New Year's Eve 2023

What Does 'Auld Lang Syne' Really Mean?

The grand finale to the holiday season, New Year's Eve, comes with watching the ball drop live and mixing up New Year's drinks, but of course there's also plenty of emotional reflection on the past year and the year ahead (we've got New Year's quotes for that!). While things may look very different this year, the traditional New Year's Eve song "Auld Lang Syne" will likely still find its way to your ears sometime during the holiday season as the world rings in 2021.

Chances are, you've been part of a festive, heartfelt "Auld Lang Syne" singalong when someone breaks out New Year's songs, but do you know the real meaning behind the song? Here, a quick refresher on the traditional tune you'll hear on December 31:

What does "Auld Lang Syne" mean? Originally written in a language called Scots, which is an ancient twist on English barely recognizable to modern-day English speakers, the phrase literally translates to "old long since," but has adopted a more fluid definition along the lines of "for old time's sake" or "the olden days."

Where does "Auld Lang Syne" come from? The phrase technically dates from the 16th century (think 1580s—truly vintage), but was solely an oral tradition for the first few hundred years. It was not formally written down until around 1788, when the poet Robert Burns incorporated the phrase into one of his works. (Burns is the most commonly credited poet, though other names have appeared in various histories of the phrase.) He was so enamored with the phrase and its esteemed place in Scottish traditions that he submitted his poem to the Scots Musical Museum to preserve it forever.


Singapore-China Bilateral Projects

Singapore-China bilateral projects can go beyond local and regional levels

Countries need to “build bridges and not walls” in order to navigate the many shared challenges in a highly interconnected world, Minister-in-charge of the Public Service Chan Chun Sing said during his four-day visit to China, which ends on Wednesday (Sep 13). He called for closer international cooperation and urged nations to play their roles in upholding and shaping the global rules in order to collectively progress ahead. “We must work towards developing a multi-dimensional global cooperation system,” Mr Chan said on Tuesday during the opening ceremony of the Singapore-China Forum on Leadership in Beijing.

“(This is a) system that is anchored by the rules-based multilateral system, where all countries, big and small, play by the rules, have an interest to upkeep the rules and continuously refresh the rules for the new and emerging challenges.” Mr Chan, who is also Singapore’s Education Minister, added that the system needs to be backed by new structures and greater cross-border cooperation to strengthen the speed and effectiveness of global action to address transboundary challenges, including disease outbreaks and climate change. On the economic front, he said that resilience is best achieved through diversification and interdependence, urging a push for global integration through the strengthening of multilateralism and the upholding of an international rules-based order.

Projects between Singapore’s and China’s governments can be “refreshed” to spearhead new growth, evolving beyond local and regional levels to include international partnerships, Mr Chan said during the bilateral leadership forum. He said projects such as the Suzhou Industrial Park, the Tianjin Eco-city and the Chongqing Connectivity Initiative, have enabled both countries to support each other’s development through cooperation and knowledge exchange. “Looking ahead, these government-to-government projects can be refreshed to trail blaze new development models of high-quality growth and experiment innovative approaches of governance,” he said.

Singapore to keep finding ways to add value to China, says DPM Lawrence Wong
(From left) National Development Minister Desmond Lee, DPM Lawrence Wong and Acting Transport Minister Chee Hong Tat speaking to media in Beijing on Dec 8. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

Singapore has to constantly find ways to provide value to its relationship with China, whether it is in sharing its experience in grappling with an ageing population or linking China with the wider region.

At the same time, the world’s second-largest economy, with its considerable strengths today, also offers lessons for Singapore.

More than three decades since establishing bilateral relations, the relationship is now one of mutual learning and collaboration, said Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong. Speaking to Singapore media as he wrapped up a four-day visit to China, DPM Wong, flanked by his Cabinet colleagues Desmond Lee and Chee Hong Tat, said that Singapore, in its role as a reliable and trusted partner, can also connect China to the wider region.

Singapore-China project in Guangzhou to speed up expansion
PM Lee touring Yongqingfang, a cultural conservation area of historical buildings, in Guangzhou on Tuesday. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

Singapore companies are raring to plunge back into the Chinese market following its post-Covid-19 reopening, prompting a joint Singapore-China development project in Guangzhou to speed up its expansion by four months.

The second phase of the China-Singapore Smart Park, which focuses on tech innovation and smart cities, will be completed in June ahead of its October timeline. It is sited within the China-Singapore Guangzhou Knowledge City, where Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong made his first stop on Tuesday, on the second day of his official visit to China.

The 232 sq km township, about an hour north of Guangzhou’s city centre, was started in 2010 as a private sector-led endeavour to grow high-tech industries integrated with residential, commercial and recreational developments. There, PM Lee visited the China-Singapore International Joint Research Institute, which was jointly set up by Nanyang Technological University and South China University of Technology, and focuses on research areas such as artificial intelligence, new energy, green buildings and pollution control. He also spoke to some companies at the International LaunchPad, a one-stop service platform within the smart park for companies wanting to enter the China market.

S'pore, China to continue cooperation in bilateral projects; 10 MOUs, agreements signed
The memoranda of understanding and agreements were signed at the 16th Joint Council for Bilateral Cooperation on Dec 8, 2020. ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN

The Prime Minister's Office provided on Tuesday (Dec 8) updates to three bilateral projects between Singapore and China, namely the China-Singapore Suzhou Industrial Park, Sino-Singapore Tianjin Eco-City and China-Singapore (Chongqing) Demonstration Initiative on Strategic Connectivity (CCI).

The statement noted that both countries will "strengthen cooperation in new areas such as healthcare and biomedical services, and modern services" in Suzhou, while tapping the China (Jiangsu) Pilot Free Trade Zone to test out innovations. Suzhou is a city in Jiangsu province in eastern China. Both countries also agreed to continue deepening efforts to promote the success of Tianjin Eco-City to other cities in China and countries along China's Belt and Road initiative, given that the eco-city in northern China is at the forefront of sustainable development.

