History of Our Pledge
The National Pledge embodies the ideals for building a united Singapore. It was written in August 1966 by Mr S.Rajaratnam, the then Minister for Foreign Affairs, shortly after Singapore's independence. He believed that language, race and religion were divisive factors, but the Pledge emphasises that these differences can be overcome if Singaporeans cared enough about their country. The draft text was handed to the then Prime Minister Mr Lee Kuan Yew, who refined it before submitting it to the Cabinet for approval.
The National Pledge was written in the mid-1960s in the aftermath of the racial riots that had affected communalharmony in Malaysia and Singapore.
Rajaratnam believed that race, language and religion were the main factors contributing to the division of the people. In wording the Pledge he sought to bring across the message that these differences can be overcome if Singaporeans were committed to and caring enough for their country. The dream for Singapore is spelt out in theideals of the Pledge. It calls for a sense of nationhood to be fostered despite differences, and encourages all to bring reality to the dream of building a country which all Singaporeans could be proud of.
Rajaratnam remembered taking only a day or two to pen the words although it was refined further by Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew before submissions to the Cabinet. Some sources suggest Ong Pang Boon had a hand in the writing of the Pledge, but generally, Rajaratnam is credited for its entirety.
On 25 August 1966, about 500,000 students from 529 government and aided schools recited the National Pledge,the first time the Pledge was recited in schools. Led by teachers, the recital was done at the instruction of the Ministry of Education (MOE) which then said that pupils were to observe this ceremony with solemnity and respect, and to face the National Flag with their right hands raised. From 27 June 1988 however, students have been reciting the Pledge with their right fists clenched to their chests, a change which according to MOE was to better reflect the emotional aspect of saying the Pledge.
The Pledge has since been recited on occasions of national importance such as the National Day Parade. Unlike the National Anthem and the Flag, there had been hardly any early newspaper coverage of the Pledge.
Kami, warganegara Singapura, sebagai rakyat yang bersatu padu, tidak kira apa bangsa, bahasa, atau ugama,berikrar untuk membina suatu masyarakat yang demokratik, berdasarkan kepada keadilan dan persamaan untuk mencapai kebahagiaan, kemakmuran dan kemajuan bagi negara kami.
We, the citizens of Singapore pledge ourselves as one united people, regardless of race, language or religion, to build a democratic society, based on justice and equality, so as to achieve happiness, prosperity and progress for our nation