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Saturday, 6 February 2016

259) Singapore celebrated its 50 years of Nation Building (1965-2015): Commemorative Banknotes, Coins and Stamps issued by the Monetary Authority of Singapore, and Singapore Post respectively, in 2015:

259) Singapore celebrated its 50 years of Nation Building (1965-2015): Commemorative Banknotes, Coins and Stamps issued by the Monetary Authority of Singapore, and Singapore Post respectively, in 2015:

Singapore celebrated its 50th Year of Independence in 2015. To mark this major milestone, in Singapore’s history, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) released a series of Commemorative Banknotes and Coins:

A set of six Commemorative Banknotes issued in August 2015:

On 18.08.2015, a set of six Commemorative Banknotes were issued by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS). The set comprised a $50 Polymer Banknote and five $10 Polymer Banknotes.

The Banknote Designs: The Banknote designs drew inspiration from significant milestones and achievements in Singapore’s history and the values, multi-racialism and aspirations that are the cornerstone of Singapore’s progress.
 The Folder in which the six Commemorative Banknotes are contained. The folder shows the logo of the 50 years of Independence celebrations -"SG 50"
 The cover of the information booklet contained in the Folder showing the theme " Together, 50 years of Nation-Building"

The Fronts of the $50 (Fifty Singapore Dollars) and the five $10 (Ten Singapore Dollars) Banknotes depict the portrait of Yusof Ishak, Singapore’s first President as on the Fronts of the current Banknote Series in circulation.
 The Front of the $50 Commemorative Banknote, as it appears placed in the album
              The Front of the $50 Commemorative Banknote 

The Front of the $50 Commemorative Banknote highlights Singapore’s history, transformation and its future.

 Seen in the left hand side of the Banknote as a new Security feature, is an image of Singapore’s first Prime Minister, Late Lee Kuan Yew shouting “Merdeka” (the rallying cry of Singapore’s Independence struggle. “Merdeka” is a word in the Indonesian and Malay language meaning “independent of free”. It is derived from the Sanskrit “maharddhika” which means “free, rich, powerful and prosperous”) with the clenched fist of his raised right hand. He is seen at the steps of the City Hall in 1959, leading Singaporeans to march and rally in support of self-government. This event proved to be a major milestone which later culminated in Singapore achieving its Independence in 1965.

Also depicted on this face of the Banknote, is the portrait of Yusof bin Ishak, Singapore’s first President. This portrait has been put on a Banknote for the first time and is different from the portrait of the first President carried on the current Banknote Series in circulation.

Also seen on this Face of the Banknote is a group of children of different races, which highlights Singapore’s distinctive racial harmony.
 The Back of the $50 Commemorative Banknote, as it appears placed in the album
               The Back of the $50 Commemorative Banknote 

The Back of the $50 Commemorative Banknote depicts Singapore’s first National Day Parade on 09.08.1966. It represented the hopes of the newly independent nation, determined to build itself into a dynamic, vibrant and forward looking nation. Also seen on this face is a representation of Singapore’s new town in Punggol which symbolises the continuing renewal of Singapore’s homes and communities.

The Five $10 Commemorative Banknotes:

Common Designs on the Front of the five $10 Commemorative Banknotes:

 The Front of the $10 Commemorative Banknote, as it appears placed in the album

                      The Front of the $10 Commemorative Banknote

1)   The five $10 Commemorative Banknotes all share a common front design which is a modified version of the portrait of Singapore’s first President Yusof bin Ishak, carried on the current $10 Banknote Series in circulation.

2)   The design also includes a spray of Singapore’s National Flower, Vanda Miss Joaquim.

3)   A new security thread has been added depicting the Singapore Coat of Arms, along with the SG50 logo and the dates of the period under celebration “1965” and 2015”

On the Back of each of the five $10 Banknotes:

There is a common feature on the Back of each $ 10 Banknote – they each depict the theme “Vibrant Nation, Endearing Home”. Each Banknote showcases the values and aspirations that underpin the nation’s progress and Singapore’s unity.

 This $10 showcases the theme "Regardless of Race, Language or religion"
On the Back of the above $10 Banknote is mentioned the theme “regardless of race, language or religion”.

This theme highlights the multiracial and multi-religious harmony that is the nation’s first and most fundamental commitment. A group of 8 secondary school students is featured standing shoulder to shoulder, demonstrating a sense of shared identity despite racial differences.
 This $10 showcases the theme "Opportunities for All"

On the Back of the above $10 Banknote is mentioned the theme “Opportunities for All”.

