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SBO unveils four new statues along Singapore river as part of bicentennial commemoration

Following close on the heels of the ‘disappearance’ of the statue of Sir Stamford Raffles, the Singapore Bicentennial Office has added four new statues at the Raffles landing site along the Singapore river.

These are a part of the commemoration of the Singapore’s Bicentennial, which is being used as an opportunity to reflect not just on the arrival of Raffles in 1819, but as a larger attempt at national self discovery that goes all the way back to 1299.

The first statue is of Sang Nila Utama, the Palembang prince who established the Singapura Kingdom in 1299. The three new statues are of Munshi Abdullah, a linguist who was secretary and interpreter to Sir Stamford Raffles; Naraina Pillai an entrepreneur who contributed to the Hindu community including the construction of the Sri Mariamman Temple in 1827  and finally Tan Tock Seng, a philanthropist and leader of the Chinese community.

The SBO says the new statues will be displayed alongside the statue of Sir Stamford Raffles until January 8 and will subsequently shifted to different locations along the Singapore River.

Speaking about the initiative Singapore Bicentennial Office executive director Gene Tan said: “While most might associate the Singapore Bicentennial with only the British and 1819, the appearance of the four additional statues clearly articulates the approach we are taking for this year-long effort. 1819 is an important point in our history, but before and after the British also came many people and communities.

“Even the four statues represent only a fraction of the huge cast of characters who contributed to the evolution of Singapore in our longer history of 700 years. Through the various events planned throughout 2019, we hope that Singaporeans will be able to broaden their understanding of how different communities, including their own, had a part to play in Singapore’s history.”

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