A New Governor

Arthur Henderson Young
Arthur Henderson Young

Governor of the Straits Settlements

Governor of the Straits Settlements between 1911 and 1919, who oversaw a tumultuous period in Singapore’s history including the Singapore Mutiny and May Fourth Movement riots.

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Governor of the Straits Settlements

I am most delighted to have been appointed Governor of the Straits Settlements! I cannot help but think back to 1906, when I first arrived in Singapore from my post in Cyprus. Even then I knew there was something special about this small but vital island. I promise to serve…
Sir John Anderson
Sir John Anderson

Former Governor of the Straits Settlements

A career administrator in London’s colonial office. He is credited with the buyout of Tanjong Pagar Dock Company and constructing the railway from Singapore to Johor.

Former Governor of the Straits Settlements
3 Aug 1911
My sincerest congratulations Sir Arthur! You’ve always held the High Commissioner’s favour, as well as my endorsement to succeed me as Governor of the Straits Settlements. You are an upstanding man in possession of robust common sense, sound judgement, and much administrative ability and acumen. Your love for the outdoor life and extreme hospitality cemented your ascension to this most esteemed office.
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Governors of the Straits Settlements
From 1826 to 1867, Singapore was administered by the Governor of the Straits Settlements. Thereafter, Singapore, together with the Straits Settlements, became a Crown Colony. Since then, the Governor has been appointed by the British Colonial Office.
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Manufacturing Industries in Singapore
Large-scale manufacturing in Singapore was hampered by colonial administrators. Despite that, many industries flourished at the turn of the 20th century.
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Chinese Nationalism in Singapore

Arthur Henderson Young
Arthur Henderson Young

Governor of the Straits Settlements

Governor of the Straits Settlements between 1911 and 1919, who oversaw a tumultuous period in Singapore’s history including the Singapore Mutiny and May Fourth Movement riots.

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Governor of the Straits Settlements

I would readily grant refugees from China shelter but only if they asked for it openly and lived in accordance with local laws. Instead, my office finds itself battling the growing Chinese political propagandist presence in the colony—a looming threat to the peace of our friendly state. In 1912, I…
A British Merchant
Circa 1914
We need to prevent similar outbreaks in Singapore! It is good that the Societies Ordinance
The Ordinance controlled all associations (societies) of 10 or more persons, which had to be recorded with the Registrar of Societies. Societies could be deregistered for financial mismanagement, criminal and/or political conspiracy. Some clauses were intentionally ambiguous, in which ‘lawful societies’ thought to be acting in a manner ‘prejudicial to the good order or welfare’ of Malaya could be deregistered—even if they had conformed to the Ordinance’s other legal requirements, and their premises could be searched without notice.
has been amended to prohibit the collection of any funds for political causes. It is now required by law to show the documentation of membership, officials and the constitution of the society. Otherwise, the society is immediately deregistered. This will go a long way to prevent the madness of 1912
The tauchang (pigtail) riots occurred during the Chinese New Year period of 1912 in Kuala Lumpur, when anti-Manchu Chinese tin miners forced Chinese rickshaw pullers into barbershops to cut off their queues. What started off as roughhousing quickly ballooned into a riot lasting a week, and on 21 February 1912, the police opened fire on a brawling crowd, killing 10 people.
and its fallout.

The Kuomintang
The Kuomintang was formed in China on 25 August 1912. It was a fusion of five parties, the Tongmenghui, Tong I Kung Ho Tang, Kuo Min Chin Hui, Kuo Min Kung Tang and Kung Ho Shih Chin Hui. Singapore’s branch of the Kuomintang was formed and registered under the Societies Ordinance as the Singapore Communication Lodge of the Kuomintang of Peking. The main role of the Kuomintang branches was to keep overseas Chinese united and in close contact with China.
will most definitely be affected by this.

The Singapore Mutiny of 1915

Arthur Henderson Young
Arthur Henderson Young

Governor of the Straits Settlements

Governor of the Straits Settlements between 1911 and 1919, who oversaw a tumultuous period in Singapore’s history including the Singapore Mutiny and May Fourth Movement riots.

