Student demonstration against the National Service Ordinance

On 13 May 1954 students from Chinese middle schools were seen gathering here at the foot of King George V Park – present day Fort Canning Park – for a march to Government House to petition against the National Service Ordinance passed by the British government. The ordinance, which required all males between the ages of 18 and 20 to register for conscription had proved to be highly unpopular among Chinese-educated students. The Chinese did not feel they were obliged serve the colonial government, who in their eyes had never treated the Chinese as equals. The decision to stage a demonstration was triggered by the authorities’ rejection of the petition sent by students of Chung Cheng High School seeking exemption from registration.