Singapore Honors Rizal

The pride of the Malayan race whose writings led to a revolution that established
the first republic in Asia was given an honor in Singapore by way of a bronze
bust relief recently unveiled in the city-states’ Asian Civilization Museum Green.
Jose Rizal, the Philippine national hero was a frequent visitor of this now ultramodern
country. In the late 19th century, Singapore was a quaint, English colony
which greatly attracted the peripatetic Filipino.
Over a century after his last visit, Dr. Jose Rizal, is once again back in his old
stomping grounds in Singapore.

Education Secretary Jesli Lapus and Singapore President S.R. Nathan recently
unveiled the prominent bronze bust relief of Dr. Rizal, dubbed “the great
Malayan”, at the museum located right at the heart of bustling Singapore.
The historic occasion was witnessed by Philippine Ambassador Belen Fule-
Anota, Chairman Ambeth Ocampo of the National Historical Institute, Chairman
Tommy Koh of the Singapore National Heritage Board (NHB) and Mr. Michael
Koh, Chief Executive Officer of the NHB.

Also present were members of the diplomatic corps, Singapore government
officials and members of the Filipino community in Singapore.
The project is part of the “Friends to our Shores” program of the Singapore
National Heritage Board. It was undertaken with the cooperation of the
Philippine Embassy in Singapore.

The two-sided marker bears a picture of a painting of Rizal by Fabian de la
Rosa on one side. The other side was a bronze relief of Rizal by Philippine
national artist Guillermo Tolentino, fabricated by Peter de Guzman. Only the
third of its kind, it serves to mark the visits (1882, 1887, 1891,1896) of Rizal to
Singapore.

Dr. Elizabeth Ong, former president of the Filipino ladies Group of Singapore did
the initial research on the travels of Rizal to Singapore. This eventually led to
the publication of the books on Philippines-Singapore relations entitled, “Journey
of Friendship”. Dr. Ong said she was “pleased that the main recommendation of
the book to put up a marker of Rizal in Singapore is finally happening.”

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