Leaders noted that good progress had also been made on the China-Singapore (Chongqing) Demonstration Initiative on Strategic Connectivity, in areas such as financial services, aviation, transport and logistics, and information and communications technology. "In particular, the CCI-New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor has played a useful role in promoting trade and connectivity, and ensuring the resilience of supply chains between South-east Asia and Western China through the mutual hubs of Singapore and Chongqing amidst the pandemic," the PMO said.

Singapore, China sign nine cooperation agreements, MoUs
Singapore and China have signed nine agreements and Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) in various fields such as customs clearance, intellectual property management, education, innovation and communications, and smart city development

Singapore and China have signed nine agreements and Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) in various fields such as customs clearance, intellectual property management, education, innovation and communications, and smart city development.

Singapore’s Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat and China’s Vice Premier Han Zheng witnessed the signing of these deals after the conclusion of the Joint Council for Bilateral Cooperation (JSBC) meeting in Chongqing on October 15. The two government officials also reviewed the bilateral cooperation as well as economic transformation and trade liberalisation, financial cooperation, and state-level bilateral cooperation projects. Heng said that collaboration between Singapore and China must progress with time, as both countries have embarked on a new phase of development.

He also highlighted common challenges facing Singapore and China, including environmental protection, food security and an aging population. The two officials reaffirmed the commitment to free and open trade and announced the start of the Singapore-China Free Trade Agreement Upgrade Protocol.

Third Singapore-China project to be based in Chongqing: Xi
SINGAPORE SOUVENIR: (from left) Madam Peng Liyuan, President Xi Jinping, President Tony Tan, Mrs Mary Tan and Pathlight School student Glenn Phua at the Istana on Friday. Glenn's painting of the Singapore Botanic Gardens was presented to the Chinese president

THE third Singapore-China government-led project will be based in Chongqing, Chinese President Xi Jinping said at a state banquet at the Istana on Friday night.

"During my visit, the two sides will officially launch the third project based in Chongqing," he said. The bilateral project will be on the theme of "modern connectivity and modern services", and could help lower the cost of doing business in China's western region.

Singapore and China will sign an agreement on Saturday to kick-start the project, which is a highlight of Mr Xi's two-day state visit to Singapore. The other two cities in contention for the project in western China were Chengdu and Xi'an.

Singapore-China ties: 7 things to know about 25 years of diplomatic relations
Then Singapore Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew (centre), his wife Kwa Geok Choo (second from left) and Chinese Premier Hua Kuo-feng (left) waving during Mr Lee's visit to China in May 1976. PHOTO: ST FILE

Singapore and China mark 25 years of diplomatic relations this year.

On Friday (Nov 6), President Xi Jinping and his wife Peng Liyuan will make their first state visit to Singapore. In many ways, the ties between Singapore, a city-state of 5.5 million, and China, a behemoth with 1.4 billion people, have been unique.

Here are seven things about the two countries' relationship:
  • 1. Handshake seals the deal - Singapore and China established diplomatic relations on Oct 3, 1990 at the United Nations complex in New York.
  • 2. Why did it take so long? - The ceremony took place 14 years after former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew's first visit to China in 1976.
  • 3. Back in the 1970s - Way before 1990, the friendship between the late Mr Lee and China patriarch Deng Xiaoping set the tone for Singapore-China ties.
  • 4. Sending ambassadors - A year after ties were formalised, Singapore sent its first ambassador to China. Mr Cheng Tong Fatt was in China for seven years. Before becoming a diplomat, he was permanent secretary of the Ministry of Culture.
  • 5. We mean business - China is now Singapore's largest trade partner, with two-way trade reaching S$121.5 billion last year. In January 2014, Singapore became China's largest foreign investor for the first time with US$7.3 billion worth of investments in 2013.
  • 6. Joint projects - Economic ties between Singapore have always been governed by pragmatism. Trade between Singapore and China did not stop even at the height of the Cold War.
  • 7. Panda diplomacy - Pandas Kai Kai and Jia Jia created a stir when they arrived in Singapore in 2012. They are on a 10-year loan from China. The loan, announced in 2009, was to mark 20 years of diplomatic ties between the two nations.

Singapore Foreign Policy: People's Republic of China

Singapore enjoys longstanding and substantive relations with the People’s Republic of China (PRC), anchored by frequent high-level exchanges, multifaceted cooperation, growing people-to-people exchanges, and robust economic ties.  In 2015, Singapore and China celebrated the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations and released a Joint Statement that characterised bilateral relations as an “All-Round Cooperative Partnership Progressing with the Times”. Singapore and China are celebrating the 30th anniversary of the establishment of our diplomatic relations in 2020.

Since 2013, China has been Singapore’s largest trading partner, and Singapore has been China’s largest foreign investor.  Following PRC President Xi Jinping’s State Visit to Singapore in 2015, both sides agreed to launch negotiations to upgrade the China-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (CSFTA) which had entered into force on 1 January 2009.  The upgrade of the CSFTA was concluded in November 2018 and the signing of the CSFTA Upgrade Protocol was witnessed by PM Lee Hsien Loong and Premier Li Keqiang during the latter’s Official Visit to Singapore in conjunction with the 33rd ASEAN Summit and Related Summits.  It comprised a meaningful and substantive package in terms of market access for Singapore’s export of goods and services into China and provided greater transparency and predictability for business activities between the companies from Singapore and China.

