Friday, 11 September 2015

The wonders of Singapore after 50 years of independence


As Singapore moves on to 50 years of independence.....look at the stunning, awesome changes......
Singapore is undoubtedly one of the 20th century's greatest success stories,  with what used to be swampland now a sea of skyscrapers that is home to a proud  global business hub.
 
The tiny city-state and island nation, which is less than half the size of London, is currently in the midst of the biggest party in its short solo history as it masks 50 years since gaining full independence from Malaysia on August 9th 1965. 
 
As proud Singaporeans count down to the culmination of a year of celebrations over the long weekend from August 7th to 10th, telling images illustrate just how far the country has come in that short space of time.

Small transportation boats, known as bumboats, stack the
shore of  the Singapore River at Boat Quay in a photo dated Sept.27th 1965.  
The same Boat Quay location in May this year, with many of
the shop houses now skyscrapers and the bumboats largely absent.  
The mouth of the Singapore River and the city's General Post
Office (On the right) as reclamation works took place in Oct. 1976
                      
Now the post office is the Fullerton Hotel and the skyline is a sea of skyscrapers accommodating one of the world's top financial hubs. Once it was a city with hundreds of tiny boats, known as bumboats, crowding  areas of the Singapore river in areas such as Clark Quay in the city centre delivering goods to residents and moored vessels. Today such boats are far less in numbers and largely lit with neon lights for the amusement of the tourists. The large yachts of the country's well-heeled are  attraction in the own right-and the likes of Clark Quay are boosted by popular restaurants and pubs.
 
Labourers gathered on Read Bridge next to Singapore River in 1960, five years before the nation's independence from Malaysia.  
 
While maritime trade remains the city's backbone decades of meteoric growth has made Singapore one of the most densely populated nations and a thriving global financial base - the fourth largest in the world - for many large companies.
 

That same location as it now appears, with shopping centres and live music entertaining workers and tourists along the thoroughfare Singapore, with a population of about 5.5million people, now boasts the third highest GDP per capital in the world and one of the world's highest life expectancies (equal second with 83). 
 
The country colonised by the British in 1819 to become a significant port and self-governed from 1959, has for the past decade boasted one of the world's top two busiest container ports. The before and after from the angle of the Mount Faber to Sentosa cable car system during its opening in 1974 and now with the central business district, PSA International's Keppel and Brani container terminals show its immense emergence.
 
To mark their achievements Singapore's official celebrations included parades and festivities across the city, including the official declaration of Singapore Botanic Gardens as a World Heritage site. In the gardens will be a concert recreating the 'Aneka Ragam Ra'ayat' or 'People's Variety Show', which regularly took place there in 1959.
 
A massive parade on the actual anniversary of the signing of the Independence of Singapore Agreement on August 9th will be held where that event and many others significant in Singapore's history at the Padang. Organisers say the parade 'will foster a deep sense of national pride and showcase our country's defence capabilities and people.'
Contestants in Miss Universe 1987 pose next to the Merlion
statue, a tourist landmark, at the mouth of the Singapore River.  
A tourist takes a selfie in front of the Merlion statue as the
Lion-fish hybrid sprays water into the river with the risen skyline behind it.
The lights of bumboats glisten in front of the increasing
 prominent cityscape in Marina Bay in this photo taken in 2004.
 
Singapore's name as we know it in English comes from the Malay word, Singapura, which literally translated from Sanskrit means 'Lion City'. Sang Nila Utama, the founder who named it Singapura, most likely saw a Malayan tiger as lions likely never lived on the island.   
This hasn't stopped the city-state being known as the 'Lion City' or one of its most recognised landmarks, the Merlion Statue, being a lion with a mermaid tail.
 The statue originally sat in the mouth of the Singapore river but was relocated in 2002 because new developments in the area obscured the view of the statue. It was moved 120m to its current position so it could be visible from the waterfront.
 
The same location in 2015 with the lights of the
rising number of high rises shining and the
modern traffic speeding by.
Looking away from the city, a car travelled towards Malaya's
Johore Bahru on the Woodlands causeway in the 1950s.
Johore Bahru's growth has been modest since,
in comparison to Singapore, in the photo
of the same landscape in May 2015.
 
An everyday scene of humble bumboats moored outside basic shop houses along  Clark Quay
 in this photo taken in 1980.
A lick of paint and neon lights are among the modern
improvements to the restaurants and pubs of
Clarke Quay in 2015.
The Malaysian Grand Prix in March 1964 was in fact held  in
Modern-day Singapore on he Thompson Road Circuit.
The Singapore F1 Grand Prix is now a spectacular night race
on the Marina Bay street circuit showcasing
 the city's finest assets.
 
In a stark illustration of how far it's come globally, a shot of from the 1964 Malaysian Grand Prix (held in Singapore's Thompson Road Circuit) comes in contrast to today's Singapore Grand Prix, held at night on the Marina Bay street circuit.

A view of the port of Singapore and during the opening of the
Mount Faber to Sentosa cable car system in February 1974.
 
Now one of the world's top two busiest container ports, an updated version of the cable car continues to run over the skyline of the central business district and PSA International's Keppel (top left) and Brani (right) container terminals.  
 
Spectators gathered to watch the Powerboat Grand Prix along
the now built-up Marina Bay in Singapore in November 1986.
People wait for fireworks during a rehearsal for Golden Jubilee National Day Parade rehearsal along
the Marina Bay in June 2015.
 
Many thanks to CC Koh for sharing.


Lee Kuan Yew - The late no-nonsense founder
Prime Minister of Singapore. ( 1923-2015)
 
Alan CY Kok

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