Our island has flown many flags since 1819, before flying one that we can truly call our own. The powerful symbols on our National Flag reflect our common values and our aspiration as a people.
It was first unfurled on the City Hall steps as the Anthem was sung by thousands that had gathered on 3 Dec 1959. And it would once again be introduced to the world in 1965, when the flag was raised for the first time at the United Nations after our independence.
The crescent moon signifies a young nation on the ascendant, and the five stars depict our ideals of democracy, peace, progress, justice and equality.
The State Crest represents Singapore's declaration of our independence from the British in 1959, and what Singapore stands for as a sovereign nation. It is found on the Singapore passport, currency and government buildings.
Dr Toh Chin Chye, the man who led the committee that developed the Symbols, fashioned the Crest with no crown in sight – because there was no history of monarchy. The lion is a representation of Singapore, and the tiger represents Singapore's historical ties with Malaya (and later Malaysia). The motto “Majulah Singapura” had been popular before it became the title of the National Anthem, calling for the people of Singapore to progress towards happiness together.
The Anthem was composed in 1958 by Zubir Said. Moved by the social and political awakening of the people at the time, he wanted to capture it in song. He envisioned an anthem of the people, easily understood and remembered by all, uniting them in common aspiration. "Majulah Singapura" was born.
The Anthem was eventually unveiled in 1959, in a historic nine-minute swearing-in ceremony of Encik Yusof Bin Ishak, our first Malayan-born Yang di-Pertuan Negara (Head of State). The British Anthem “God Save the Queen” was played then, followed by our new National Anthem.
At the end of the ceremony, the Anthems were played again, but this time with “Majulah Singapura” first, marking our self-governing status.