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Republic of Singapore, Hsin-chia-p’o Kung-ho-kuo, Republik Singapura, Singapore Kudiyarasu

Last modified: 2023-08-19 by zachary harden
Keywords: singapore | singapura | republic of singapore | stars: 5 (white) | crescent: points to fly (white) | coat of arms (singapore) | asean |
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[Singapore] 2:3 , image by Zachary Harden, 15 August 2023
Flag adopted 3rd December 1959, coat-of-arms adopted 26th November 1959

See also:

Description of the national flag and jack

National Flag and Jack.
Red over white bicolour with white crescent and five white five-pointed stars.
Željko Heimer, 16 January 2003

The colours of the Singapore flag represent red for brotherhood and equality; white for purity and virtue. The crescent moon originally served as a symbol of assurance to the Malays in 1959 —the year the flag was designed— that Singapore was not a Chinese state. Today it is generally said that the moon signified a young nation rising. The flag was designed initially to have three stars, until leaders such as then Deputy Prime Minister Toh Chin Chye expressed concern that Singapore might be perceived to have associations with the Malayan Communist Party, the flag of which also had three stars. The flag was originally meant to be red as red is a very traditional Chinese color. But because of the fear of Communism in those days, a completely red flag was abandoned.
Jan Oskar Engene
, 26 January 1998

Remember that Singapore with its 80% Chinese majority has always been aware of its sensitive positioning with the 15 million Muslims of Malaysia just a few kilometres North and with the 170(?) million of Muslim Indonesians just South. It has always been necessary to soothe and placate. For the home crowd, the crescent was a little bit uneasy and it has always been emphasised that this was not representation of Islam but represent a country on the ascent. These days, the sensitivities and touchiness of the past can be examined more honestly and it is politically correct to say that the crescent was put in to placate the Malays.
Thomas W. Koh
, 27 January 1998

From the Expat Singapore website:

For 140 years (1819-1959), the Union Jack flew over Singapore. Then, on 3 December 1959, the National Flag, an important symbol of independence, was unveiled at the installation of the new Head of State, the Yang di-Pertuan Negara. Also unveiled that day were the State Crest and the National Anthem. The flag was conceived and created by a committee headed by the then Deputy Prime Minister, Dr Toh Chin Chye.

The Flag consists of two horizontal halves, red above white. Red symbolises universal brotherhood and equality of men; white, purity and virtue. In the upper left corner, a white crescent moon and five white stars form a circle. The crescent moon represents a young nation on the rise. The five stars stand for Singapore's ideals of democracy, peace, progress, justice and equality.

Dov Gutterman, 4 January 1999

For mathematics and science weenies see The Mathematics and Astronomy of the Singapore Flag for an analysis on the crescents on the Singapore flag and arms, and on the pentagram formed by the stars.
Lewis A. Nowitz
, 8 September 2001

In a book published in 2001, "The National Symbols Kit" (Singapore: Prepared by Programmes Section, Ministry of Information and the Arts. 2001, ISBN 8880968010), the Pantone color on page 5 is defined as Pantone 032 for the red, and blank for the white.
Zachary Harden, 4 May 2010

The protocol manual for the London 2012 Olympics (Flags and Anthems Manual London 2012) provides recommendations for national flag designs. Each NOC was sent an image of the flag, including the PMS shades, for their approval by LOCOG. Once this was obtained, LOCOG produced a 60 x 90 cm version of the flag for further approval. So, while these specs may not be the official, government, version of each flag, they are certainly what the NOC believed the flag to be.
For Singapore: PMS 032 red. The vertical flag is simply the horizontal version turned 90 degrees clockwise.
Ian Sumner, 11 October 2012

Construction details

[Singapore construction details] image by Nick Job, 14 January 2004

[Click on image for larger version; click here for a version laid out on a grid.]

Based on an official diagram for the National Flag (1959), and taking a stripe width of 72 units, the crescent is composed of two intersecting circles of 53 units diameter (at the hoist) and of 58 units with the centre-point of the second being 41 units from the outer edge of the crescent (giving the crescent a depth of 12 units). This last also provides the centre-point for the imaginary circle of 30.4 units diameter placing the stars, which are contained in imaginary circles of 12.8 units diameter. The emblem, is of course, centred vertically on the stripe, and set with the outer edge of the crescent 19 units from the hoist edge.
An official construction diagram for the State and Naval Ensigns gave almost identical details for the crescent and stars, the only two differences being that the emblem is centred on the canton, and that the imaginary circles containing the stars are given as 13.3 units (as opposed to 12.8 on the National Flag).
Christopher Southworth, 23 November 2003

Laws about the flag

Excerpted from

Singaporeans may now display their flag when they please. The Singaporean Government says it will allow its people to fly the national flag whenever they want, without seeking permission. A statement said the law was being relaxed to promote solidarity and allow people to express their patriotism. Citizens of the tightly-controlled city state will now be able to fly the flag throughout the year, not just on Singaporean National Day on 9 August. The statement also said other national symbols should be used more often. The new rules took effect from 1 January, but some restrictions would remain in force, the statement said. The flag must be flown from a flagpole, it must be illuminated when displayed at night, and it must always take precedence over other flags.
Glen Hodgins, 4 January 2004

Guidelines for use of the flag
Singaporeans and non-governmental buildings may display or fly the national flag to identify with the nation. Singaporeans are encouraged to do this during occasions of national celebration or national significance.

