This month, Sport Singapore celebrates 50 years of sporting history with the launch of a new book and the opening of a sport heritage exhibition. The new book, Sport in Singapore: Visions for Change, is the final edition of the book-trilogy and highlights the history of Singapore sport through the lens of former Chairmen and Chief Executive Officers who were instrumental in guiding and operationalising the vision of sport in Singapore. Complementing the book, the exhibition illustrates Singapore’s sporting journey and the transformation of local sport through preserved print magazine covers and publications collected over the years.
Sport in Singapore: Visions for Change is by Dr Nick Aplin, Sport Singapore’s Deputy Director of Sport Heritage and sport historian. This third book is preceded by Sport In Singapore: The Colonial Legacy (2019) and Sport in Singapore: The Rocky Road To Kallang Park (2023). The book is featured as a giant, life-size book installation and will be available alongside the exhibition at The Plaza, National Library Building.
The exhibition includes panel installations that pay homage to significant sporting milestones from the past five decades, such as the country’s first Olympic medal in 1960 and the opening of the National Stadium back in 1973. In collaboration with the National Heritage Board, the exhibition will also display two valuable copies of The Sportsman Magazine, reproduced from originals housed in the National Museum of Singapore.
Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam, President of Singapore, was the Guest-of-Honour at the launch event, held at the National Library Building on 25 November. Mr Edwin Tong, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth and Second Minister for Law, together with senior representatives from Sport Singapore, National Library Board and National Heritage Board, were also present at the event.
During a guided walkthrough of the exhibition, former champions such as P.C. Suppiah, James Wong and father-son duo Wong Shoon Keat and Derek Wong, shared their unique experiences in advancing their chosen sport with the invited guests and brought the exhibition panels made up of 320 magazine covers to life. Each magazine cover was specially selected to capture the zeitgeist of the local sporting scene from the 1970s to current times, providing visitors with a time capsule experience to the different eras of Singapore’s diverse sporting landscape over the past five decades.
Current TeamSG athletes such as Michelle Sng, national record holder in women’s high jump; Eric Yee, TeamSG discus thrower; Maisarah Mohamed Hassan, TeamSG para-athlete and current badminton national team members Ryan Tan Rui Yang and Johann Prajogo were also present to share their sporting journeys.
A special feature of the exhibition is the digital and interactive display of The Sportsman magazines, first published in 1930 by Singapore’s first President Mr Yusof Ishak and his two friends Ong Chin Beng and Soh Swee Tuck. A scholar, sportsman and journalist, Mr Yusof Ishak provided readers in the 1930s a captivating view of the sporting culture in the Straits in the 1930s. Mr Yusof Ishak relinquished his publishing role after three years, but the magazine continued its run for ten years. It was an official publication of weightlifting in Malaya, with supplements on sports such as athletics, badminton, boxing, football, golf, hockey and lawn tennis. The rare pictorials are presented for the first time in a collaboration between the National Heritage Board and Sport Singapore.
The exhibition will be held from 25 November 2023 to 10 January 2024 at The Plaza, National Library Building, and is open to all members of the public.