HOW DID THE BRITISH
GOVERN SINGAPORE
BEFORE WWII?
Chapter 4
Q
Do you know how long did the
British government govern
Singapore?
Did you guess correctly?

•  It is an astounding 140 years!
•  Yes, the British ruled Singapore for 140 years in

total.
•...
Can you guess what these buildings
functioned as under British rule?

RAFFELS HOTEL:
•  It was established by two Armenian...
Can you guess what these buildings
functioned as under British rule?

• 
• 
• 
• 

Fullerton Hotel:
Initially was designed...
Can you guess what these buildings
functioned as under British rule?

Old supreme court
•  Colonial houses
•  Hotel
What will you be learning about?

Locals
involvement in
the government

Problems that the British
faced in maintaining law...
British governance
1819

Established a trading settlement in Singapore

1824

Signed the Anglo-Dutch treaty + acquired Sin...
Structure of the British government
Colonial
Office

Governor of
the Straits
Settlements

British government in
London

• ...
Structure of the British government
Executive
Office

High-ranking British officials
advised the Governor and
helped him r...
How were the locals involved in the
British government?
•  Locals were in the Legislative Council as non-

official member...
How were the locals involved in the
British government?
•  The pressure to increase the number of non-

official members w...
Q
Why do you think it is important
to include Asians in the
Legislative Council?
Roles of the Asians non-officials in the
Legislative Council
•  They helped to initiate some laws in Singapore
•  Eunos Ab...
Roles of the Asians non-officials in the
Legislative Council
• 

Dr Lim Boon Keng: proposed to ban opium
smoking
•  Legisl...
Q

Now that we have covered the
main structure of the British
government in Singapore, do
you think it was easy for the
Br...
Let us now turn our attention to
the PROBLEMS that the British
faced in maintaining law & order
in Singapore!
Problems in Maintaining Law and Order
Keeping law and order became difficult as
more immigrants arrived in Singapore in th...
Social problems in early Singapore
Source B

An excerpt describing the social problems in
early Singapore
Most people had ...
1st Inference
I can

Evidence from the source
This can be

Explanation of inference based on evidence
This suggests
2nd Inference
I can

Evidence from the source
This can be

Explanation of inference based on evidence
This suggests
2) Problems in Maintaining Law and Order:
Chinese secret societies
•  Initially, these were organizations that helped the
...
2) Problems in Maintaining Law and Order:
Chinese secret societies
•  Soon the society members started to form gangs

and ...
Opium house
2) Problems in Maintaining Law and
Order: Abuse of immigrants
•  Immigrants were too poor to pay for their passage

from C...
2) Problems in Maintaining Law and
Order: Abuse of immigrants

•  They were very often ill-treated and abused by

their em...
2) Problems in Maintaining Law and
Order: Piracy
•  This was a threat to the merchant community in

Singapore.
•  Many tra...
2) Problems in Maintaining Law and
Order: Piracy
•  Gunboats were sent by the government to patrol

the waters
•  The arri...
Q
So what was the role of the
British in improving the law and
order of Singapore?
3) How did the British improve law and
order in Singapore?

Police force

Chinese Protectorate

•  Set up to deal with the...
Role of the Chinese Protectorate
Source C: An extract on Pickering’s role as the
Chinese Protectorate in Singapore

Unfort...
1st Inference

Evidence from the source

Explanation of inference based on evidence
2nd Inference

Evidence from the source

Explanation of inference based on evidence
3) How did the British improve law and order in
Singapore: What did the Chinese Protectorate do?
•  Secret societies
Ø Al...
3) How did the British improve law and order in
Singapore: What did the Chinese Protectorate do?
• 

Coolie-agents/lodging...
How did the British improve law and order
in Singapore: Police force

Before
•  Small police force unable to maintain law ...
How did the British improve law and order
in Singapore: Police force

After
• 

The government increased the pay of
police...
How did the British improve law and order in
Singapore: Police force
Year

1862
1903
1906
1931
*by mid
1920s

What happene...
Q
What have they done to improve
the social services for the
people in Singapore?
4) How did the British government improve
social services for the people?
Health
•  First half of 19th century: death rate...
How did the British improve the social
services in Singapore?