Singapore and China have established three Government-to-Government projects, namely (a) the China-Singapore Suzhou Industrial Park; (b) the Sino-Singapore Tianjin Eco-City; and (c) the China-Singapore (Chongqing) Demonstration Initiative on Strategic Connectivity. We have also established a state-level bilateral level cooperation project, the China-Singapore Guangzhou Knowledge City and several private sector-led, government-supported projects such as the Singapore-Sichuan Hi-Tech Innovation Park, the Nanjing Eco High-Tech Island, and the Jilin Food Zone. In addition, we also launched the Singapore-China (Shenzhen) Smart City Initiative. At the provincial level, we have eight provincial business and economic councils with Sichuan, Shandong, Liaoning, Zhejiang, Tianjin, Guangdong, Jiangsu and Shanghai. Since the mid-1990s, more than 50,000 Chinese officials have come to Singapore for various study visits and training programmes. Despite the challenges brought about by COVID-19, both sides have maintained close bilateral cooperation. Singapore and China launched a fast lane in early June 2020 to allow for essential business and official travel with six Chinese provinces/municipalities. This fast lane was Singapore’s first with another partner, and China’s first with a Southeast Asian country.

Suzhou Industrial Park: 30 years on
The industrial park was established on 26 February 1994

The China-Singapore Suzhou Industrial Park (SIP) project was launched in 1994 to develop a model industrial township within the city of Suzhou in China’s Jiangsu province. The first flagship joint project between the two governments, a key feature of the SIP involves the transfer of Singapore’s “software” – industrial development model and public-administration experience – to China. At the time, China was keen to study Singapore’s development model, while Singapore saw China as an important market for the country’s regionalisation drive. Both governments believed that the SIP, developed and managed based on Singapore’s approach, would be attractive for foreign direct investments. Profitable since 2001, the Singapore–China cooperation zone currently spans an area of 80 sq km.5 Besides industrial developments, the integrated township also encompasses residential areas, commercial and recreational facilities, as well as educational institutions.

The origin of the SIP project can be traced to former Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping, who mentioned during his tour of southern China in February 1992 that the country could learn from Singapore in the areas of economic and social development. In Singapore, then Senior Minister Lee Kuan Yew saw China’s interest in the city-state as an opportunity that could benefit both countries. During a visit to China between September and October 1992, Lee expressed intent for a bilateral project through which Singapore would share its experience.7 On 18 December 1992, an agreement to confirm the mutual interest to develop an industry township in Suzhou was signed between the Singapore Labour Foundation (SLF) International and the Suzhou government.8 Thereafter, Lee sent a proposal for cooperation to China’s then vice-premier Zhu Rongji, which entailed a government-to-government transfer of Singapore’s knowhow in the development of an industrial township in Suzhou.9 Specifically, a 70-square-kilometre parcel of land in the east of Suzhou was selected for the proposed project.

On 26 February 1994, Lee and then Chinese vice-premier Li Lanqing signed the government-to-government agreement on software transfer and joint development of a special economic zone in Suzhou to better attract foreign investors. Also inked on the same day was the commercial agreement on the formation of the joint venture, with 65 percent of its shares owned by SSTD and 35 percent by a Chinese consortium, the Suzhou United Development Company (SUDC). The joint-venture entity known as the China-Singapore Suzhou Industrial Park Development Company (CSSD) – comprising SSTD and SUDC – was responsible for the development, management and commercial viability of the SIP.16 The two countries also established a joint steering council – first co-chaired by Li Lanqing and Singapore’s then Deputy Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong – to review and tackle any key issues on the township project. A ground-breaking ceremony for the SIP was held on 12 May 1994.


Singapore Time Capsules

200 years of Singapore history through time capsules
Visitors looking at some of the objects on display as part of National Heritage Board's new exhibition of time capsules, Frozen in Time, at the Toa Payoh Public Library on Nov 9, 2017. ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

Floating in the oceans today are 26 time capsules from Singapore, lost in 1974 after being released off Raffles Lighthouse for a research project on tides and currents. Each 43-year-old capsule literally contains time: a Citizen Blackie watch or coupon to redeem the same. A watch that could have been in one of these time capsules is on display at the Toa Payoh Public Library.

Until Nov 29, the library hosts Frozen In Time: Time Capsules In Singapore, an exhibition summarising two centuries of Singapore's history through its time capsules. Over 50 capsules have been created in Singapore over the past 200 years. The exhibition is produced by the National Heritage Board (NHB) and will be hosted in turn by seven other libraries over the next 12 months. It features 40 objects of the same age and make as those buried in local time capsules. None of the displayed objects are, however, recovered from existing capsules.

The display includes coins no longer in circulation, books, and devices that would have been on the cutting-edge of technology at the time, such as an electronic memory game or a pager. Visitors can handle or play with some of the objects and make their own time capsules out of paper models.

Frozen in Time: Time Capsules in Singapore

Time capsules are like buried treasure chests in which items are preserved for the future. When opened, these time capsules provide us with snapshots of the eras during which they were buried. Time capsules come in many shapes and sizes, but they all contain items that the people and institutions of Singapore have chosen to represent themselves and their milestones. These items also represent the way that the makers of the time capsules hope to be remembered. NHB’s Frozen in Time: Time Capsules in Singapore travelling exhibition in 2018 provided an overview of the history of time capsules in Singapore and offer interesting facts about some of these time capsules and their contents.

In Singapore, many time capsules have been buried over the past 200 years, often to commemorate important events. These include time capsules buried during the colonial period, after Singapore’s independence and even in recent years. Singapore’s oldest known time capsule was buried in 1843 and rediscovered by workers involved in the restoration of the Cathedral of the Good Shepherd. The capsule was found under the cathedral's foundation stone in 2016. Its contents reflected the diversity of the communities in Singapore even during the nation’s early years. The items from this time capsule are now on display at the cathedral’s heritage gallery. The gallery is open to visitors and also features other items which are of significance to the heritage of Singapore’s Catholic community.

