Student demonstrations against National Service

In 1954, the colonial government passed a law stipulating that all males between the ages of 18 and 20 had to register for part-time National Service. This was part of the process of preparing Singapore for self-government. National Service was not popular with students from Chinese schools because they felt that it served British interests. Communist elements incited these students to boycott the registration teams. On 13 May 1954, nearly 1,000 students from Chinese schools gathered in front of Government House (the present-day Istana) to protest against National Service. When they failed to disperse, the riot squad was summoned. Soon after these photographs were taken, the students clashed with the police. Over 20 people were injured and 48 students were arrested. This series of photographs was captured by one of the students, who felt that they had been unfairly treated by the police when they had simply been trying to express their unhappiness with government policy.