Singapore Self-Government

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    Maria Hertogh

    The Muslim community was enraged as they thought the verdict was biased and the court supported the Dutch. They felt that the British were insensitive of their cultures and feelings. Thus, many had growing resentment of British governance in Singapore as citizens felt that, from the incident, the British were incapable of handling such situations. So, some citizens felt that self-governance would be more beneficial.
  • Maria Hertogh's Birth

    Maria was born in Java in 1937 to Dutch parents who were Roman Catholics.
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    TImespan of Singapore's Self-governance

    These three events lead to self-governance as after the war, it was difficult for Singapore to recover economically and this made Singapore vulnerable to communism. Communists made us of the situation Singapore was in to create disturbances to further influence Singapore. The strikes and riots that broke out affected Singapore's post-war recovery as they had affected the entire country. People's lives are disturbed, business is disrupted and the economy is affected, causing life to be miserable.
  • Japanese attacked

    The Japanese took over Java and captured her parents. That year, a Malay woman, Che Aminah, and her Indonesian husband took care of Maria and brought her up as a Muslim. She was then named Nadra and they then moved from Java to Trengganu in Malaya.
  • Japanese occupation ended

    The Japanese surrendered and with that, Maria's mother, Adelaine Hertogh, was released. Maria's parents then proceeded to find their daughter in Java. However, as Maria had moved it was only in 1949 that she was found. They then wanted to claim their daughter back.
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    Communist Chinese riots

    These riots broke out as many Chinese citizens resented the British government for not listening to their requests and demands and how they made selfish descisions. Some of these riots were mainly led by Chinese-educated students in Singapore who were influenced by the communists. These communists wanted self-governance as they thought the British government had not been listening to them and had not help with the quality of life or the problems in Singapore after the Japanese Occupation.
  • Return of Maria Hertogh

    In May 1950, the court decided and ruled that Maria was to be returned to her biological parents. Che Aminah opposed this decision and sent in an appeal to change this decision. Two months later, the court returned Maria to Che Aminah.
  • Reasons for the Riots

    In November 1950, the court heard about Maria marrying a Malay teacher and the judge announced that the British law did not recognise Maria as married. She was underaged and had not obtained her natural father's consent. The court then returned Maria to her natural parents and for the next two months, newspapers carried articles about Maria. After appealing again in December, Che Aminah's appeal was dismissed and when this was announced on 11 December, a large crowd had formed of mostly Malays.
  • Maria Hertogh Riots

    The riots lasted 3 days, from 11 December to 13 December. These riots and attacks were focused on the Europeans as they were believed to be responisble for Maria's predicament. This showed that they were unhappy with the British rule in Singapore and thought that the British did not think about the Muslim community's feelings.
  • Anti-National Service Riots

    Chinese-educated students demonstrated against the Britsh government at a number of Chinese schools. They were against the British government's descision to make young men, aged between 18-20, go for part-time military service as many of the secondary school students were 20 years old or older as their education had been interrupted by the war. Furthermore, the students were against helping to defend a foreign country's government that they wanted to get rid of from Singapore.
  • Hock Lee Bus Riots

    In 1955, thousands of Chinese-educated students supported a strike by the worksers of Hock Lee Bus Company. From late April to early May, these workers demanded better employment conditions, such as higher salaries. When the union and the bus company did not reach an agreement, they decided to attack, with a large group of up to 1000, the police. Over the next two days, almost all the bus workers in Singapore joined in and went on strike. People lived in fear and anxiety.
  • Self-Government

    Singapore achieved self-governance as they thought that the British were incapable of helping the country as life was still as bad as they were, if not even worse, during the Japanese Occupation. They thought the British government could not fulfill their needs and demands and that self-governance would be beneficial and could be of great help. The riots allowed them to realise this as many of them thought that the riots were the cause of the British government's decisions.
  • End of Communist Riots

    As the number of riots increased, the government took firmer actions to end them. Many communist leaders were arrested after the 1956 riots and by 1960, the communists were no longer such a violent threat. However, the communists were still a threat altthough their attacks have been reduced. These riots have affected SIngapore, such as the many deaths and injuries and the destruction of many buildings and vehicles.