This theme highlights Singapore’s belief in a fair and inclusive meritocracy. The foreground of the Banknote features students learning and developing both academically and in non-academic ways i.e. participating in sports, cultural activities, keeping abreast with the latest news and developments etc. On this face, an otherwise abled (physically challenged) student is depicted highlighting Singapore’s Education system as a platform for all, providing all students equal opportunities based on an individual’s merit. Also, depicted are various career aspirants in different sectors of the economy, underlining the opportunity to pursue passions and excelling in the chosen fields.
          This $10 showcases the theme "Safe and Secure"

On the Back of the above $10 Banknote is mentioned the theme “Safe and Secure”.

This theme highlights the value Singapore places as a small nation on peace and stability, through a strong defence and respect for law and order. The Singapore Armed Forces which forms the military arm of Singapore’s total defence – represented by the Navy, Army and Air Force. The personnel of the three arms are depicted on this Banknote. Also depicted on this face are the Home Team members – a team of police officers, Citizens – on – Patrol members, a paramedic and a fire-fighter.  Together the Armed forces and the Home Team play a vital role in making Singapore safe and secure.

On the Back of the above $10 Banknote is mentioned the theme “Strong Families”.

This theme highlights and reaffirms the responsibility for the family and respect for Singapore’s senior citizens that are the core values in Singaporean Society. This Banknote depicts three generations of a Chinese family celebrating an important milestone for the elderly couple. Also seen on this face is a newly commissioned Indian officer sharing his achievements with his parents. A third image shows a Malay grandfather enjoying a quiet moment with his grandson while a fourth image shows a Eurasian family riding a tandem bicycle on an excursion.
 This $10 Banknote showcases the theme "Caring Community, Active Citizenry"
On the Back of the above $10 Banknote is mentioned the theme “Caring Community, Active Citizenry”.

This theme highlights and emphasises upon the key role of citizens in ensuring a compassionate and cohesive society. Depicted on this face is a scene of community gardening, focussing on Singapore’s continuous efforts to keep the country clean and green. This face also depicts volunteers interacting with an elderly woman and painting the flat of the less privileged, demonstrating a spirit of caring for each other.

Security features:

Both the $50 and $10 Banknotes have security features that are the first of their kind in the World to be used on a currency note.

The Security stripe on the $50 Banknote has a unique see-through feature with “image movement effects” that create depth to the image of Late Lee Kuan Yew. The SG50 logo has “colour-switching effects” with the year flipping from “1965” to “2015”. 

The $10 Banknotes have a Security stripe.
 The Back of the Commemorative Banknotes folder showing the names of the participating nine Banks in the exercise of sponsoring and distributing the Commemorative Banknotes/folders.

The Designers:

The $50 Commemorative Banknote has been designed by Fabian Lim, a partner in Royal Fly, who has also designed the Back of the $10 Commemorative Banknote having the theme “regardless of race, language or religion”.

Eng Siak Loy and Weng Ziyan of Newday Design have designed four of the five Back designs of the $10 Commemorative Banknotes – “Opportunity for All”, “Safe and secure”, Strong Families” and “caring Community, active Citizenry”.

Chua Mia Tee has designed the “Merdeka” image on the $50 Commemorative Banknote.

Distribution of the Commemorative Banknotes – Singaporeans only and then after that other residents in Singapore – A Faux Pas?:

The “public” (read “Singaporeans only”) could exchange the Commemorative Banknotes set at face value from 20.08.2015 onwards upto 30.09.2015 against showing their National registration Identification Cards (NRIC) at one of the nine major retail Banks  branches (DSB Bank/POSB, Overseas-Chinese Banking Corporation, United Overseas Bank, Bank of China, Citibank, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, Malayan Banking Berhad, Standard Chartered Bank and the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC).

The Commemorative Banknotes could be purchased by “non-Singaporeans” only after 01.10.2015, (Notwithstanding the  “Opportunities For All” – theme highlighted on the back of one of the SG $10 Banknotes and “Merdeka” etc. etc. (“We Singaporeans still practice “Apartheid” a legacy which we have picked up/learnt from our British rulers” seems to be the guiding philosophy here).

“Members of the Public” were given a quota of five sets of Banknotes (each set comprising a $50 Banknote and five $10 Banknotes) per transaction per individual. The public could choose to exchange any number or combination of Banknotes subject to a maximum of five Banknotes per design.

The Public could also obtain specially designed folders to keep the Commemorative Banknotes. They could obtain one complimentary folder when they exchanged their Banknotes for any of the Commemorative Banknotes. There was no minimum amount they needed to exchange to obtain the folder.