One time capsule from the colonial era provides insights into life in Singapore just before World War II. It was buried on 1 April 1937 under the foundation stone of the former Supreme Court, which is now part of the National Gallery Singapore. The date on which the time capsule was buried marked the 70th anniversary of the Straits Settlements (now Singapore and parts of Malaysia) as a British Colony separate from India. The former Supreme Court itself was a symbol for justice and the rule of law under the British. The time capsule is scheduled to be opened only in the year 3000 with the smashing of the foundation stone. This seven-foot stone forms part of the floor in the former Supreme Court building and visitors can still see it at the National Gallery Singapore today. During the early years of Singapore’s independence, a number of time capsules were launched. These time capsules contained items that symbolised the hopes of the young nation.


For young Singaporeans today, pagers are clunky and unfamiliar devices, obsolete in today’s day and age. Yet, back in the 1980s –1990s, pagers were such an important part of our daily lives that a pager was chosen as one of the objects to be sealed in a time capsule in 1984, as part of celebrations for Singapore’s 25th year of self-government.

Members of the public can now find out more about such memorabilia and the time capsules that contained them at Frozen in Time: Time Capsules in Singapore, a new travelling exhibition produced by the National Heritage Board (NHB) to showcase the history of time capsules in Singapore. Visitors can also view some of the 40 objects on display, which are similar to those contained in the time capsules.

Since the 19th century, there have been more than 50 time capsules created in Singapore. Some have been uncovered, some placed on display, while others remain buried. Likened to treasure chests for the future, these time capsules commemorate important milestone events, embody precious memories, and tell stories that may have been forgotten, for the benefit of future generations. While some of the memorabilia are everyday items and not commonly thought of as treasures, or are even obsolete by today’s technological standards, they nonetheless tell the story of life in Singapore over the years, and bear witness to our nation’s development.

Old pager & phone cards among the many random things placed inside S'pore's time capsules

Time capsules preserve history through various objects. They commemorate milestones, record precious memories, and tell forgotten stories.

Since the 19th century, there have been over 50 time capsules created in Singapore. The oldest recorded time capsule in Singapore was buried in 1843. Among its items were newspapers, coins and a prayer booklet, serving as evidence for international trade and cultural diversity in 19th century Singapore.

Up till today, time capsules have continued to serve as glimpses into the past.

SG50 time capsule filled with items chosen, created by S’poreans
The public voted for replicas of POSB collaterals in the 1970s and 80s, as well as football memorabilia from Singapore's win at the Malaysia Cup final in 1994 to be included in the capsule. Photos: Channel NewsAsia

A collection of items representing Singapore’s identity and journey as a nation, has been identified to be placed into an SG50 time capsule at Gardens by the Bay. It will be opened in 2065. The items which were chosen following a two-month public voting exercise, include national symbols and memorabilia. Some of them were donated by the public.

Mr Zaher Wahab, 34, has been collecting local football memorabilia since he was in primary school. It is his way of reliving memorable moments, such as Singapore’s win at the Malaysia Cup final in 1994. “For the 1994 final, I remembered that there were a lot of people in the stadium. I was 12 and it was that year that I finished PSLE,” he said. “My dad promised me that we will go and watch this match if I studied hard. When Abbas scored the hat trick and then Fandi scored another one, I cried because obviously it was really amazing. It was the first overseas match that I went to watch with my family.”

When Mr Zaher heard that there would be an SG50 time capsule that would be opened when Singapore celebrates SG100, he thought it apt to make a contribution. “I donated the ticket stub from the 1994 final. I also donated a commemorative t-shirt,” he said. “In 2065, I would be around 80. Hopefully, I will still be around and I will want to show my grandchildren this is what your granddad donated, to help them relive the past.”

6 interesting facts about SG50 and other time capsules unearthed
Finance Minister Goh Keng Swee laying the time capsule under the former National Stadium's foundation stone in 1970. PHOTO: ST FILE

In the year 2065, Singaporeans will be cracking open an SG50 time capsule containing 50 items voted by the public as representative of Singapore.

The box of historical items was officially sealed by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at a ceremony at Gardens by the Bay on Friday (March 18).

The objects sealed away are nods to nostalgia, including a ticket to the 1994 Malaysia Cup football final, an old National Library membership card, and a coffee sock used in local coffee shops. These will be retrieved in time for SG100. Time capsules were popularised in the 1930s, and the practice has survived the test of time.

