Year 1954

Gravest Flood Hits Singapore

Friday, 10th December 1954

Twelve hours of continuous rain caused the worst flood since 1934. Bedok village was under six feet of water. Other areas that were badly hit were Whampoa, Kallang, Potong Pasir and Bukit Timah. Floodwater entered more than 300 homes, damaging personal belongings and furniture. Thousands of people were force to abandon their home and moved to higher grounds. 5 people were drowned by the raging flood water.

PAP Inaugurated

Sunday, 21st November 1954

PAP or the People's Action Party was officially inaugurated at the Victoria Memorial Hall. Its objective is to fight colonialism in Singapore. Some of the PAP founder members included Dr Toh Chin Chye (protem Chairman), Mr Lee Kuan Yew (Secretary), Mr S. Rajaratnam, Mr C.V. Devan Nair, Mr Fong Swee Suan and Mr Abdul Samad. It was the largest political gathering Singaporeans had seen for many years. More than 1,500 people packed the Hall. Among the special guests were Dato Sri Tan Cheng Lock, president of the Malayan Chinese Association (MCA), and Tunku Abdul Rahman, president of the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO).

Seven Chinese Students Appeal Hearings

Tuesday, 12th October 1954

Appeal hearings for seven Chinese-medium school students. They were convicted of "obstructing the police" during a May 13 demonstration in connection with National Service. They are represented by defence counsel Mr. D. N. Pritt, QC and assisted by junior counsel Mr. Lee Kuan Yew. Eventually the appeal dismissed. Conviction of the Chinese-medium school students upheld and they have to serve their three-month prison terms.

The Fajar Trial

Monday, 23rd August 1954

The three day trial saw Queen’s Counsel and leftwing champion, Denis Nowell Pritt (engaged by Lee Kuan Yew the senior defense counsel) for the Fajar 8. At the end of the third day, District Judge FA (Freddy) Chua threw the case out without the defense being called. Fajar 8 were acquitted of all charges.

Boy Drown In Kim Seng River

Sunday, 6th June 1954

A nine-year-old boy was drown in Kim Seng River opposite the Great World Park. He was the son of a fishmonger living in Tiong Bahru village. It was believed that he fell into the monsoon drain near his home and was carried away by the floods water caused by the heavy rain.

The Fajar 8 Were Arrested

Friday, 28th May 1954

Attorney-General Davis gave written sanction to prosecute the Fajar 8 - Poh Soo Kai (president of club), MK Rajakumar, James Puthucheary, Kwa Boo Sun, Lam Khuan Kit, Thomas Varkey, P Arudsothy and Edwin Thumboo (oldest – James Puthcheary, 32; youngest P Arudsothy, 19) for publishing the "Aggression in Asia". The Fajar 8 were picked up by the police. 7 of them were arrested at the University Hostel in Dunearn Road. Poh Soo Kai was picked up from his Katong home. They were charged in court. Bail of $1000 each was provided by Vice-Chancellor Sir Sydney Caine, who felt it was his duty to bail out the students involved. Lee Kuan Yew (honourary advisor to the club) represented the students in court.

Air Disaster at Kallang Airport

Thursday, 13th May 1954

The first air disaster at Kallang Airport happened on 13 May 1954 at 2:30 p.m. The BOAC Constellation, Lockheed L-749A (registered as G-ALAM "Able Mike") was on a scheduled flight from Sydney to London and had stopped over at Darwin (Australia) and Jakarta (Indonesia). The aircraft touched down too soon at the seaward end of the Kallang Runway 06, struck a seawall and crashed. Within moments the fuselage was enveloped in flames. 31 passengers and two crew members died in Singapore's first civil air disaster. The pilot and six other crew members survived by escaping from the cockpit through a 14-by-10-inch clear vision panel.

National Service Riots

Thursday, 13th May 1954

Students at a number of Chinese schools demonstrated against the British government's decision to make young men, age 18-20, do part-time military service. The students were unwilling to defend a foreign government which they wanted to drive out of Singapore. The demonstration led to rioting and the police had to put down on the riot.

Aggression in Asia Editorial Published

Monday, 10th May 1954

The "Aggression in Asia" editorial appeared on the front page of the No 7 issue of Fajar which was written by Poh Soo Kai and MK Rajakumar and published by University Socialist Club (USC) of the University of Malaya.

Lee Kuan Yew Admitted To Federation Bar

Tuesday, 2nd February 1954

Lawyer Mr. Lee Kuan Yew was admitted to the Federation Bar in Johor, Malaysia.

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