SINGAPORE - As efforts ramp up to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the arrival of Sir Stamford Raffles in Singapore, the office in charge of next year's activities has launched its logo.
It signifies the evolution of Singapore not only in the last 200 years, but 700 years.
The logo comprises seven red poly-shapes, each representing one century, for a total of seven hundred years of Singapore's longer history.
The poly-shapes form a circle to symbolise the island's transformation through time, adapting and evolving to become present-day Singapore, said the Singapore Bicentennial Office in a media statement.
It said that the logo was designed to express both change and continuity, "conveying the sense that this is an ever-evolving journey for the better".
"The commemoration is an occasion for us to reflect on our history before and after Raffles, and how we've evolved from a place with a geographically strategic location to a people with a unique Singaporean DNA.
"Throughout the year, we will look at the impact powers around the region and the world have had on us; the huge cast of characters who've contributed to our evolution, and more," said the office.
The Bicentennial commemoration will be marked by a year-long calendar of events in 2019, culminating in a major exhibition at the Fort Canning Centre. Anchor events will look at not only Singapore's history after the arrival of Raffles in 1819, but also the 500 years prior to that.
This could help to raise awareness among Singaporeans that the 500-year period between the 1300s and 1819 was not bereft of activities. For instance, in the 1300s, the Sejarah Melayu, a mythologised historical text, recorded the activities of Palembang Prince, Sang Nila Utama, who arrived on the island's shores to build a port - one of a string of port-cities that emerged after the fall of the Srivijayan empire.
The empire was a kingdom that flourished between the 7th and the 13th centuries, in what is now largely Indonesia.
In the 1330s, Chinese trader Wang Dayuan who had visited Singapore noted that the island had foreign traders living alongside the local populace. He also described two local settlements - Banzu and Long Ya Men.
The dominant group living in Singapore during the 1400s was the Orang Laut, who were described as expert fishermen and fierce warriors.
In the 1500s, Singapore's port impressed gem trader Jacques de Coutre, who described it as one of the best in the East Indies.
The SG50 logo was a little red dot which was designed to symbolise Singapore's ability to punch above its weight despite its limitations in size and natural resources.
This article was first published in The Straits Times. Permission required for reproduction.