Source D An excerpt of Southeast Asian history in
early 19t...
1st Inference

Evidence from the source

Explanation of inference based on evidence
2nd Inference

Evidence from the source

Explanation of inference based on evidence
•  In 1887, the Public Health
Department was set up to
improve health in town
•  Malaria committee was set
up: supervise s...
How did the British government improve
social services for the people: Education
•  19th century: education was left in th...
How did the British government improve
social services for the people: Education
Why?
•  Demand for people to be trained i...
How did the British government improve
social services for the people: Education
What?
•  Queen’s Scholarship was establis...
How did the British government improve
social services for the people: Education
•  English and Malay schools were given m...
Q
How did the British government
as well as the Europeans view
the people in Singapore?
British government/Europeans’ view of
the people in Singapore
•  Believed that they were more superior to the Asians
•  As...
Quick recap!
We have covered:
1) How the locals involved in the government
•  Serving as non-officials in the Legislative ...
Conclusion

Singapore did fare well under the
British rule.
There was order, security and general improvements in the
live...
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Sec 2 chap 4 teacher's copy

  1. 1. HOW DID THE BRITISH GOVERN SINGAPORE BEFORE WWII? Chapter 4
  2. 2. Q Do you know how long did the British government govern Singapore?
  3. 3. Did you guess correctly? •  It is an astounding 140 years! •  Yes, the British ruled Singapore for 140 years in total. •  But there was a break in the British rule when the Japanese Occupation occurred from 1942 to 1945.
  4. 4. Can you guess what these buildings functioned as under British rule? RAFFELS HOTEL: •  It was established by two Armenian brothers from Persia in 1887 to be a hotel. •  At the end of the WW2, the hotel was used as a transit camp for prisoners of war.
  5. 5. Can you guess what these buildings functioned as under British rule? •  •  •  •  Fullerton Hotel: Initially was designed as an office building by Major P.H Keys of Keys and dowdeswell. 1874: General Post Office and the Exchange Building in 1874 1942: Hospital during WW2 1942 2001: Fullerton hotel
  6. 6. Can you guess what these buildings functioned as under British rule? Old supreme court •  Colonial houses •  Hotel
  7. 7. What will you be learning about? Locals involvement in the government Problems that the British faced in maintaining law and order How British improved law and order How British improved the social services British view on people of SG
  8. 8. British governance 1819 Established a trading settlement in Singapore 1824 Signed the Anglo-Dutch treaty + acquired Singapore 1826 Combined three possessions: Singapore + Melaka + Penang into the Straits Settlements > ruled by East India Company (E.I.C.) 1858 E.I.C was disbanded. British government took over control of British India 1867 The Straits Settlement became a Crown Colony: under direct control of the Colonial Office in London. Belonged to the Queen (Queen Victoria)
  9. 9. Structure of the British government Colonial Office Governor of the Straits Settlements British government in London •  Represented Queen Victoria •  Had veto power: ability to stop the passing of laws
  10. 10. Structure of the British government Executive Office High-ranking British officials advised the Governor and helped him run the Settlements Legislative Council •  High-ranking British officials from Executive Council + nonofficial members who were mainly Asian/European traders •  Advised the Governor + helped him make laws
  11. 11. How were the locals involved in the British government? •  Locals were in the Legislative Council as non- official members •  They were often out-voted as there were too few of them as compared to the official members And this made them very unhappy!
  12. 12. How were the locals involved in the British government? •  The pressure to increase the number of non- official members were finally met in 1924 when: number of official members = non-official members in the Legislative Council •  Dr Lim Boon Keng and Eunos Abdullah were the Asian members of the Legislative Council
  13. 13. Q Why do you think it is important to include Asians in the Legislative Council?
  14. 14. Roles of the Asians non-officials in the Legislative Council •  They helped to initiate some laws in Singapore •  Eunos Abdullah: •  Set aside land for Malay settlement called Kampong Melayu •  Provide low-cost housing •  Malays can earn a living by growing fruits/ vegetables & rearing poultry
  15. 15. Roles of the Asians non-officials in the Legislative Council •  Dr Lim Boon Keng: proposed to ban opium smoking •  Legislative Council: unwilling to do so as it is source of revenue •  To make up for loss of revenue, there was a proposal to have income tax > met with strong opposition from members in the Legislative Council •  Eventually, income tax law on opium was not passed
  16. 16. Q Now that we have covered the main structure of the British government in Singapore, do you think it was easy for the British to control Singapore?
  17. 17. Let us now turn our attention to the PROBLEMS that the British faced in maintaining law & order in Singapore!
  18. 18. Problems in Maintaining Law and Order Keeping law and order became difficult as more immigrants arrived in Singapore in the 19th century 1. Chinese Secret Societies 2. Abuse of Immigrants 3. Piracy
