Police struggling to deal with Chinese school students protesting the National Service Ordinance on 13 May 1954, near Fort Canning.
The May 13 incident involved some 1,100 Chinese students whose representatives had wanted to meet with the colonial government to seek exemption from National Service. The subsequent crackdown, injury to two dozen students and arrests of nearly fifty, had a much wider significance and in many ways embodied the surge of anti-colonial sentiment fuelled by left-wing elements. One young activists at the time, Tan Kok Chiang, has stated it thus: “The May 13 incident brought about great unity among young students who, in order to obtain a peaceful environment for study, rose up to oppose military service, to reject becoming the cannon fodder for the colonial rulers, and to refuse to be Asians fighting Asians…. Large numbers of students matured during the process, providing additional strength to the anti-colonial forces, leading to the early ending of colonial rule.”
A Splendid Little Colony: British Singapore 1819 - 1963 | Singapore