11 Mar 2019


SG Day 2019: Do you know who they are?


Have you seen the five statues along the Singapore River?


They are a reminder that the Singapore we have today has been the result of the toil and contributions of many individuals and communities. Come discover interesting bits on these five personalities that have left an indelible mark on our nation!

But first…match the correct names to the five statues!

  1. Sang Nila Utama

  2. Thomas Stamford Raffles

  3. Munshi Abdullah

  4. Naraina Pillai

  5. Tan Tock Seng


Statue A

Statue B

Statue C


Statue D

Statue E


Flip to see the answers!







So, did you get them right?  


Sang Nila Utama

Singapore’s name is often attributed to Sang Nila Utama who renamed our nation because he spotted a lion when he came to the island in 1299. Did you also know that his descendants continued ruling Singapore till they were driven out by Javanese forces? Under their governance, Singapore became a flourishing port!


Thomas Stamford Raffles

While Raffles played an important role in the founding of modern Singapore, his legacy still remains part of our nation today. One of the principles Raffles established during the beginnings of Singapore was free trade, which is still central to Singapore’s economy today. His vision of how spaces in Singapore should be organised and used is also very much visible in Singapore’s urban landscape today!


Munshi Abdullah

Munshi Abdullah was Raffles’s secretary and interpreter but he was also gifted in mastering languages and taught Malay to many British missionaries and merchants who came to Singapore. What’s more amazing - he was already an accomplished Malay scholar at the age of 14 and even mastered Arabic, Tamil and Hindi. To remember his contributions, Munshi Abdullah Avenue in Singapore was named after him.

Naraina Pillai

Did you know that the iconic Sri Mariamman Temple located at South Bridge Road was built by Naraina Pillai, one of Singapore’s Indian pioneers? Pillai was a businessman who came to Singapore with Raffles on the latter’s second visit and his entrepreneurial spirit saw him venturing into different businesses including the brick and textile industry. He even set up the first brick company in Singapore!


Tan Tock Seng

Did you know that Tan Tock Seng was the first Asian to be made a Justice of Peace and was recognized for his skilful ability to settle disputes amongst the Chinese community? While he was known as a wealthy businessman and philanthropist, he had started out as a vegetable seller when he first came to Singapore in 1819! When he passed on, his wife Lee Seo Neo, continued his good work and contributed a women’s ward to the hospital in 1867.


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There were so many more that contributed to our nation’s journey. Find yourself in the past and which historical personality you resemble at the Singapore Bicentennial showcase segment this Singapore Day in Shanghai! 

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