  19. 19. Social problems in early Singapore Source B An excerpt describing the social problems in early Singapore Most people had no access to public health services such as chlorea and smallpox caused severe health problems, especially in overcrowded working-class areas. As a result of the predominantly male and uneducated nature of the population, the society was lawless and chaotic. In 1850, there were only twelve police officers in the city of nearly 60, 000 people. Chinese criminal secret societies were extremely powerful, and some had tens of thousands of members. The secret societies created many problems for the police. Study Source B. What does the source tell you about the state of society in early Singapore?
  20. 20. 1st Inference I can Evidence from the source This can be Explanation of inference based on evidence This suggests
  21. 21. 2nd Inference I can Evidence from the source This can be Explanation of inference based on evidence This suggests
  22. 22. 2) Problems in Maintaining Law and Order: Chinese secret societies •  Initially, these were organizations that helped the new immigrants in Singapore to seek employment. •  Secret societies provided young men with protection and security as well as a sense of brotherhood in a foreign land However…
  23. 23. 2) Problems in Maintaining Law and Order: Chinese secret societies •  Soon the society members started to form gangs and secret societies that: •  Robbed, killed and took part in unlawful activities •  They operated opium houses, brothels and gambling dens •  Major secret societies: Hokkein Ghee Hin, Teochew Ghee Hin, Ghee Hok, Ghee Kee and Ghee Sin •  These secret societies then became a threat to the public security
  24. 24. Opium house
  25. 25. 2) Problems in Maintaining Law and Order: Abuse of immigrants •  Immigrants were too poor to pay for their passage from China to Singapore •  Hence they turned to coolie-agents (credit coolies) who would pay for their passage •  Immigrants had to work to pay off their debts
  26. 26. 2) Problems in Maintaining Law and Order: Abuse of immigrants •  They were very often ill-treated and abused by their employers/coolie-agents •  For Chinese women immigrants, they were often kidnapped and sold off to brothels.
  27. 27. 2) Problems in Maintaining Law and Order: Piracy •  This was a threat to the merchant community in Singapore. •  Many trading ships were attacked by pirates and their cargo taken/the people killed or taken as slaves •  This led to many merchants keeping away from Singapore > adverse effects on growth of Singapore •  Many European/Chinese merchants asked for the government to step in to deal with the pirates
  28. 28. 2) Problems in Maintaining Law and Order: Piracy •  Gunboats were sent by the government to patrol the waters •  The arrival of steamships helped greatly in fighting piracy as they could sail very fast against the wind •  By mid 19th century, piracy became less of a threat in Singapore
  29. 29. Q So what was the role of the British in improving the law and order of Singapore?
  30. 30. 3) How did the British improve law and order in Singapore? Police force Chinese Protectorate •  Set up to deal with the problems of the Chinese community •  William Pickering was the first Protector of the Chinese in May 1877 and he served till 1888 Ø He could speak many Chinese dialects
  31. 31. Role of the Chinese Protectorate Source C: An extract on Pickering’s role as the Chinese Protectorate in Singapore Unfortunately, despite all that Pickering had done for the good of the Chinese, there were still those within the community who disliked him and mistrusted him. Pickering has made numerous attempts to establish closer relations with the Chinese community by helping the coolies from abuse as well as settle disputes between the different Chinese immigrants. In addition, he also lessened the power of the secret societies by exposing their gambling dens. Study Source C. What does the source tell you about the responsibilities of the Chinese Protectorate?
  32. 32. 1st Inference Evidence from the source Explanation of inference based on evidence
  33. 33. 2nd Inference Evidence from the source Explanation of inference based on evidence
  34. 34. 3) How did the British improve law and order in Singapore: What did the Chinese Protectorate do? •  Secret societies Ø All secret societies had to register with the Chinese Protectorate Ø Persuaded the Chinese community to settle their quarrels at the Chinese Protectorate > weakened power of secret society leaders
  35. 35. 3) How did the British improve law and order in Singapore: What did the Chinese Protectorate do? •  Coolie-agents/lodging houses Ø All had to be registered with the Chinese Protectorate Ø All coolie ships were inspected to prevent abuse of the coolies Ø ‘Po Leung Kuk’ (Protect Virtue Office) was set up to rescue young girls from being sold to brothels However, there were still abuses and the existence of secret societies as these were not reported to the Protectorate
  36. 36. How did the British improve law and order in Singapore: Police force Before •  Small police force unable to maintain law and order •  Few wanted to join as policemen were poorly paid and equipped •  The police force was greatly corrupted, policemen accepted bribes readily •  There were few Chinese in the police force and this made it hard to get information from the Chinese •  The police force was so ineffective that the army was called in to help maintain the law and order in the settlements
