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SECTION B Part I

Source-Based Questions [16 marks]


The following are sources on immigrants in early Singapore.
Read the sources and answer the questions that follow.
Source A: An account of an immigrant P.Govindasamy PIllai, who came from South
India.
Govindasamy arrived in Singapore in 1905 at the age of 18. He started work at a
provision shop in Serangoon Road. The working conditions were poor but he took
the opportunity to learn about running a business. In 1920 he borrowed some
money from the chettiars to start a business selling spices, oil and grain. Slowly, he
built up the business. Apart from sending money back to his family in India, he
bought houses and rented them out. He also ventured into the textile business.
Using the wealth he gained, he helped pay for the Ramakrishna Mission for the
poor and donated to several religious charities.
Taken form : Understanding Our Past, CPPD

Source B: The experiences of a coolie who first arrived in Singapore in the mid-19 th
century.
We came on shore and I was sold as a little pig. This morning I was taken to a
boat with others but I didnt know where they were taking us to. But we heard that
the place is 11 or 12 days sail from this place, and that we had to work in tin mines.
Of course we refused to go to another country, as we had understood Singapore to
be our destination, and I cant work as a miner. On our way to the boat, we refused
to proceed, so the towkays (supervisors) threatened and beat us.
Adapted from Travellers Tales of Old Singapore
Michael Wise and Wise Mun Hin

Source C: An article from the Straits Times, 16th September 1845


The truth was that Singapore was growing faster than it could cope. The
Government spent nothing on schools. Crime, secret society violence, disease and
poverty were widespread. Robert Woods (editor of the Straits Times) wrote: Many
are dying daily for lack of food. Poverty, vice and disease went unobserved by the
European part of the community.
Adapted from 150 years of the Straits Times

Source D: A historians view of the functions of the Chinese Protectorate in 1877.


The Chinese Protectorate was set up in Singapore to administer the needs of
Chinese community. William Pickering, the first Protector of the Chinese oversaw
all matters concerning the Chinese community. Its main functions include the
recruitment of a pool of civil servants able to speak the Chinese language,
helping out newly-arrived coolies, stamping out secret societies, rescuing female
victims of prostitution, and helping to prevent the spread of infectious diseases.
Study Source A.
a) What can you learn about Govindasamy from the source? Explain your answer.
[5m]
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Study Source B.
b) What can you infer about the life an early immigrant faces on his arrival in
Singapore? Explain your answer.

[5m]

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Study Source C.
c) Is the Source reliable in what it says about the way immigrants were treated
under the British Government? Explain your answer.
[7m]
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