogs - Blog Catalog Blog Directory
I am a Supporter of

Blog Stats

  • 1,239,149 hits
April 2020