Singapore Time Capsule

  • The oldest known time capsule in Singapore was rediscovered in early 2016, beneath the foundation stone of the Cathedral of the Good Shepherd. The shoebox-sized time capsule from June 18, 1843 was found to include a prayer booklet and newspapers, and international coins. The capsule is thought to have been buried by French Catholic missionary priests and other founding communities of Singapore.
  • On April 1, 1937, a capsule containing coins and newspapers from the time was buried under the foundation stone of the former Supreme Court building with the intention that it be opened in the year 3000. The building now houses the National Gallery Singapore, where the foundation stone can still be seen today.
  • In 1949, a capsule was buried at Anglo-Chinese School (Barker Road) containing school magazines, a bible and records of major donors. Thought to be lost, the capsule was rediscovered in 2000 with the help of a former student who had attended the burial ceremony.
  • A capsule buried in 1950 under the then Royal Island Club (now the Singapore Island Country Club) was thought to be lost but later found by construction workers in 2010. It contained photographs and newspapers.
  • In 1970, one of Singapore's founding leaders, Dr Goh Keng Swee laid a copper cylinder containing newspapers and Singapore bank notes from the era, somewhere in the former National Stadium. Unfortunately the location has been lost and metal detectors have failed to find it despite a $50,000 reward on offer.
  • Since 1973, Science Centre Singapore has been depositing gadgets and examples of significant technologies in a time capsule inaugurated by then Science and Technology Minister Dr Toh Chin Chye. The first 112 items deposited included a black and white television receiver, a camera and samples of pig feed. After additional deposits were made in 1983, 2001 and 2013, the original capsule was replaced with a larger stainless steel container that now holds over 800 items in an atmosphere of inert nitrogen gas in the hope that this will better preserve the artefacts inside.
  • The Jurong Town Corporation buried a time capsule under Jurong Town Hall in 1974. When opened in 2001, the capsule was found to contain reports, articles and photographs illustrating the industrialisation of Jurong.
  • In 1975, part of Singapore's contribution to an International Ocean Exposition held in Okinawa, Japan entitled The Sea We Would Like to See was a research project using floating time capsules. The previous year, 50 small round capsules were released from Raffles Lighthouse as part of a global fleet of 2,800 to measure oceanic tides and currents. Each capsule contained information about the Exposition, a goodwill message from a Japanese child and a voucher for a Citizen Blackie watch to incentivise finders to fill in a post card with details of where the capsule were found. 24 of the capsules released in Singapore were later recovered.
  • 1990 saw the unexpected unearthing of a time capsule from the 1950s by contractors working at the demolished American Insurance building in Robinson Road. Buried on 26 April 1956, the copper canister contained English and Chinese newspapers, a financial report, photographs, posters and an insurance agent's manual.
  • In 2015, a time capsule buried to celebrate Singapore's 25th year of independence was dug up and replaced with one celebrating 50 years as a sovereign nation. The original canister held 88 "symbols of progress" including a video tape of the 1966 National Day (Singapore), water from the Singapore River and the first sarong kebaya uniforms designed by Pierre Balmain for Singapore Airlines in 1968. The replacement capsule, made from stainless steel, was buried by then Deputy Prime Minister Ong Teng Cheong outside Empress Place.
  • On 31 August 2005, Singapore Polytechnic buried a time capsule in order to conclude year-long celebrations of its 50th anniversary of its founding in 1954. Located near its main library, it is scheduled to be re-opened in 2029 for its 75th anniversary. Items in the time capsule included staff and student admission cards, a CD of 2004's graduation ceremony and a bottle of locally brewed red wine.


Heroines of yesteryears: Majie 妈姐 & Samsui 三水婆

Ah Sum or Ah Ma Jie (Majie 妈姐)
The Majie of the Yesterday

The majie and it dawned on me that these were FDWs of yesterday. Not unlike the FWDs of today, these single women in black and white samfu outfit with their hair tied in buns were from the Guangdong province. They worked here from the 1930s to the 1970s. These sturdy women were not called “maids” though they took vows of celibacy to dedicate themselves to their vocation. The word majie is made up of the word ma (mother) and jie (elder sister), though some have suggested that amah may have originated from the Portuguese ama meaning "nurse". In Taiwan and China, the word amah refers to an older lady in general, As many were also nannies, it could well have come from the word nai ma (literally "milk mother" in Chinese). Variants such as amah-chieh or mahjie have also been used. Similar terms in the same context includes ah-yee, yee-yee or ah sum (aunt), or jie-jie (elder sister).

Again, not unlike the FDWs of today, the majie of yesterday worked very long hours. It was normal to be up at 5 am in the morning, and they worked to around 8 or 9 pm in the evening. But unlike the FDWs of today, they did not have families to return to. Many were treated as part of the family as they served their employers for a long time. In fact, it was not all that uncommon for majie to have lived with their employers until they retired or passed on. Some, however, chose to retire in China (a traditional desire of the Chinese in the past), while others retired in jointly rented rooms in Chinatown as their living quarters called coolie fong. During their working lives, some majie also rented rooms in Chinatown as a collective and would return to their rooms daily or on their days off if they lived with their employers.

Some majie also got together and formed their own clans – such as the Seng Cheow Tong Clan, which was formed by 51 majie in 1963 and disbanded in 2004. Others chose to stay at chai tong (vegetarian houses) after they retired. These homes were organized by Buddhist associations to provide food and lodging for elderly unmarried women, or women who had no family or relations. They charged a nominal rent, if at all. In some cases, the aged residents worked for their keeps within the community. Significantly, there was hardly any reported abuse of these majie ( According to 韩山元 [Han, S. Y.]. (2009, August 14). 自梳女 [Majie]. 联合早报 [Lianhe Zaobao]. Retrieved from Factiva). The relationship between the majie and the employers were such that a kinship relationship was developed over time.

The Samsui women who built a city 三水妇女or 三水婆 or 紅頭巾
Many worked well into their 70s

Many of us might have never seen a samsui woman in the flesh, but these ladies were once the backbone of our developing infrastructure, just like the transient workers who build our country today. The first wave of Chinese immigrants who arrived in Singapore in search of a new life were largely male.

Over the years, the sex ratio in Singapore became overwhelmingly skewed towards males, such that by 1928, the colonial government introduced immigration controls to limit the number of male Chinese immigrants into Singapore. Furthermore, the Great Depression in the 1930s caused widespread unemployment in Singapore, forcing the colonial government to further limit the influx of male Chinese immigrants. However, these limits were not imposed on female Chinese immigrants. And by the mid-1930s, female Chinese immigrants, including samsui women, were entering Singapore in droves.

Samsui women came mainly from the Sanshui district of China's Canton province. It is estimated that about 2,000 samsui women came to Singapore. Life was a struggle for these women. They usually had to pay recruiters (via a year-long debt) to help them arrange for transport to and accommodation in Singapore. Many of them left China in the prime of their youth, between 18 and 20, and had to rely on fellow samsui women to get by. Once here, they often congregated together in Chinatown and stayed in cramped lodgings within shophouses, not unlike the bad living arrangements of today's foreign labourers.


Elvis Presley's Blue Christmas 2023

Elvis Presley died in 1977 when his daughter Lisa Marie was 11 years old.

With new technology.  Father and daughter can sing this song together!

Unbelievable editing, seeing people's reactions ...  Like real !!

Elvis sang the original song in 1968 and Lisa sang it in 2008 ...

This video is made to celebrate Christmas 2023.

