International newspapers and media outlets reported on Singapore’s Golden Jubilee, with most noting the Republic’s remarkable progress in 50 years.
The Wall Street Journal featured Singapore’s history in pictures – displaying photos of moments such as founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew shedding tears during the news conference after Singapore’s separation from Malaysia, and Singapore Airlines’ inaugural flight.
The Economist’s Expresso edition, which carries daily bite-sized news, ran an online story headlined “Golden Divorce: Singapore at 50”.
The occasion will remind Singaporeans “how well they have done against the odds”, the Economist wrote, adding that the Golden Jubilee celebrations “will be one hell of a 50th birthday party”.
Some international broadcasters decided to focus instead on the lighter aspects of the Republic’s 50th-birthday celebrations.
Foreign dignitaries present at the National Day Parade included (front row, from left) Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor and her husband Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, Laos Prime Minister Thongsing Thammavong, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen and Brunei Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah as well as (second row, from left) Japanese Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso, Australian Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss, Indonesian Vice-President Jusuf Kalla and his wife Mufidah Kalla, Chinese Vice-President Li Yuanchao, Britain’s Prince Andrew, Johor Crown Prince Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim and Johor Sultan Ibrahim Ismail.
For instance, American news network CNN published an online list of 50 things to love about Singapore – including the hybrid language of Singlish, which combines English, dialect and other languages, as well as quirky behaviour, such as using packets of tissue paper to reserve seats at hawker centres.
CNBC ran an online report on cool products that have sprouted up in celebration of SG50 – such as a board game called Game of Chope and a smartphone application that directs users to historical places of interest in Singapore.
Closer to home, The Star Online ran an essay by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong headlined “Separate but mutually prospering”.
“Singapore and Malaysia have found ways to live and work together since parting 50 years ago,” Mr Lee wrote in the newspaper.
Bernama news wire reported that Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak – accompanied by his wife, Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, and senior officials – attended the National Day Parade.
The Sydney Morning Herald carried an online article describing the Republic’s journey through tumultuous times, noting that “Singapore has thrived by joining spiritual values with respect for the rule of law”.
Agence France-Presse (AFP) wrote that Mr Lee’s absence from the parade would be marked by a bouquet of flowers placed on his seat, and a five-minute video tribute about his life and political career played at the start of the event.
AFP added that the People’s Action Party, which Mr Lee co-founded, has “ruled uninterrupted since independence, and is widely credited with turning Singapore into one of the world’s richest countries”, but has also been criticised for silencing free speech.