How it may be used

  1. When the flag is displayed outside a building, it shall be displayed on or in front of the building. Outside the National Day celebrations period (month of August), it must be flown only from a flagpole, and if it is displayed or flown at night, it should be properly illuminated.
  2. Within Singapore, it should take precedence over all other flags, subject to international practice. When displayed or flown with another flag, it must be in a position of honour. This means it should be positioned where practicable, either above all other flags or to the left of the other flags, as seen by a person facing the flags. (with figures)
    - No other flag or emblem should be placed on the left of the National Flag
    - However, when the National Flag is displayed together with the flags of other countries at official events, it should follow the alphabetical order (as prescribed by the Protocol Directorate, Ministry of Foreign Affairs).
  3. It may be reproduced in reduced size representations and displayed at all times, but it must be in its true form and colours, regardless of size.
How it cannot be used or treated
  1. The flag cannot be used:
    1. in any trademark or for any commercial purpose;
    2. as a means, or for the purposes, of advertisement;
    3. as, or as part of, any furnishings, decoration, covering or receptacle;
    4. at any private funeral activity;
    5. incorporated or worn as part of any costume or attire; or
    6. on any private vehicle.
  2. No person shall produce or display any flag which bears any graphics or word superimposed on the design of the flag.
  3. The flag should be cleaned when dirty, and replaced if it has faded. After any washing, it should not be hung out to dry outdoors together with other laundry. Any worn out or damaged flag should be disposed properly, not left visible in dustbins. Torn or worn-out flags should be packed into a sealed black trash bag before being disposed.
Ivan Sache, 22 July 2006

Perhaps a statement should be included explaining an exception to this rule. The Presidential Standard takes precedence over the National Flag when the President is in attendance. Examples include when the President is gracing the military officer commissioning parades/ceremonies and at National Day Parades.

And concerning "graphics or words superimposed on the flag", another exceptional note that should be included would be the case of the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) where the National Flag is defaced with the SAF badge to make the Singapore Armed Forces Flag. Also, the National Flag is defaced with the SAF badge, the Republic of Singapore Navy badge, and the Republic of Singapore Air Force badge for the respective State Colour of these military services.
Herman Felani M.Y., 23 July 2006


[Singapore Coat-of-Arms]
from National Symbols Act (2022), pg. 14

From the Expat Singapore website:

The National Coat of Arms or State Crest consists of a shield with a white crescent moon and five white stars against a red background. Red symbolises universal brotherhood and equality of men; white, purity and virtue. The five stars represent the ideals of democracy, peace, progress, justice and equality. Supporting the shield are a lion on the left and a tiger on the right. The lion represents Singapore and the tiger represents the island's historical links with Malaysia. Below the shield is a banner inscribed with the Republic's motto, "Majulah Singapura" ("Onward Singapore").

The Coat of Arms or State Crest was unveiled on 3 December 1959 together with the National Flag and the National Anthem at the installation of the Yang di-Pertuan Negara at the City Hall steps.

Dov Gutterman, 4 January 1999

The Lion Symbol

[Singapore Lion Symbol]
from the National Heritage Board

The following information on the so-called Lion Symbol is taken from the Expat Singapore website:

According to 13th century Malay Annals, a prince spotted a creature he believed was a lion and named the island "Singa-pura" (Lion City) — from which Singapore was derived. The Lion Symbol was launched in 1986 as an alternative national symbol. The National Flag and State Crest have legal restrictions that prevent their commercial use. The Lion Symbol was chosen as a logo that best captures the characteristics of Singapore's reputation as the Lion City. The lion symbolises courage, strength and excellence. It is in red against a white background — the colours of the National Flag. The five partings of the lion's mane represent the five ideals embodied in the five stars of the flag — democracy, peace, progress, justice and equality. The lion's purposeful bearing symbolises the nation's single-minded resolve to face challenges and overcome obstacles.

Santiago Dotor, 26 February 1999

Singapore as a part of the Federated States of Malaysia

It seems that the question is always skipped silently in vex-books, but what happened with Singapore flags while briefly it was part of Malaysian Federation 1963-1965? I presume that the Singapore flag (adopted in 1959) was retained as the flag of the federal unit, but the Malaysian flag was used as the national flag. That would mean also on ships as ensign etc. How much was the change performed, since the integration was obviously slow and reluctant and finished soon?
Željko Heimer, 17 January 2003