Blessed Christmas guys!



Remembering Lin Dai 林黛
Born: 26 December 1934 & Died: 17 July 1964

Fifty years ago today, Lin Dai 林 黛 committed suicide. She was 29 years old, at the height of her career. Her death sent shock waves through Chinese communities all over the world. It's hard to overestimate the impact.  I can still recall the sense of utter disbelief when the news broke.

Lin Dai seemed to have everything going for her. Her movies were guaranteed box office hits, artistically as well as commercially top notch. She seemed to radiate happiness whatever she did. On camera, she seemed to glow. Even in private life she was vibrant and charming. Why did she want to die?  There had been a trivial family misunderstanding but nothing to suggest suicide. She was given a proper Catholic funeral, since the bishop ruled that her death wasn't intentional.

To this day, fans flock to give their respects at her pink marble tombstone. After  her death, her husband Lung Shun-shing kept their room exactly as she had left it, with her hair in her hairbrush and her lipsticks on the dressing table. When he died a few years ago, the room was preserved intact in a museum.

Linda Lin Dai 遴 带

The original screen goddess of Mandarin-language films, Linda Lin Dai was born as Cheng Yue Ru to a politician’s family in Guangxi, China. Lin migrated to Hong Kong with her family in 1948. She joined Yung Hwa Motion Picture in 1952 after leaving the Great Wall Pictures Corporation, where she joined a year earlier, and made her big-screen debut in Singing Under The Moon. The film made her an instant success.

For the next decade, Lin’s star would burn with ferocious brightness as she won the hearts of audiences with more than 40 films. Off the screen, she married tycoon Lung Shun-shing in 1961 at the age of 26. Lin won over the critics by winning an unprecedented four Best Actress awards at the Asian Film Festival for The Golden Lotus, Diau Charn, Les Belles and Love Without End during her career.

Sadly, she committed suicide in 1964, leaving behind two unfinished films, The Lotus Lamp and The Blue And The Black (I and II). In 1995, Linda Lin Dai was the only Mandarin movie star featured in the Hong Kong Movie Stars stamp collection released by the Hong Kong Post Office. It is an evident that Linda Lin Dai is still living in the hearts of many Chinese audiences even though she has passed away for almost forty years.

Hong Kong actress Lin Dai’s tragic suicide in 1964
Fans in shock after actress dies from an overdose of sleeping pills & inhalation of methane gas just a few months short of her 30th birthday

“Film Star Dies In Gas-Filled Bedroom,” ran a headline in the South China Morning Post on July 18, 1964.

The story continued: “Miss Lin Dai, the well-known Mandarin actress, was found unconscious in her gas-filled bedroom yesterday afternoon. She was certified dead on arrival in hospital.”

The 29-year-old star – who had won the best actress award at the Asia-Pacific Film Festival four times – had been discovered by her husband, Lung Shun-shing, at their home in Jardine’s Lookout. On returning to the flat, he had found the door to his wife’s bedroom locked, the Post reported.

Why did Lin Dai, a 30-year-old four-time Asia-Pacific actress commit suicide?

On 17 July 1964, Hong Kong Shaw Brothers movie superstar Lin Dai took overdose of sleeping pills and turned on gas at her Happy Valley apartment to commit suicide. She was only 30 years old and her body was buried in Happy Valley Catholic Cemetery.

Since 1957, at the Asia Pacific Film Festival, the only international film festival in the Asia-Pacific region, Lin Dai has won 4 best actress awards . This honorary record has not been broken so far. Lin Dai debuted for 12 years, starred in nearly 50 movies, not only outstanding acting skills, created countless box office miracles, but also beautiful, exquisite body, there are countless fans and admirers. Therefore, when the news of Lin Dai's death came out, it shocked the global Chinese society at the time.

On the day of her funeral, countless Hong Kong movie fans took to the streets to see her off, and all were empty. The famous director of Shaw Brothers in Hong Kong, Li Hanxiang, expressed sorrow: Lin Dai’s suicide was the biggest loss of Chinese film industry after Ruan Lingyu . She is a star that the Chinese film industry could not find for decades.

Lin Dai

Linda Lin Dai (Chinese: 林 黛; 26 December 1934 – 17 July 1964), born Cheng Yueru (程 月 如), was a Chinese actress of Hong Kong films made in Mandarin during the 1950s–60s. She was a star actress of the Shaw Brothers Studio. She was the daughter of Cheng Siyuan (程 思 遠), the secretary of the KMT Chinese President Li Zongren, and Vice Chairman of the CPPCC.

Lin Dai was awarded the Best Actress at the Asia Pacific Film Festival four times for her performances in films produced by Shaw Studio. While she attended short courses on drama and linguistics at Columbia University, New York in 1958, she met and fell in love with Long Shengxun, the son of Long Yun who was a former governor of China's Yunnan province. They married on 12 February 1961 in Hong Kong.

She committed suicide at home in Hong Kong in July 1964, using an overdose of sleeping pills and inhalation of methane gas, due to family matters referred by the media as "trivial". Her death shocked the Chinese community. She left behind two unfinished films, The Lotus Lamp and Blue And Black.


Christmas Eve 2023

Christmas Eve takes place on December 24 and is probably one of the best nights of the year! Christmas has the power to reunite families and friends, to warm up our hearts, and remind us that we have so many things to be thankful for. So put on your cozy PJs, light up your fireplace, call your loved ones, and top off your hot cocoa with some fluffy marshmallows!

Christmas Eve marks the culmination of the Advent period before Christmas that started on the fourth Sunday before Christmas Eve. Many churches will mark the end of Advent with midnight church services. During modern times, it is popularly celebrated on the night before Christmas Day.