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Governor of the Straits Settlements

The 5th Light Infantry have mutinied! Martial law is now declared. I have sent wireless telegrams to the French cruiser Montcalm, Japanese cruisers Otawa and Tsushima, and the Russian Orel in the neighbouring waters, as well as sought help from the Viceroy of India.
Major General Dudley Ridout
Major General Dudley Ridout

Commander of Troops

A veteran of the Boer War, he was prominent in all matters related to British intelligence, turning Singapore into the sorting-house for all information concerning the region.

Commander of Troops
15 Feb 1915
A party of volunteers has been sent to the P and O Wharf. The police heard of the attack after a European was shot at Pasir Panjang. The Sikh police barracks have been ordered to arms, and the Sultan has sent 150 men from the Johor Military Forces. European women and children are sheltered at Government House, in hotels and on ships, while men have enrolled and been armed as special constables, and will serve as guards.

The Modernisation of Keppel Harbour

Arthur Henderson Young
Arthur Henderson Young

Governor of the Straits Settlements

Governor of the Straits Settlements between 1911 and 1919, who oversaw a tumultuous period in Singapore’s history including the Singapore Mutiny and May Fourth Movement riots.

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Governor of the Straits Settlements

I thank the esteemed guests who were in attendance for the reopening of Empire Dock today. Empire Dock was constructed for the purpose of the furtherance of trade, and my hopes for it and its adjoining wharves are for a preponderance of British shipping, manned by officers and men of…
John Rumney Nicholson
John Rumney Nicholson

Chairman of the Harbour Board

Appointed managing director of the Tanjong Pagar Dock Company, and on its nationalisation by the government in 1905, became chairman and chief engineer of the new Singapore Harbour Board.

Chairman of the Harbour Board
25 Oct 1917
This is the third occasion of a similar character at which I have had the honour to preside, each marking completion of a section of the scheme we have been carrying out to improve the port’s shipping facilities. Today, we bring down the curtain on the last act, commemorating the completion of the scheme. Many of you may remember the old Tanjong Pagar Dock Company wharves and the conditions under which we worked…its rickety wharf, and hundreds of bullock carts congesting the place. The new dock, on which we now stand, is miles apart from the old wharves
By 1903, Singapore was the world’s seventh-largest port in shipping tonnage but facilities were grossly inadequate, cramped and congested. Services were expensive and subject to long delays. The quay, built at different times in sections, had an irregular face line that was difficult for large ships to dock at, and the wooden wharves were worm-eaten and dangerous. Large-scale modernisation of Singapore’s port facilities was needed to cope with the existing volume of traffic and to counter competition from Hong Kong and potential rivalries from ports in Saigon and Java.
!

Singapore’s Centenary 1919

Arthur Henderson Young
Arthur Henderson Young

Governor of the Straits Settlements

Governor of the Straits Settlements between 1911 and 1919, who oversaw a tumultuous period in Singapore’s history including the Singapore Mutiny and May Fourth Movement riots.

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Governor of the Straits Settlements

Singapore’s Centenary saw a vast assembly of its population such as Arabs, Tamils, Malays, Eurasians, Jews and others make an appearance. They also intermingled with representatives from other settlements and the Federated and Unfederated Malay States. I was most delighted to unveil the commemoration tablet on the plinth of the…
Tan Sian Cheng
Tan Sian Cheng

Chinese Chamber of Commerce President

A Director in the Chinese Commercial Bank and President of the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce. Tan was also a member of the Chinese Advisory Board and a Justice of the Peace.

Chinese Chamber of Commerce President
6 Feb 1919
As a representative of the Singapore Chinese community, I desire to express our admiration of the sterling qualities, foresight and fortitude of that great empire builder, Sir Stamford Raffles, whose memory we have gathered here this morning to honour. It is known to you, Sir, as it is to all of us, that it was owing to the good judgment and prescience of Sir Stamford Raffles that Singapore was added to the jewels of the British Crown. Today, it is not only one of the most important trading centres, but is, as Sir Stamford Raffles prophesied, the ‘Key to the East’.

1919 May Fourth Movement Riots

Arthur Henderson Young
Arthur Henderson Young

Governor of the Straits Settlements

Governor of the Straits Settlements between 1911 and 1919, who oversaw a tumultuous period in Singapore’s history including the Singapore Mutiny and May Fourth Movement riots.

