Sunday 5 April 2020

Singapore National Day (Singapore, 1968)

Singapore celebrates National Day on 9 August, recognising its independence from Malaysia in 1965. Each year, there’s an accompanying stamp. In 1968, the theme was Work for Prosperity.

And that’s fine, you think. A country has its independence and it creates commemorative stamps. It turns out that indepdences is an end that becomes a means. In Singapore’s case, in 1968, independence was the means to set up a range of institutions whose functions had been carried out elsewhere: industrial boards, national banks, an airline, a shipping line and an anti-littering campaign. Independence then is both an ending and a beginning; a leap of faith in those building new institutions; the watershed between what was and what will be.

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