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Archive for January 13th, 2008

Pledge-taking protocol

Most old folks, including yours truly here, would remember singing the national anthem, Majulah Singapura in school way back in 1959. Taking the Pledge, “We, the citizens of Singapore, pledge ourselves…” only started some years later in 1966. The protocol then was to stand ‘at attention’ with both hands at the side. Some years later, I think it was in 1989, the hand-position was amended, as shown in the stamp.
Retrievia Excerpts 2003-2004

You may ask why Pledge-taking did not start in 1959 together with Flag-raising and singing Majulah Singapura. The simple answer is that the Pledge was only written in 1966.

The Pledge was written by Mr Rajaratnam, who was the Minister for Culture in 1959, Minister for Foreign Affairs in 1965, and Second Deputy Prime Minister in 1973. He retired from politics in 1988.

A Straits Times report (9 June 1996) goes like this:
While giving a speech in 1996, Senior Minister Lee KuanYew was overcome with emotion when he recalled the words of the Singapore Pledge and the man who penned the words.

Mr Lee, who was Prime Minister of Singapore 1959-1990, was quoted as saying ”He (Rajaratnam) had enormous courage, enormous idealism …After the racial riots in the mid-60s, where rational people became beasts, it required an act of faith to put those words together …But Rajaratnamgave me a lot of heart. He drafted it. I knew it was ……really a dream too far ….. I polished it up, left the words in”.

Re-trievia recalled: Excerpts from Year 2003/ 2004
Tan Wee Kiat

Written by Ivan Chew

13 January, 2008 at 1:30 am

Posted in Year 2003/ 2004