Lim Chin Siong (1933~1996)


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Lim Chin Siong was an influential trade union leader and a prominent political figure in the history of Singapore. Lim was one of the three founder of the People’s Action Party (PAP). Lim was elected as Assemblyman for the Bukit Timah constituency in 1955 at the young age of 22. An intelligent man and a charismatic speaker, Lim was especially popular with the Chinese working-class. Lim was expelled from the PAP in 1961 and arrested for political dissent in 1963. Upon his release from prison in 1969, Lim went into exile in London.

1933 – Born on 28/02 at Telok Ayer St, Singapore.

1936 – Family moved to Johore.

1939 – Entered Pei Chun Pri Sch, Pontian.

1942 – School closed due to Japanese invasion.

1949 – Enrolled at Catholic High School, Singapore.

1950 – Transferred to Chinese High School, Singapore.

1951 – Detained for questioning in connection with examinations boycott; subsequently expelled from school. Worked as part-time teacher and attended English evening classes.

1953 – Became paid secretary, Changi Bus Workers Union, and subsequently Spinning Workers Union.

1954 – Elected Secretary to Singapore Factory and Shop Workers Union. Launched PAP.

1955 – Lim Chin Siong was elected Assemblyman for Bukit Timah and led the Hock Lee Bus Workers strike and eventual riot.

1956 – Lee Kuan Yew and Lim represented PAP for London Constitutional Talks. The talks failed and David Marshall resigned as Chief Minister, replaced by Lim Yew Hock. Island wide rioting, police mounted mass arrests by Lim Yew Hock Government. Lim Chin Siong was arrested.


Proto Credit: Flickr.

1959 – PAP won 43 out of 51 seats in GE, Lee Kuan Yew became Prime Minister and 8 leading left wing leaders in PAP including Lim Chin Siong released from prison. Lim Chin Siong was appointed Political Secretary.

1961 – Lim Chin Siong, Fong Swee Suan and Lee Siew Choh expelled from PAP. Lim called for intensification of anti-colonial struggle to achieve full internal self government. Mass Rally to inaugurate formation of Barisan Sosialis.

1963 – Lim were arrested together with more than 111 leaders and activists under Operation Coldstore. Was put in jail without trial for the next 6 years.

1969 – Lim suffered depressions, released and went on exile to London.

1970 – Married Wong Chui Wan in London; followed by birth of 2 sons, Ziyi in 1973 and Zi Kuan in 1977

1979 – Lim returned with family to Singapore

1980 – Suffered heart attack whilst on tour in China, admitted to hospital for 20 days.

1981 – Underwent coronary bypass surgery, Sydney.

1996 – Died of heart attack in Singapore.

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