Year 1973

Opium smugglers escape

Thursday, 6th December 1973

Three members of a syndicate of opium smugglers escaped after their car shot past the Woodlands checkpoint and later crashed into a lamppost at the 13th mile Woodlands. The Customs Land Division recovered 19 slabs of pure opium from the crashed car. The value is estimated to be over $15,000. In their hurry, the smugglers, believed to be Malaysians, left behind their Malaysian restricted passports and their car registration card. Police launched an island-wide hunt for the smugglers.

Heather wins silver medal

Sunday, 18th November 1973

Athlete Heather Marican collected a silver medal for the Republic when she finished second in the 200 m hurdles event at the First Asian Track and Field Championships in Manila. She clocked 28.5 secs for the event which was won by Japan’s Toshimi Hayashida in a fast time of 27.6 secs. Her silver medal was the best performance by a Singaporean female runner at the Asian level to date.

Malaysian PM visit Singapore

Tuesday, 13th November 1973

Singapore gave Malaysian Prime Minister Tun Abdul Razak and his wife Toh Puan Rahah a cordial welcome when they flew in today for a three-day official visit. They were met on arrival at Paya Lebar airport by Singapore Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew and Mrs Lee, Cabinet ministers and members of the diplomatic corps. This was the first official visit of a Malaysian Prime Minister to Singapore since the Republic became independent in August 1965.

Government Told Six popular discos to shut down

Thursday, 1st November 1973

Six of Singapore most well-known Discos (discotheques) were ordered to shut down while severe restrictions were imposed on all others. The Ministry of Culture said the Boiler Room in Mandarin Hotel, Pink Pussycat in Prince’s Hotel Garni, Barbarella in Ming Court, Lost Horizon in Shangri-la Hotel, the Pub in Marco Hotel and Rasa Sayang at the Tropicana night club had the worst record for drug abuses between 1971 and September 1973. All other discos had to abide by a list of restrictions including: no dim or psychedelic lights, no hippie-type images, and no admission for males with long hair.

The 121 Squadron Formed

Wednesday, 24th October 1973

The 121 Squadron "Gannet" Squadron (renamed to "Brahminy Kite" in 1994) was formed with the commissioning of the Short Skyvan 3M. The primary role is to provide dedicated wide area maritime air surveillance for search and resource operations, aeromedical evacuations and the transportation of personnel.

Muhammad Ali is amazed by local kungfu fighter

Tuesday, 23rd October 1973

Muhammad Ali, the visiting former world heavyweight boxing champion, took up a challenge by two Singapore fungku master and was stunned by their strength. He packed all his formidable power into a chop which he landed squarely on kungfu master Wong Yue Chee’s throat. The martial arts exponent did not even flinch. Wong and fellow kungfu master Anthony Wee were demonstrating their Qi (internal strength) to Ali at a special lunch held at the Goodwood Park Hotel. Muhammad Ali shook his head in disbelief: “It’s crazy, real crazy.”

Discos Operator Warned

Saturday, 20th October 1973

As part of the crackdown on drug abuse, discotheques were given notice that some of them would be closed down if they did not clean up their act. Health and Home Affairs Minister Chua Sian Chin said stringent controls would be imposed on those allowed to operate. He said discos had turned into haunts where drug abuse came alive nightly and acts of violence were common occurrences. The Anti-Drug Abuse Week was to step up public awareness of the drug problem.

High Court sentenced five kidnappers to death

Monday, 8th October 1973

The Singapore High Court sentenced five kidnappers to death, under the Kidnapping Act (Cap 101, 1970 Ed), after they pleaded guilty to the abduction of Mr. Tjioe Kow Hwie, an Indonesian businessman, from his Watten Estate home on 14 March 1972. The kidnappers also successfully obtained ransom money of SGD $50,000 and released Mr. Tjioe.  Believed to the first case of its kind here, the Court rejected the contention that a guilty plea with life imprisonment sentence would set a dangerous precedent for potential kidnappers.  It was also contrary to public interest. The Court applied the discretion that life imprisonment in kidnapping for ransom would only be imposed under very exceptional circumstances.

