For 140 years (1819-1959), the Union Jack flew over Singapore. Then, on 3 December 1959, the National Flag, an important symbol of independence, was unveiled at the installation of the new Head of State, the Yang di-Pertuan Negara. Also unveiled that day were the State Crest and the National Anthem. The flag was conceived and created by a committee headed by the then Deputy Prime Minister, Dr Toh Chin Chye.
The Flag consists of two horizontal halves, red above white. Red symbolises universal brotherhood and equality of men; white, purity and virtue. In the upper left corner, a white crescent moon and five white stars form a circle. The crescent moon represents a young nation on the rise. The five stars stand for Singapore’s ideals of democracy, peace, progress, justice and equality.
Coat of arms of Singapore
The National Coat of Arms or State Crest consists of a shield with a white crescent moon and five white stars against a red background. Red symbolises universal brotherhood and equality of men; white, purity and virtue. The five stars represent the ideals of democracy, peace, progress, justice and equality. Supporting the shield are a lion on the left and a tiger on the right. The lion represents Singapore and the tiger represents the island’s historical links with Malaysia. Below the shield is a banner inscribed with the Republic’s motto, “Majulah Singapura” (“Onward Singapore”). The Coat of Arms or State Crest was unveiled on 3 December 1959 together with the National Flag and the National Anthem at the installation of the Yang di-Pertuan Negara at the City Hall steps.
The Lion Head Symbol
According to 13th century Malay Annals, a prince spotted a creature he believed was a lion and named the island “Singa-pura” (Lion City)–from which Singapore was derived.
The Lion Symbol was launched in 1986 as an alternative national symbol. The National Flag and State Crest have legal restrictions that prevent their commercial use. The Lion Symbol was chosen as a logo that best captures the characteristics of Singapore’s reputation as the Lion City.
The lion symbolises courage, strength and excellence. It is in red against a white background–the colours of the National Flag. The five partings of the lion’s mane represent the five ideals embodied in the five stars of the flag–democracy, peace, progress, justice and equality. The lion’s purposeful bearing symbolises the nation’s single-minded resolve to face challenges and overcome obstacles.