Singapore (1945 – present)
After World War Two, a wave of decolonisation began to sweep through Asia and Africa. In 1959, Singapore was granted self-government and the first general election for a fully-elected government was held. The People’s Action Party (PAP) won and its leader, Lee Kuan Yew, became Singapore’s first prime minister. Following a merger with, and then separation from, Malaysia, Singapore became a fully independent nation in 1965.
Over the next two decades, the government tackled the challenges faced by the growing nation, such as unemployment and insufficient housing. It took bold steps to introduce industrialisation, encourage foreign investment and tourism, provide modern public housing and education, and clean up the environment.
The artefacts here provide a glimpse into some of these key developments in the years after Singapore’s independence.