SIA Boeing 747 Has Landed

Monday, 3rd September 1973

Mr Yong Nyuk Lin, then Minister for Communications at the welcoming ceremony of the first two SIA-Boeing 747s at Paya Lebar Airport on Monday 3 September 1973 at 1600 hours. The two new Boeing 747 was be introduced in October 1973.

Time Capsule Buried

Saturday, 18th August 1973

Dr Toh Chin Chye, who was the Minister-in-charge of the Science Board, buried a time capsule at the site of the Singapore Science Centre.

National Stadium was officially opened

Tuesday, 31st July 1973

Singapore’s ultra modern and new sports facility, the National Stadium, was officially opened in conjunction with Singapore’s hosting of the VII SEAP (Southeast Asian Peninsular) Games for the first time.

NTUC Open First Cooperative Supermarket

Sunday, 22nd July 1973

The National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) launched a supermarket co-operative called NTUC Welcome (Fairprice) in Toa Payoh. The then Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew was there to officially declare the store opened. This was a significant indication of the strong support from the government.

Adelphi Hotel Closed

Monday, 25th June 1973

The Adelphi Hotel had a grand farewell party at its premises.  The hotel's management made a nice gesture for proceeds from that night went to the Singapore Cheshire Home for the handicapped.  The closing of the three-storey Adelphi Hotel marked the closing of Singapore's oldest hotel.  The Adelphi Hotel started operations in 1863 in Commercial Square but when the premises could not cope with the hotel's growing business, the hotel than shifted to High Street.  And letter to it last location Coleman Street.

The Singapore Zoo opened its gates

Saturday, 23rd June 1973

The Singapore Zoo (offically & legally named: Singapore Zoological Gardens) opened to public with a collection of 270 animals from over 72 species, and a staff of 130. The opening was an instant hit, probably from the escape of the black panther, with the local population. Endless streams of people visited the Singapore Zoological Gardens over the next few months.

Start of Singapore Stock Exchange

Saturday, 16th June 1973

Finance Minister Hon Sui Sen inaugurated the Singapore Stock Exchange (SES) at the Trading Room, Clifford Centre. Approval was already given on 31 May 1973, with the adoption of Rules, Bye-Laws and Regulations, Corporate Disclosure Policy and the Listing Manual. The SES was later subsumed under the Singapore Exchange, together with the Singapore International Monetary Exchange.

Singapore Dollars and Malaysia Ringgit Parted

Tuesday, 8th May 1973

The currencies of Singapore and Malaysia ceased to be interchangeable. The pact, since 1967, had allowed the Singapore Dollar and Malaysian Ringgit to be used at par in the two countries. Singapore Finance Minister Hon Sui Sen announced that the Malaysian Government had conveyed to him its decision to terminate the Interchangeability Agreement with the Singapore Government.

Eighth Singapore Grand Prix

Sunday, 22nd April 1973

SIA (Singapore Airlines) replaces MSA (Malaysia-Singapore Airlines) as the sponsor. Singapore Airlines hosted most of the top overseas racer. The main race was won by Vern Schuppan in his March 722. Graeme Lawrence and John Macdonald came in second and third respectively. The Motorcycle GP was won by Bill Molloy in his Kawasaki 750. This was the last Grand Prix that was held in the Upper Thomson Road Street Circuit.

The Black Panther Escaped

Wednesday, 7th March 1973

A black panther escaped from captivity. This escape set off a massive hunt by the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) in the Seletar-Mandai Road area. The three-year-old panther, acquired from Thailand just six days earlier, was one of three at the zoo which was scheduled to open the following month. It was reported missing the previous evening by the zoo keeper. Thousands of soldiers cordoning off the forest reserve and searching for month but gave up. Months later to the shock of a shipyard worker, he saw a huge black cat in one of his unfinished tankers at the shipyard in Tanjong Rhu. The authorities were then called in and the zoo officals promptly "captured the cat". Actually the frighten panther got itself trapped in a tank.