Singapore bicentennial: Why 2019 is history in the making

200 years after getting colonised

On Dec. 31, 2017, PM Lee announced the government’s intent in 2019 to commemorate the bicentennial — meaning, 200 years anniversary — of Sir Stamford Raffles’ founding.

Rather than being a celebration, however, the bicentennial is meant to be a reflection on Singapore’s journey so far.

The year 1819 is widely accepted as when modern Singapore was founded by Raffles.

However, Singapore already had a thriving population 500 years prior to 1819, as these formative years lend context to our formation.

What events can we expect?

The scale of the bicentennial will not be as large as SG50 though.

However, many of the events in the line-up will leverage pre-existing annual events, such as the i Light Singapore festival, the National Day Parade, Chingay 2019, the Night Festival and Singapore Heritage Festival, which will all reflect the theme of the bicentennial.

Two anchor bicentennial events include:

Find Your Place In History trails: April to May 2019

The first anchor event, Find Your Place In History trails, will take place from April to May 2019.

These trails will feature project installations at various historical spots (including less prominent ones) and will allow Singaporeans to learn more about Singapore through the years.

Experiential showcase: June to September 2019

The second is an experiential showcase at Fort Canning Centre from June to September 2019.

There will be galleries highlighting Singapore’s key milestones for the past 700 years, as well as the significant contributions of Singapore’s early settlers and communities.

Augmented reality trails

Augmented reality (AR) trails at the Singapore River and Fort Canning Park, organised by the National Heritage Board (NHB) and the National Parks Board (NParks), will be launched in January and June 2019.

Visitors will be able to experience the Singapore River through the eyes of Raffles and the pioneers who arrived in 1819, while those at Fort Canning can explore the park during its olden days.

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