Aspirations people have for Singapore after 1945

After the Japanese Occupation, some people began to question the British right to rule Singapore and considered alternatives to British colonial rule. Different people had different aspirations after the return of the British in 1945. These are the aspirations most people had for Singapore from 1945 to 1965.

From 1945 – 1959, one of the aspirations most of the people had for Singapore was to be politically involved in Singapore’s future. After the return of the British, many people questioned the British superiority and found it unfair that they held the most important positions in Singapore. More people are also born locally and more people started taking an interest in how Singapore was ruled. When they were given the right to vote in the 1955 Elections, many people were able to vote for a party that best represented their interest, making them more politically involved and help change Singapore’s future for a better life. Therefore, most people aspired to be politically involved in Singapore’s future as they wanted a better life.

Another aspiration most people had from 1945 – 1959 was to protect workers’ interests. And so, due to this aspiration, most people voted for Labour Front as they sought to protect workers’ interests. David Marshall, Labour Front’s leader, was concerned about the welfare of the people and was active in discussing issues. And so, they believed that working with the British to attain self-government would give them the opportunity to protect workers’ rights and working conditions for the people of Singapore. Hence, protection of workers’ interests was one of the people’s aspiration from 1945 – 1959 as they felt that the British colonial government sided with the employers and did little to protect workers ’interests.

In the 1959 General Elections, People’s Action Party won the elections. As more people voted for PAP than Singapore People’s Alliance (formerly Labour Front), it shows that people had aspirations when they voted for PAP. These are some of the aspirations people had from 1959 – 1965.

One of the aspirations most people had from 1959 – 1965 when People’s Action Party (PAP) won the election was to have a better life. As the PAP was elected, their goals were to change Singapore into a better place for the people to live in. They improved public works and general welfare, housing, schools and employment as PAP’s motto was to give the people a better life in Singapore. For example, street lamps and water standpipes are installed to provide street lighting and piped water for the people. More houses were also able to enjoy amenities such as gas and telephone services. Schools were also built and teachers were recruited to provide more educational opportunities for the people and school enrollment also increased rapidly from 1959 to 1963. Under employment, more factories that are manufacturing goods such as cotton wool, mirrors, clothing and condensed milk were built. These factories increased the number of job opportunities, allowing more people to get jobs, to increase their family income and to improve their life. Thus, during 1959 – 1965, most people aspired to have a better life as they voted for PAP which said they will improve the people’s lives.

Another aspiration people had from 1959 – 1965 was the merger with Malaya. PAP was discussing for a merger with Malaya and the possibility for it. It was because PAP believed in merger because it could solve some of the problems faced in 1519. British colonial government did not want to grant Singapore independence as they thought Singapore was too small to survive on its own. However, PAP believed that the British would grant Singapore independence if it became part of the Federation of Malaya. The Malayan government introduced taxes on goods traded between Singapore and Malaya after Malaya gained independence. This makes limited trade between them. Singapore hoped that a common market could be established through merger. The trade between Malaya and Singapore would increase, creating more jobs for each other. Therefore, most people aspired for merger with Malaya from 1959 – 1965.

These are all the aspirations people had for Singapore from 1945 to 1965.

Done by: Wen Xin, Jing Hui, Roshan, Harman and Jasper

Class: 2/6E

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