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Singapore: Artifacts of Sikh saint-soldier put at display

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Singapore: A two-day exhibition was put up at a gurdwara in Singapore on Saturday to display the artifacts belonging to a Sikh saint-soldier.

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The exhibition, put up at Gurdwara Sahib Silat Road in Bukit Merah area of Singapore as part of a month-long festival to honour Sikh saint-soldier, Bhai Maharaj Singh, features some of his personal items such as a salottar (wooden stick used as a support and weapon), dastaar chakkar (turban steel quoits used to retain the shape of a turban) and a mala (rosary) belonging to the spiritual leader, The Straits Times reported on Saturday.

The items on display are on loan until July 5 from his descendants in India.

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Picture from

Bhai Maharaj is believed to be the first Sikh in Singapore. He was taken to Singapore in 1850 after he was arrested by the British. It was feared that his detention in India may cause unrest as he was revered by the Sikh community in India for his spirituality, patriotic fervour and for standing up against British dominion.

Bhai Maharaj was lodged in Outram prison in Singapore where no light or fresh air could enter. Six years later, on July 5, 1856, he passed away after losing his eyesight and developing throat cancer.

“We are very privileged to be able to exhibit some of Bhai Maharaj Singh’s personal artifacts this year. With this, people can learn even more about this great saint-soldier. Having served the community and having endeavoured to be a good human being through the attainment of high spirituality, Bhai Maharaj Singh is an embodiment of the concept of Miri Piri (spirituality and community service),” Gurdwara chairman Baljit Singh said.

This year marks the 159th year of his death.


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Halimah Yacob is Singapore’s First Woman President, Elected Without a Vote

"I am a President for everyone," said the newly elected Halimah Yacob, whose post is more representative than executive

Halimah Yacob
Halimah Yacob who was the only candidate to get eligibility certificate, is now set to be Singapore's next President Wikimedia

Singapore, September 13, 2017 : Halimah Yacob became on Wednesday the first woman President of Singapore, being the only candidate who met the requirements for the presidential elections.

However, Yacob’s selection was overshadowed by criticism that it was undemocratic to give her the top post without a vote. Halimah Yacob, a 63-year-old Muslim of Malay descent, will take her oath of office on Thursday in a ceremony due to be held in Istana, the presidential residence and office, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s office said.

Yacob was the only presidential hopeful among three potential candidates to qualify for the post. This year’s election was reserved for Malay candidates. Two other contenders, businessmen Mohamed Salleh Marican and Farid Khan, did not meet one of the minimum requirements to run, Channel NewsAsia reported.

Yacob, accompanied by her husband and greeted by about 750 supporters, spoke outside the People’s Association building and called for unity in a speech delivered in English and Malay.

“We need every Singaporean to stand together shoulder to shoulder … we have not reached the peak yet and the best is yet to come,” Yacob said, urging citizens to “focus on the similarities that we have and not on the differences.”

In 2016, Singapore’s Parliament approved a constitutional reform which stipulated that the presidential elections would be reserved for one of the ethnicities of the multicultural city-state if no candidate from this group has occupied the post in the previous 30 years.

“I am a President for everyone,” said Halimah Yacob, whose post is more representative than executive.

Yacob was born in 1954 to a Muslim Indian-origin father and a Malay mother.

The mother of five started her political career with the People’s Action Party (PAP), which has been governing the country since 1959, and entered the Parliament in 2001.

She secured her first portfolio in 2011, as State Minister of Community Development, Youth and Sports, and became the Speaker of Parliament in 2013.

In August 2017, Halimah Yacob stepped down as Speaker and resigned from the PAP to be able to run for President. (IANS)

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