Speech by President Halimah Yacob at the Launch of Singapore Bicentennial Experience

6 June, 2019

Photo: ‘Peeking for Hope’ from SRN Singapore Photobank

At the launch of the Singapore Bicentennial Experience on 30 May, President Halimah Yaacob gave the opening address to kickstart the multimedia art installation, a flagship event of the Bicentennial commemoration announced earlier this year. In her speech, Madam Halimah briefly recapped the better-known portion of Singapore’s history, beginning with Sang Nila Utama’s stake on our land, then known as Temasek, until Sir Stamford Raffles’ arrival more than 500 years later.

Madam Halimah also outlined the various programmes in store this year to mark the commemoration of the Bicentennial, and elaborated on three key traits that have been the hallmark of our Singaporean identity: openness and connectivity, multiculturalism and self-determination.

She also highlighted the 10th anniversary of the book Singapore: A 700-Year History (National Archives of Singapore, 2009), which has since been updated in conjunction with the Bicentennial and retitled Seven Hundred Years: A History of Singapore. The book is jointly authored by Professor Tan Tai Yong, Associate Professor Peter Borschberg and Honorary Adjunct Associate Professor Kwa Chong Guan from the NUS Department of History, as well as Associate Professor of Humanities Derek Heng from Yale-NUS College.

To complement both the multimedia installation and the newly-launched narrative of Singapore’s history, Madam Halimah also revealed the online component of the Singapore Bicentennial – 700years.sg, which features imagined social feeds of 25 historical characters and contribute to the education of both commonplace citizens’ and students’ understanding of Singapore history.

Madam Halimah concluded her opening speech by encouraging Singaporeans to reflect on what it means to be Singaporean, our history thus far and how we would continue writing the Singapore story hereon.

Read the full transcript here: https://www.istana.gov.sg/Newsroom/Speeches/2019/05/30/Speech-by-President-Halimah-Yacob-at-the-Launch-of-Singapore-Bicentennial-Experience