How far were people’s lives transformed after independence?

After separating from Malaysia, Singapore faced many internal problems. Aside from the severe problem of internal and external security, the Singapore government had to overcome other major  challenges, like employment opportunities and living conditions, to help transform the people’s lives in Singapore after independence.


In the past, people in Singapore were worried that the lack of employment would affect their livelihoods. Singapore was experiencing severe unemployment at the time, with 14.3 percent of the working population unable to find jobs. It worsened every year as up to 20000 school-leavers joined the workforce annually.  However, the lack of unemployment in Singapore worsened with the withdrawal of Britain military during mid 1970.

Firstly, To boost employment, in the mid-1960s, multinational corporations set up factories in Singapore and provided Singaporeans with employment. They also provided Singaporean workers with valuable technical training and work experience. These companies helped to employ more than 19,000 workers by the time they were in full production in the following year.

Secondly, Another way to boost employment opportunities was to boost Tourism. it is important to Singapore’s economy because tourist spending could lead to economic growth and an increase in employment opportunities in tourism-related industries.

Google office in Singapore


Thirdly, the development of finance industries secured the employment of industrial workers and provided opportunities for Singaporeans to be employed in the financial sector. The Monetary Authority of Singapore, built in 1973, nurtured the growth of the financial sector and supported Singapore’s newly developed industries through the provision of services such as loans and monetary exchange facilities. it also attracted foreign banks as it built the investor’s confidence to set up their offices in Singapore and thus provide opportunities for Singaporeans to be employed in the financial sector. The establishment of the Stock Exchange of Singapore in 1973 helped to better facilitate investment in local companies as it allowed companies to sell stocks to investors to grow their business.

By the late 1970s, Singapore’s economy grew rapidly and the unemployment rate had fallen to as low as 3.5 percent as compared to about 10 percent in 1965. Hence, With economic growth, more people had jobs and steady incomes and These enabled them to afford essential items and improve their quality of life.


Before independence, Singaporeans lived in shophouseImage result for SINGAPORE KAMPONGs, squatter settlements and

HDB flats in 1960s

kampongs. Singaporeans faced overcrowding and the Singapore Improvement Trust (SIT) was unable to build sufficient houses to cater to the growing population. Hence, the Housing and Development Board (HDB) was set up in 1960 and Lim Kim San was appointed the first chairman. HDB implemented a housing programme that sought to build new flats quickly, located away from the city area. CPF was implemented to increase home ownership among Singaporeans in 1968 and reduce rents and utility bills. There were 530000 new flats built by 1965 and then nearly 43 percent of Singapore’s population lived in HDB flats by 1974. Overcrowding was reduced when HDB allocated families into HDB flats of other parts of Singapore. Singaporeans had access to modern facilities such as toilet facilities, electrical and water supplies and thus was an attraction for people to move away from cities to prevent overcrowding. There was also better garbage disposal system a cleaner environment and easier access to work. However, the flat was smaller and the locals did not feel the camaraderie among them unlike the past in kampongs.

Done by: Shu Han (2), Wen Xin (3), Jing Hui (11), Zoey Ching (24) and Jasper Tan (27)


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