An additional folder would be given if two full sets of Banknotes (each set comprising a $50 and five $10 Banknotes) or more were exchanged. A maximum of two folders per transaction were allocated. The nine Retail Banks had initially sponsored 2.80 million of these specially designed folders.

Another Faux Pas on the part of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS):

Although in early September 2015, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) announced that Singaporeans will be given the opportunity to collect two folders per household without any charges at any of the 108 community centres and community clubs after 11.11.2015 till 30.11.2015 and that an additional six million folders would be printed to meet the “overwhelming demand” from Singaporeans.

It seems that, this was excess printing of folders was not entirely to meet the “overwhelming” demand, on the part MAS authorities altogether, but to cover up a faux pas in which they had misspelt the name of Singapore’s first President, Mr. Yusof Ishak as “Yusok Ishak” and were trying to save face and play down their embarrassment.

A set of 3 Commemorative Coins were issued by the Singapore Mint in April 2015:

Three coins were issued by the Singapore Mint with the theme “Education, Building our Nation Together” emphasising that the fundamental role that Education plays in the transformation of a young nation cannot be undermined.
 The theme of the Cupro-Nickel $2 coin is "Education, Building Our Nation Together"

The cupro-nickel $2 coin depicts basic education at the primary and secondary levels which equips children with the foundational skills and the character and values that prepare them for the future.

The specifications of this coin are:

Metal Composition: Cupro-Nickel; Weight: 20.00 gms; Diameter: 38.70 mm; Mintage: unlimited.

 The theme of the Silver $5 coin is "Education, Building Our Nation Together"
The silver $5 coin depicts higher education that provides students with multiple career opportunities for achieving their aspirations.

Metal Composition: 999 fine silver; Weight: 31.103 gms; Diameter: 40.70 mm; Mintage: 15,000 pieces.
 The theme of the Gold $50 coin is "Education, Building Our Nation Together"

The gold $50 coin depicts the teachers and educators who seek to bring out the best in every child.

Metal Composition: 999 fine gold; Weight: 7.776 gms; Diameter: 21.96 mm; Mintage: 2,000 pieces.

All three designs highlight Singapore’s multi-racial diversity.

Postage stamps released by Singapore Post (Singpost):

To celebrate the golden jubilee of Singapore’s Independence, a series of commemorative stamp sets was released from 2013 to 2015.

The third and final set was titled “A Brighter Future Together” was released on 05.08.2015.
 Technical specifications:

Denominations: 1st Local, 2nd Local, 60c, 70c, 90c and $1.30

Stamp Size: 40mm x 45 mm

Miniature Sheet: 113 mm x 80 mm

Printer: Cartor Security Printing

Sheet content: 10 stamps per sheet

Designer: Tze Ngan

  The overall assessment:

Singaporeans felt that the more than 500 initiatives organised to celebrate SG50 including the biggest National Day Parade and the “Future of Us” exhibition had brought the Nation together. They felt that SG50 as a part of Nation building was not a “partisan event” and it was about deep reflections about what they have achieved/learnt in the past 50 years and the relevant lessons for the future.

Nevertheless, the passing of Lee Kuan Yew during the celebrations was a low point in the celebrations.

India-Singapore joint stamp issue celebrating 50 Years of India-Singapore Friendship, depicting Rashtrapati Bhawan, India and Istana, Singapore:

India too has joined in celebrating 50 years of India-Singapore friendship by issuing joint stamps:
A set of two Commemorative Postage stamps was released jointly by the Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi and Prime Minister of Singapore, Mr. Lee Hsien Loong on the occasion of 50th anniversary of Singapore and India bilateral relationship at the Istana, Singapore on 24th November, 2015.

Depicted in the joint stamp issue are the Presidential Residences of both countries – the Rashtrapati Bhavan of India and the Istana of Singapore.

An enduring bilateral Relationship between India and Singapore:

India and Singapore have excellent bilateral relationship with each other, together with frequent and active interaction through different platforms which enable both countries to exchange views on many issues of mutual concern.

The cooperation covers multiple areas in economic, commercial and cultural spheres. This collaboration has been very fruitful and beneficial to both countries.

The “Rashtrapati Bhavan” (The Residence of the President of India):

The residence of the President of India was formerly the British Viceroy’s house which became the Government House on 15.08.1947 when India gained Independence from the British Raj.

It then became the residence of Chakravarti Rajagopalachari, the first Indian Governor-General on 21.06.1948, when he was sworn into office, following the departure of Louis Mountbatten, the last British Viceroy and first Governor General of India.

On 26.06.1950, the building was renamed Rashtrapati Bhavan, when Dr. Rajendra Prasad, took office as the first President of India.