The tradition of celebrating Christmas Eve derives partly from Christan liturgical starting at sunset, inherited from Jewish tradition, and based on the Book of Genesis’s Story of Creation, saying the first day starts at the evening and ends during the morning. It is also believed that Jesus, or Jesus of Nazareth, was born during midnight in the region of Palestine. Many historical conceptions on many ancient traditions contributed to the development of Eve celebrations which persisted in the early Christian calendar.


Bus & train fares to rise wef 23 Dec 2023


For this 2023 Fare Review Exercise (FRE), the fare formula output derived from the new fare adjustment formula is 12.0%, driven by the continued increase in energy prices, core inflation and strong wage growth in 2022. After adding the deferred fare quantum of 10.6% from the 2022 FRE, the maximum allowable fare adjustment quantum for the 2023 FRE is 22.6%.

To keep public transport fares affordable in this higher cost environment, PTC has decided against granting the full quantum. Instead, PTC will grant an overall fare increase of 7.0%, which is about a third, of the 22.6% maximum quantum. This is less than the 10.6% deferred from the 2022 FRE. PTC will defer the remaining 15.6%-points to future FREs. To cover this deferred fare adjustment quantum, PTC has requested the Government to provide an additional subsidy of about $300 million for this year’s FRE, which the Government has agreed to. This amount is higher than the additional subsidy of approximately $200 million that was provided after the 2022 FRE. The additional government subsidy will help to moderate the level of fare increase needed to keep pace with the higher cost of providing public transport while keeping fares affordable for commuters.

With this 7.0% fare adjustment, adult card fares will increase by 10 to 11 cents per journey. Adult cash fares, which are still accepted for bus rides, will increase by 20 cents. To better support vulnerable commuters, PTC has decided to implement a lower increase of 4 to 5 cents per journey for concession card fares while concessionary cash fares for bus rides will increase by 10 cents. About two million concession card holders will see a lower fare adjustment.

Public transport fare hike: Adults to pay 10 to 11 cents more per journey from 23 Dec 2023
The Public Transport Council, which regulates bus and train fares, has granted an overall increase of 7 per cent as part of the 2023 fare review exercise

The latest bus and train fare increases will more than double from last year's hike, which means adult commuters will pay 10 to 11 cents more per journey, the Public Transport Council (PTC) said on Monday (Sep 18). The PTC, which is the Singapore regulator for public transport fares, announced an overall fare increase of 7 per cent following the annual fare review exercise. The fare hikes will take effect on Dec 23.

The trend of sharper increases could potentially continue with the PTC again deferring a bulk of the fare adjustment quantum to future fare review exercises. This year's fare review exercise is the first under the new formula announced in April, which the PTC had said was aimed at keeping fares affordable and less volatile. As part of the review - conducted every five years - the fare formula was adjusted to include two fixed components to reduce swings in fare changes.

Adult card fares will increase by 10 cents for up to 4.2km and 11 cents for distances above that, while adult cash fares - used for bus rides - will increase by 20 cents. Adult monthly travel passes will remain at S$128. The 11-cent increase is the highest, according to the PTC, which pointed out that 2019 also saw a 7 per cent increase in fares, but from a lower base. A lower increase will be implemented for concession card fares for students, seniors, low-wage workers and people with disabilities. Fares in this category will go up by 4 to 5 cents per journey, depending on the distance travelled. Concessionary cash fares for bus rides will increase by 10 cents.

Bus, train fares to rise by up to 11 cents for adults; new $96 concession pass for low-wage workers

From 23 Dec 2023, public transport fares for adults who pay by card will climb by up to 11 cents, as the overall cost of bus and train rides goes up by 7 per cent. Adult card fares will increase by 10 cents for journeys of up to 4.2km and 11 cents for rides beyond 4.2km, the Public Transport Council (PTC) said on Monday after it concluded its yearly fare review exercise.

For example, the adult card fare for an MRT ride from Simei to Tanjong Pagar, which costs $1.85 now, will go up to $1.96. Concessionary fares for seniors, students, people with disabilities and low-wage workers who pay by card will go up by four cents for journeys of up to 4.2km and five cents for longer rides. About two million commuters, or half of Singaporeans, are in this group.

This year’s increase is the steepest since the hike in 2019, when fares also rose by 7 per cent. The 11-cent hike is also the highest on record. The PTC said fares could have gone up by 22.6 per cent in 2023 – the highest allowable increase since 1998, when the council began using formulas to set a cap on fare changes.

S'pore bus & train adult fares to go up by S$0.10-S$0.11 from 23 Dec 2023

From Dec. 23, 2023, adult fares for bus and train rides will go up by 10 to 11 cents, depending on the journey's distance. For journeys 4.2km or shorter, expect to pay S$0.10 more. For journeys longer than 4.2km, expect to pay S$0.11 more.

The fare increments were announced by the Public Transport Council (PTC) on Sep. 18 after the conclusion of its annual Fare Review Exercise (FRE). For concession fares enjoyed by students and seniors, the fare increase is capped at S$0.04 to S$0.05 and varies depending on the journey's distance. For journeys 4.2km or shorter, the increase will be S$0.04. For journeys longer than 4.2km, the increase will be S$0.05.

These adjustments apply to concession fares for lower-wage workers and persons with disabilities as well. There will be no changes to the price of adult monthly travel pass and the bus or train monthly concession passes. Adult cash fares, which are still accepted for bus rides, will increase by S$0.20. Concessionary cash fares for bus rides will increase by S$0.10. The new fare structure will take effect on Dec. 23, 2023.


Dongzhi 冬至 Winter Solstice Festival 2023

Dongzhi 2023 – China’s Winter Solstice Festival
Tangyuan 湯圓

Although the Chinese have been celebrating the changing seasons for well over 2,500 years (since the famous Han Dynasty) a lot about this famous festival has changed with the modern times. Many of the old customs have drifted into obscurity, but families still take time off to relax and reconnect, sing songs and celebrate their heritage. Visitors can often see families gathered at temples giving offerings to the ancestors. Plus those with Chinese family or friends might even be able to join in on the Dongzhi parties and feasts. However, depending on where one is in the East, the festival could look a bit different.