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Governor of the Straits Settlements

I declare martial law in Singapore.

Kreta Ayer became a battleground in May as the site of one of Singapore’s first outbreaks of politically motivated violence. Local anti-Japanese protests, inspired by China’s May Fourth Movement
On 4 May 1919, thousands of students in Beijing marched to protest the Paris Peace Conference. They were against the transfer of Shandong’s sovereignty to Japan, which had seized the territory in 1914 during World War I. Chinese outrage led to demonstrations known as the May Fourth Movement and China's eventual withdrawal from the Treaty. In Singapore, newspapers covered anti-Japanese activities in China. Following this, the movement gained momentum in Singapore, leading to demonstrations on 19 June that same year.
, turned ugly and led to clashes and numerous casualties.

A Eurasian Clerk
June 1919
Thousands of students, workers, and merchants marching through the streets of Beijing demanding a rejection of the Paris Peace Conference
In 1919, various heads of government met to draft a peace treaty at the Paris Peace Conference marking the end of World War I. Inspired by Woodrow Wilson’s assurances, China sent a delegation in the hopes of removing all unequal treaties that allowed foreign powers to infringe on Chinese sovereignty. China was especially concerned with the recovery of German concessions in Shandong. However, China’s right to Shandong was rejected and transferred to Japan. China subsequently rejected the peace treaty, also known as the Treaty of Versailles, resulting in an outpouring of Chinese nationalist sentiment, culminating in the May Fourth Movement.
. The patriotism soon became a frenzy
The May Fourth Riots were in specific protest against the terms of the Treaty of Versailles signed at the Paris Peace Conference. More than 3,000 students from 13 colleges in Beijing held a mass demonstration against the decision of the Versailles Peace Conference to transfer the former German concessions in Shandong province to Japan. The Chinese government’s acquiescence to the decision further enraged the students. Huge student demonstrations were held in Peking on 4 May 1919 to denounce the pro-Japanese Peking government. This revolutionary tide soon spread rapidly throughout China, spearheading rapid growth of mass consciousness and cultural change.
, fuelled by news of anti-Japanese activities in China resulting in plots for revenge. Even though the police in Singapore began arresting and imprisoning individuals for distributing illegal pamphlets, it was not enough to stop the madness. Right now we are seeing the looting of Japanese
In the pre-war period, the Japanese community largely consisted of two distinct groups of Japanese residents: the gudang zoku (elite class) and the shitamachi-zoku (downtown class). Most of the gudang zoku resided in the colony for two or three years, and comprised employees of trading companies, banks, shipping firms, and other large Japanese companies located in the commercial centre around Raffles Place and Battery Road. The shitamachi-zoku lived mainly in the Japanese town around High Street and Middle Road, and comprised largely the long-term settlers, such as shop-keepers and karayuki-san (sex-trafficked Japanese girls).
shops, and destruction and burning of goods. The mob made bonfires in the middle of the road and scenes of wild confusion reigned.

Governor Young is to Retire

Arthur Henderson Young
Arthur Henderson Young

Governor of the Straits Settlements

Governor of the Straits Settlements between 1911 and 1919, who oversaw a tumultuous period in Singapore’s history including the Singapore Mutiny and May Fourth Movement riots.

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Governor of the Straits Settlements

I have served His Majesty for 45 years but even if I were a much younger man, you have all been so kind and generous to me that it would have spoilt me for any other work. Although I shall not be here, I shall follow closely the progress and…
Lim Boon Keng
Lim Boon Keng

A Doctor and Civic Leader

A Peranakan doctor, public intellectual and writer. He won the Queen’s Scholarship and was a member of the Legislative Council who pushed for social and educational reforms.

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A Doctor and Civic Leader
12 July 1919
I can’t believe it’s been a year since you awarded me the Order of the British Empire! On behalf of the Chinese communities of the Colony of the Straits Settlements and of the Federated Malay States, we most respectfully express our heartfelt appreciation and gratitude for the great and distinguished services rendered by Your Excellency. You took the keenest interest in Chinese affairs, with facts considered and weighed with infinite trouble on your part, with the result that your decisions gave the greatest satisfaction to all concerned. Your retirement is a great loss to our community.
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