The Building and surrounding Gardens of the Rashtrapati Bhavan:

Rashtrapati Bhavan was built between 1913-1929.  Among the largest official residences of any Head of State, Rashtrapati Bhavan is an “H” shaped building. The building has four floors with 227 columns, 37 fountains and 2.5 kilometres of corridors – all spread across a vast five acres. The central ceremonial hall within the building is known as the “Durbar Hall” (or the “King’s court”). It is presently used for all major state functions. The first Government of Independent India was sworn in at the Durbar Hall on 15.08.1947.

The grandest room in the Rashtrapati Bhavan is the Ashok Hall, which was once a Ballroom. The Ashok Hall still retains its orchestra box from where, on formal occasions the President’s arrival was announced by trumpet (a legacy from the British times). The Ashok Hall has been described as a “large jewel box” and every intricate detail in the Hall is exquisite.

The Rashtrapati Bhavan is a masterpiece of architecture and its 15 acre Mughal Garden is its soul. The landscape follows the exquisite symmetry of the Persian-inspired Charbagh tradition, which gave India some of the loveliest gardens, including the Royal gardens of Kashmir. No wonder, then, at the time of campaigning for the President’s position, the present incumbent Pranab Mukherjee openly stated that he wanted to live at least one term in the Rashtrapati Bhavan, to stroll in its majestic and historic gardens in the autumn of his political career.

The Mughal Gardens are at their glorious best in February and March when they are thrown open for public viewing.

The President hosts two grand receptions here every year – one to mark the Republic Day of India on 26th January and the other to mark the Independence Day of India on 15th August.

The Istana:

The Istana is the official residence and office of the President of Singapore.

It was designed and built by Colonial Engineer Major John Frederick Adolphus McNair.

In 1867, the Colonial Government under Harry St.George Ord bought over 100 acres of land belonging to Charles Princep’s nutmeg plantation. The foundation stone was laid in July 1867. The entire brickwork, exterior of plastering and most of the flooring and interior work of Government House were done by Indian convict labourers brought in by the British from Bencoolen in Sumatra because the unskilled local coolies at that time were not capable of carrying out the classical design. These convict labourers worked as stone masons, plumbers, carpenters, painters and stone cutters and operated the kilns used for making bricks, mouldings, copings and architraves for onsite-construction. The Government House was built at a total cost of $185,000 with several interruptions in funding the grandiose building. (So, it seems that India-Singapore cooperation is not only 50 years old – it is historical dating back to 1867 or thereabouts, when Indian minds executed the exquisite designs of the Istana. I think we should actually be celebrating 150 years of India-Singapore cooperation in 2017, never mind the then British Raj in both our countries).

Commemorative Stamps issued by the Department of Posts, India:

The year 2015 marks the 50th Anniversary of Singapore and India’s bilateral relationship. To commemorate this significant milestone, the India-Singapore Joint Stamp Issue has been released – featuring the “Rashtrapati Bhavan” and the “Istana”.

The above is an image of the Rashtrapati Bhavan featuring on a Rs.5/- stamp titled “Bharat Aur Singapore, Sanyukt Dak Tikat” (in Hindi) and “India-Singapore Joint Issue” (in English).

The above is an image of the Istana featuring on a Rs.5/- stamp titled “Bharat aur Singapore, Sanyukt Dak Tikat” (in Hindi) and “India-Singapore Joint Issue” (in English).
I have received two sets of five stamps each from the e-post office located at Sansad Marg HO, New Delhi 3 each of which are placed below:
A set of three stamps of Rs.25/- each depicting the Rashtrapati Bhavan, New Delhi.

A set of three stamps of Rs.5/- each depicting the Istana, in Singapore.

Singapore Post Limited (Singpost) issues:
 Singapore Post Limited (Singpost) has released the same commemorative Singapore-India Joint Issue stamps on 24.11.2015.  The denominations of these stamps are 1st Local and $ 2 . The 1st Local stamps can be used to make up the postage for overseas mail. The stamp size is 40.8 mm x 29.85 mm. The Printer is Secura Singapore Pte Ltd.

The Singapore 1st Local stamp depicts "Istana". Also mentioned on the stamp is "Singapore-India Joint Stamp Issue".
 The Singapore $2 stamp depicts "Rashtrapati Bhavan". Also mentioned on the stamp is "Singapore-India Joint Stamp Issue".

(The above Commemorative Banknotes set is from the collection of Jayant Biswas. Post researched and written and Banknotes scanned and uploaded by Rajeev Prasad)


1) Coins of Singapore 

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