Singaporeans celebrate by eating the traditional tangyuan, but dress it up with pandan leaves and ginger. Malaysian Chinese simply host friends and family for a meal, while Hong Kong citizens give gifts and dress up in new clothes. The Taiwanese show up everyone and steam nine-layer rice cakes in the shape of turtles, cows, ducks, etc and then eat themselves into food comas (literally, the practice is based on animal hibernation). Foodies, you may have just found Valhalla.

Happy Dongzhi, happy winter solstice festival!

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Malaysian Chinese Kitchen posted a video to the playlist Malaysian Chinese Kitchen Cooking Show. 18 hrs

Kuih Ee is a dessert of glutinous rice balls in syrup eaten as a symbol of unity and togetherness during Tang Chek, weddings, birthdays, and the Chinese New Year.

How To Make Glutinous Rice Dumplings (Tang Yuan)

When it’s time to celebrate the winter solstice during the Dongzhi Festival, it’s most traditional to eat the glutinous rice dumplings known as tang yuan. These small, round dumplings symbolize family unity, an important theme during a time of year when the seasons begin to tilt toward the warmth of spring.

Though tang yuan are served with myriad fillings, the dumplings eaten during the Dongzhi Festival are typically plain. The dumplings are normally dyed bright colors and are served in a bowl of sweet ginger-infused syrup. While you can buy tang yuan at the store, they’re a snap to make at home. The dumpling dough takes just a few minutes to prepare and rolling the tang yuan balls is a fun family activity that young chefs will love. Set up around the kitchen table and put some music on in the background.

While glutinous rice dumplings are silky smooth and pleasantly chewy, they’re relatively tasteless themselves and act as a vessel for the flavor of their filling or the broth they’re served in. If you live in a colder region of the United States, I’m sure you’ll enjoy eating a bowl of tang yuan in a warming ginger syrup during the heart of winter.

Sunset on the day of the December solstice

The winter solstice marks the official beginning of astronomical winter (as opposed to meteorological winter, which starts about three weeks prior to the solstice). The winter solstice occurs once a year in each hemisphere: once in the Northern Hemisphere (in December) and once in the Southern Hemisphere (in June). It marks the start of each hemisphere’s winter season. When one hemisphere is experiencing their winter solstice, the other is simultaneously experiencing their summer solstice! This is all thanks to Earth’s tilted axis, which makes it so that one half of Earth is pointed away from the Sun and the other half is pointed towards it at the time of the solstice.

The winter solstice holds significance across a variety of cultures, as it signals the changing of the seasons. Some ancient peoples even marked the solstice using huge stone structures, like Newgrange in Ireland. In some cultures, the solstice traditionally marked the midway point of the season rather than the start of it, which explains why holidays such as Midsummer Day are celebrated around the first day of summer.

On the day of the winter solstice, we are tilted as far away from the Sun as possible, which means that the Sun’s path across the sky is as low in the sky as it can be. Think about the daily path of the Sun: It rises in the east and sets in the west, arcing across the sky overhead. During the summer, the Sun arcs high in the sky, but during the winter, it arcs lower, closer to the horizon. How can we observe the effects of solstice ourselves? On the day of the solstice, stand outside at noon and look at your shadow. It’s the longest shadow that you’ll cast all year! Do this again on the day of the summer solstice and you’ll see almost no shadow.

Winter Solstice
We often think of the winter solstice as an event that spans an entire calendar day, but the solstice actually lasts only a moment. Specifically, it’s the exact moment when a hemisphere is tilted as far away from the Sun as it can be

The December solstice, also known as southern solstice and Midwinter, is the moment in time when the Sun reaches its southernmost position in the sky as seen from Earth. In the Northern Hemisphere (North and Central America, Europe, Northern Africa, Asia) it is the winter solstice, while in the Southern Hemisphere (South America, Southern Africa, Australia and New Zealand) it is the summer solstice.

The December solstice occurs every year between December 20 and December 23. The dates given on this page are based on Coordinated Universal Time (UTC), which for practical purposes is equivalent to Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). While the December solstice occurs at the same moment in time all over the world, the date and local time differ from place to place depending on the year and a location's time zone. For locations that are ahead of UTC (further east) it may fall on the day after, and for locations that are behind UTC (further west) it may fall on the day before. To find out the exact date and time of the December solstice 2019 in your area use this seasons calculator.

The December solstice marks the last day of autumn (fall)and the first day of winter in the Northern Hemisphere and the last day of spring and the first day of summer in the Southern Hemisphere. It is one of four days (two equinoxes and two solstices) throughout the year that mark the beginning of a new season. The other days are the March equinox, the June solstice and the September equinox.

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What is a Solstice?

solstice is one of the two times of the year when the positioning and tilt of Earth relative to the sun results in the most amount of daylight time or the least amount of daylight time in a single day. There are two solstices during the year: one that occurs around June 20–22 (usually June 20 or 21) and one that occurs around December 20–23 (usually December 21 or 22).

The solstices are traditionally considered to mark the start of summer and winter. But which season begins with each solstice depends on which hemisphere you’re in. In the Northern Hemisphere, the summer solstice occurs in June and the winter solstice occurs in December. In the Southern Hemisphere, it’s the opposite. The summer solstice results in the longest day of the year, meaning it has the most time of daylight, and the winter solstice results in the shortest day of the year, meaning it has the longest period of darkness.

In contrast, an equinox is one of the two times of the year when the amount of daylight and nighttime hours are just about of equal length. The two equinoxes occur around March 20–21 and September 22–23. In the Northern Hemisphere, the vernal equinox (or spring equinox) occurs in March and the autumnal equinox occurs in September. In the Southern Hemisphere, it’s the opposite.

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