Commentary: From Singapore to Singaporeans, the making of a national identity

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The shared experiences of a historic arc that spanned a bicentennial are what make being Singaporean unique, says Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

SINGAPORE: We are commemorating Singapore’s bicentennial – 1819 was a turning point in our history.

Most of our forefathers maintained close links with their motherland. They arrived here in Nanyang as sojourners, intending to return to China one day. These included the"nanqiao jigong" , who returned to China to fight the Japanese. This was one reason why the Japanese carried out the Sook Ching Operation here after they captured Singapore in World War II, massacring tens of thousands of Chinese people in Singapore.

When we introduced National Service in 1967, the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry presented the first two batches of enlistees with medallions engraved with the words “National Service” and “尽忠报国” .


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