S'pore had 2 Clementis who had the same name, but only one is remembered

That's why it is known as Clementi, not Clementis.

Henedick Chng| October 22, 05:01 PM

There were two men known as Sir Cecil Clementi in Singapore's colonial history. Both resided in Singapore as Governors of the Straits Settlements at different times.

They were related too.

The elder Clementi, Sir Cecil Clementi Smith, had governed from 1887 to 1893. Sir Cecil Clementi, who served between 1930 to 1934 later on, was his nephew.

So, why isn't Clementi today known as Clementis?

Cecil Clementi and Cecil Clementi Smith Left: Sir Cecil Clementi Smith Right: Sir Cecil Clementi Photos from here and here

Because it is the elder Clementi who is better remembered between the two Clementis. He is the one that Clementi road and town are named after.

As Governor of the Straits Settlements, which comprised the British colonies of Penang, Malacca and Singapore, Clementi Smith was a popular figure among the local community in Singapore. He was instrumental in controlling the power of secret societies, which were a local menace.

Among Clementi’s other major contributions to Singapore was the establishment of the Queen’s Scholarships in 1889.

Between 1889 and 1959, the scholarships were granted every year to the brightest students in Singapore and Malaya to pursue tertiary education at a British university.

Many prominent Singaporeans and Malayans benefitted from that scholarship, including a certain Kwa Geok Choo.

It was the Queen’s Scholarship that enabled Kwa to join her future husband, Lee, at Cambridge University in 1947.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="450"]Photo from here Photo from here[/caption]

Sadly, the younger Clementi was less popular with the Singaporean community during his governorship. He censored the vernacular press and cut funding to vernacular schools due to their anti-colonial leanings. Little else of his contributions as governor are known.


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