  37. 37. How did the British improve law and order in Singapore: Police force After •  The government increased the pay of policemen and provided better training for them •  Officials who were fluent in Malay and Chinese dialects were employed •  Thomas Duncan was the first police commissioner in Singapore in 1857
  38. 38. How did the British improve law and order in Singapore: Police force Year 1862 1903 1906 1931 *by mid 1920s What happened Detective Branch was set up to look into the activities of secret societies Modern methods such as fingerprinting was introduced Chinese detectives were recruited to help with investigations Detective Branch was renamed as Criminal Investigation Branch (C.I.D.) Law & order had greatly improved
  39. 39. Q What have they done to improve the social services for the people in Singapore?
  40. 40. 4) How did the British government improve social services for the people? Health •  First half of 19th century: death rate was very high •  Common diseases caused by poverty, overcrowding and malnutrition: tuberculosis, beri-beri, malaria •  The British became worried as Singapore’s prosperity is dependent on the people Hence, the British took measures to solve these problems Education
  41. 41. How did the British improve the social services in Singapore? Source D An excerpt of Southeast Asian history in early 19th century One of the main problems that the British had to deal with in the 19th century was crime. The British tried to recruit police officers to help keep law and order but few wanted to join the police force as policemen were poorly paid. The next pressing problem was the poor health standards in Singapore. Diseases were rampant and people were dying on a daily basis from various illnesses. The British subsequently set up the Public Health Department to improve the public health and it also helped to improve housing conditions. Study Source D. What does the source tell you about the role of the British in dealing with the social problems in the early Singapore?
  42. 42. 1st Inference Evidence from the source Explanation of inference based on evidence
  43. 43. 2nd Inference Evidence from the source Explanation of inference based on evidence
  44. 44. •  In 1887, the Public Health Department was set up to improve health in town •  Malaria committee was set up: supervise swamps, replace pail system with modern water-carriage sewage system and clearing streets/drains To prevent infectious diseases: •  General Hospital, leper camp, lunatic asylum set up. •  Outpatient clinics were also set up to serve the public •  Improve housing conditions: reducing overcrowding in Chinatown Quarantine Law was passed Ships were to be stopped at •  By 1940s, public health had St. John’s Island to check for generally improved infectious diseases
  45. 45. How did the British government improve social services for the people: Education •  19th century: education was left in the hand of the local organizations •  Late 19th century: government began to set up English and Malay schools and provided *grants *What are grants? Grants are regular sums of money given by a government to an individual or organization for a particular reason such as education
  46. 46. How did the British government improve social services for the people: Education Why? •  Demand for people to be trained in English to fill up posts in the government and trading companies Which? •  Raffles Institution was set up •  A medical school was built with money raised by Asian leaders: King Edward VII Medical School (renamed King Edward VII College of Medicine in 1921) •  Raffles College set up in 1928: higher education became available
  47. 47. How did the British government improve social services for the people: Education What? •  Queen’s Scholarship was established for top secondary school students to further their studies in British universities •  Many of these students returned as doctors, lawyers and teachers BUT the British did not treat all schools equally
  48. 48. How did the British government improve social services for the people: Education •  English and Malay schools were given more money: English-speaking seen as pro-British •  Chinese schools were neglected: anti-British feelings among students
  49. 49. Q How did the British government as well as the Europeans view the people in Singapore?
  50. 50. British government/Europeans’ view of the people in Singapore •  Believed that they were more superior to the Asians •  Asians were greatly discriminated: Ø In government service: Well-qualified Asians not given important posts Ø In medical service: Asian doctors not educated in British universities not allowed to hold senior posts in hospitals Ø In travelling: Asians discouraged from travelling in first-class carriages Ø At public places: not allowed to use certain places reserved for the Europeans
  51. 51. Quick recap! We have covered: 1) How the locals involved in the government •  Serving as non-officials in the Legislative Council 2) The problems that the British faced in maintaining law & order •  Chinese Secret Societies •  Abuse of the immigrants •  Piracy 3) The ways the British improved law & order •  Police force •  Chinese Protectorate 4) How the British government improved social services for the people •  Education •  Health 5) How did the British government as well as the Europeans view the people in Singapore from different sectors?
  52. 52. Conclusion Singapore did fare well under the British rule. There was order, security and general improvements in the lives of the people in Singapore.
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