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Singapore Celebrates Its 44th Birthday in Seoul
Amb. Chua Thai Keong Hosts Party on Its National Day
Singapore Amb. Chua Thai Keong (center) greets Chairman Yun Ik-Han of The Seoul Times at the reception held at Seoul's Grand Hyatt Hotel on Aug. 10, 2009 on the occasion of its 44th anniversary of its national day or Indepdendence Day.

Singaporean Ambassador to Seoul Chua Thai Keong hosted a reception at Grand Hyatt Hotel in Seoul on August 10, 2009 on the occasion of its 44th birth day – Independence Day (1965).

The reception was held also to celebrate the 42nd anniversary of the formation of ASEAN.

Singapore already celebrated its 44th anniversary of its Independence Day a day earlier on Sunday.

Scores of top foreign enovys and spouses, and local Korean personalities were invited to the dinner reception. The buffet-style dinner reception started at 6:30 p.m. in Grandball Room of the Hyatt Hotel.

Singapore Amb. Chua Thai Keong (4th from right) poses with VIP participants at the reception held at Seoul's Hyatt Hotel on the occasion of the 44th anniversary of its Independence Day. Third from right is UAE Amb. Abdulla Mohammed Al-Maainah.

Among the VIP participants were Ms. Kim Young-Joo, vice chairman of Daesung Business Group, South Korea’s former Foreign Minister Song Min-Soon, and STX Engergy Chairman Lee Hee-Beom. Lee served as chairman and CEO of the Korea International Trade Association (KITA) and industrial minister.

On its birthday of Independence Day on August 9, 2009 Singaporeans already observed the 44th anniversary of Singapore National Day. The theme of this year’s Independence Day is “Come Together – Reaching Out, Reaching Up”

On this day in 1965 Singapore broke away from Malaysia and became an independent republic.

S. Korea's Ex-Foreign Minister Song Min-Soon (2nd from right) poses with other VIPs at Singapore National Day reception.

Singapore and South Korea established official diplomatic relations on August 8, 1975, opening the embassy in each other’s capital.

Prior to that, trade representatives and consulates general served the needs of people from each other country.

Presently, Singapore and South Korea are major trade partners.

Singapore Amb. Chua Thai Keong (2nd from left) poses with his wife (to his right) and Madam Seo Hyeong-Ho (right). At left is Hondurad Deputy Head of Mission Fabricio Perez-Cadalso.

History of Singapore

Although Singapore's history dates from the 11th century, the island was little known to the West until the 19th century, when in 1819, Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles arrived as an agent of the British East India Company. In 1824, the British purchased Singapore Island, and by 1825, the city of Singapore had become a major port, with trade exceeding that of Malaya's Malacca and Penang combined. In 1826, Singapore, Penang, and Malacca were combined as the Straits Settlements to form an outlying residency of the British East India Company; in 1867, the Straits Settlements were made a British Crown Colony, an arrangement that continued until 1946.

Dutch ambassador to Seoul, Dr. Hans Heinsbroek (left) poses with his wife Mrs. Donna Heinsbroek (2nd from right) and their two dauthers. Second from left is Ms. Antoinette Heinsbroek.

The opening of the Suez Canal in 1869 and the advent of steamships launched an era of prosperity for Singapore as transit trade expanded throughout Southeast Asia. In the 20th century, the automobile industry's demand for rubber from Southeast Asia and the packaging industry's need for tin helped make Singapore one of the world's major ports.

In 1921, the British constructed a naval base, which was soon supplemented by an air base. But the Japanese captured the island in February 1942, and it remained under their control until September 1945, when the British returned.

In 1946, the Straits Settlements was dissolved; Penang and Malacca became part of the Malayan Union, and Singapore became a separate British Crown Colony. In 1959, Singapore became self-governing, and, in 1963, it joined the newly independent Federation of Malaya, Sabah, and Sarawak—the latter two former British Borneo territories—to form Malaysia.

Ms. Kim Young-Joo (2nd from right), vice chairman of Daesung Business Group, poses with his daughter (far left) and other guests at the Singapore National Day reception at Seoul's Hyatt Hotel. At far right is Mr. Han Jin-Kook.

Indonesia adopted a policy of "confrontation" against the new federation, charging that it was a "British colonial creation," and severed trade with Malaysia. The move particularly affected Singapore, since Indonesia had been the island's second-largest trading partner. The political dispute was resolved in 1966, and Indonesia resumed trade with Singapore.

After a period of friction between Singapore and the central government in Kuala Lumpur, Singapore separated from Malaysia on August 9, 1965, and became an independent republic.

The ruling political party in Singapore, reelected continuously since 1959, is the People's Action Party (PAP), now headed by Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong. Goh succeeded Lee Kuan Yew, who served as Singapore's prime minister from independence through 1990. Since stepping down as prime minister, Lee has remained influential as Minister Mentor. The current prime minister, PM Lee Hsien Loong, is MM Lee Kuan Yew's son.

Chairman Yun Ik-Han of The Seoul Times talks with Ex-Foreign Minister Song Min-Soon at Singapore National Day reception.

The PAP has held the overwhelming majority of seats in Parliament since 1966, when the opposition Barisan Sosialis Party (Socialist Front), a left-wing group that split off from the PAP in 1961, resigned from Parliament, leaving the PAP as the sole representative party. In the general elections of 1968, 1972, 1976, and 1980, the PAP won all of the seats in an expanding Parliament.

Workers' Party Secretary General J.B. Jeyaretnam became the first opposition party MP in 15 years when he won a 1981 by-election. Opposition parties gained small numbers of seats in the general elections of 1984 (2 seats out of a total of 79), 1988 (1 seat of 81), 1991 (4 seats of 81), 1997 (2 seats of 83), and 2001 (2 seats of 84). Meanwhile, the PAP share of the popular vote in contested seats increased from 65% in 1997 to 75% in 2001. Since the opposition has contested less than half the seats in the last two elections, overall voter support for the PAP may be somewhat higher.

44th Anniversary of Singapore National Day Event

Facing severe unemployment and a housing crisis, Singapore embarked on a modernisation programme that focused on establishing a manufacturing industry, developing large public housing estates and investing heavily on public education. Since independence, Singapore's economy has grown by an average of nine percent each year. By the 1990s, the country has become one of the world's most prosperous nations, with a highly-developed free market economy, strong international trading links, and the highest per capita gross domestic product in Asia outside of Japan. (from Wikipedia)

For details or inquiries contact Singapore Embassy in Seoul at 774-2464~7.

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