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A beautiful oath of allegiance in Singapore

By Pascale Hummel - (GenAmi n° 21, September 2002)
Tranlation in English: Gaby Laws

The 9th August is the National Festival of Singapore and we were invited to attend the parade. We received a commemorative booklet which contained their oath of allegiance. The population is a mix of Chinese, Indians, Malaysians, and Indonesians and they represent many religions: Buddhists, Hindus, Christians, Jews, Moslems, Sikhs, Taoist ….etc. To my knowledge, they live together in harmony. It is not rare to see a Hindu temple, a mosque and a church, all in the same street. If a place is representative of peace amongst nations then Singapore is it.

"We, citizen of Singapore, pledge ourselves as one united people, regardless of race, language or religion, to build a democratic society based on justice and equality so as to achieve happiness, prosperity and progress for our nation."

The oath was written by Mr Rajaratnam in 1966 following the racial problems which took place in the fifties and sixties. It is thought that race and religion caused division but this oath shows that these differences can be overcome if people feel sufficiently concerned about their country. The oath was submitted to the then Prime Minister Mr Lee Kuan Yew who submitted it to Parliament.

A Little History

This is a small country made up of a large island and several small islands to the south of Malaysia.
Synagogue de Singapour

Synagogue of Singapore

Under British administration since 1826, the opening of the Suez Canal in 1859 developed Singapore’s harbour. The industrial development and the diversification of activities allowed it to overcome the crisis of 1930. Due to the fear of a Japanese invasion the British built a significant naval base but it did not prevent the arrival of the Nipponese from the north. Singapore was occupied from Feb 1942 to Sept 1945. In 1953 the Peoples’ Action Party (P.A.P.) lead by Lee Kuan Yew set up a constitution and on 16th Sept 1963 joined the Malaysian Federation. Difficulties multiplied from 1964, Indonesian sabotage against Singapore and Malaysia, the result of which was the proclamation of the Independence of the republic of Singapore on 9th Aug 1965.

Since then all elections have resulted in, all or nearly all, the seats going to P.A.P whose ‘muscular democracy’ manages Singapore with astonishing affect: total media control, suppression of strikes, industrial development, harbour activity, money market of Asia, A.S.E.A.N ….etc.

On 30th June 1996 of the 3,044,300 people in Singapore, 77,5 p. 100 are of Chinese origin, 14,2 p 100 of Malayan origin, 7,1 p 100 of Indian origin and Chinese (Madarin), Malay, Tamil and English are official languages along with numerous dialects. (Encyclopedia Britannica).