There were many changes that were made by the Government of Singapore after independence in 1965. These changes include Singapore’s military cooperation with other countries and the introduction of Nation Service to build Singapore’s defense industry as well as the creation of national symbols and pledge to invoke a sense of belonging in Singaporeans. These changes have transformed our lives for the better as we now proudly call ourselves Singaporeans and also feel safe and secure all the time.
Feelings towards being a Singaporean
After Singapore’s independence, as not everyone felt a sense of belonging towards Singapore as they were more focused on their personal life. As such, the government was anxious that some people were not concerned for the future of Singapore and thus created the national symbols- national flag, national anthem and state crest, to forge a common identity among the people in Singapore. In 1965, the Ministry of Education suggested to compose a pledge that would also help to encourage Singaporeans to be united by setting aside the different race, language and religion to become a nation with loving people of one heart, one mind and one spirit. Hence, through this change, people started to feel a sense of belonging to Singapore as they felt that certain values and attitudes have to be shared to maintain a racially harmonious country. People were loyal and had the urge to fight for Singapore. In addition, students had to take pledge in school everyday. Although it was very different at first, with the passage of time, they got used to it and had a better understanding of it. Moreover, National Service was introduced to foster a sense of belonging to the country as it will urge people to stand up for Singapore.
Sense of national security
As the British decided to withdraw their military forces from Singapore by 1971, the government was concerned about Singapore’s vulnerability to security threats. Therefore, Dr Goh Keng Swee and officials from the Ministry of the Interior and Defense (MID) introduced National Service (NS) to all Singaporeans and PRs in 1967 for all men aged 18-19 who are physically fit to go through training. This allowed them to have more manpower in the army to help defend Singapore after the British announced to withdraw their military defenses. The introduction of NS changed their lives and was significant as it developed some degree of independence and confidence among the NS men and acted as a platform for racial integration and comradeship while strengthening Singapore’s defense.
Along with NS, there were also military cooperation with other countries in 1971 in which Australia, New Zealand, Britain, Singapore and Malaysia established a series of agreements to enhance the security of the region. Under these agreements, joint military exercises were conducted and member countries were to consult each other should Singapore or Malaysia face any external threats.
A defense industry, which was the Chartered Industries of Singapore (CIS) was established as well in 1967 to provide weapons for the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) to reduce its reliance on other countries for supply of weapons and other military equipment.
Done By: Siang Ying, Viba, Jing En Deekshitha and Lakshmi