Singapore Changed Its Timezone Six Times

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exploringsingapore is exclusive ExplorerSG mini series where we reveal some of the lesser-known places, facts and history of Singapore.

We all know that Singapore Standard Time (SST) is 8 hours ahead of GMT, or GMT+8, but do you know that Singapore once used GMT+7, and that we had changed our time zones six times over the past 100 years? 

Greenwich, a town in London sets the reference point for Greenwich Mean Time, or GMT. The world is then divided vertically into 24 time zones with Greenwich serving as GMT (+0).

Time zone across Asia | Image credits: Zi Jian Yow

Due to various reasons such as Daylight Saving Time (DST) and the Japanese Occupation, Singapore changed its time zone a total of six times, the first being in 1905 when Singapore was exactly 6 hours, 55 minutes and 25 seconds ahead of GMT. 

The last change was made in 1982, when West Malaysia (GMT +7:30) moved their clocks ahead by half an hour to match East Malaysia (GMT+8). Singapore announced that it would follow suit, citing the close working relationship between both countries as well as to facilitate travel and business matters.

This move was welcomed by Singaporeans as it had also synchronized Singapore with several other neighbouring cities including Shanghai, Hong Kong, Taipei and Perth.

(Image credits: The Straits Times, Zi Jian Yow)

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