Photo of Teo Chee Hean from Mediacorp

In a Public Service Commission scholarship presentation ceremony today (July 21), Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean said that the PAP Government and its civil service built one flat every 50 minutes and one school every month during Singapore’s founding years:

“Much of what Singapore today, is the result of hard work put in by the nation’s early public service officers. In the past 50 years, our public officers have worked closely with our political leadership and Singaporeans in our nation-building journey – from Third World to First.

The work has been intensive, with was one flat built every 50 minutes, and one school built every month.”

Photo of Teo Chee Hean from Mediacorp
Photo of Teo Chee Hean from Mediacorp

With no mention to Singaporeans’ forefathers, the DPM continue to wax lyrical about the importance of his government:

“The work of our public officers has transformed the lives of Singaporeans – bringing peace, progress and prosperity. Compared to our early years, Singaporeans today enjoy a better standard of living, have better-paying jobs in a more diversified economy, and feel safer and more secure as they go about their daily lives.

All this would not have been possible without able, honest and dedicated public officers – serving in and leading the Public Service. Because our Pioneer and subsequent generations of public officers painstakingly built up the values, systems, processes and infrastructure in the Service, we now have an effective, efficient and trusted Public Service that is well-regarded at home and abroad”

However, Singapore before Independence was nowhere a Third World country. In fact, most countries even the Scandinavian ones in Europe were devastated and rebuilding after World War 2. Nearly all countries with the sole exception for the United States were considered “third world” during the 1950s.

Below is a photo taken at 1961, four years before Singapore’s Independence:

Photo by The Straits Times
Photo by The Straits Times1

Contrary to official statements, Singapore was not a third world country but a thriving entrepot earmarked as the “Crown Colony” by the British Empire in South East Asia. Much of Singapore’s infrastructure today, be it buildings, railway tracks, roads to its judiciary system and the police, and the statutory boards and public services like telecommunications, post offices and newspapers are already in place before the current ruling PAP Government took over and inherited them from Britain. Below is a clip of Singapore in its 1950:

Unfortunately in government-controlled news media and education textbooks, Singaporeans were not taught much about Singapore before Independence and its first dictator-Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew.