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Roland John Farrer (1873-1956)

Extension of term of office as President of the Municipality of Singapore



A Large Gathering

Mr. R. J. Farrer was the guest of honour at a large reception given by the Muslim Community yesterday at the Siglap bungalow of their Chairman (Mr. M. A. Namazie). The reception, which was in honour of the extension of Mr. Farrer's term of office as President of the Municipal Commission, was largely attended and representative of all communities.

Syed Mohamed Alsagoff, on behalf of the Muslim Community, read a handsome illuminated address to Mr. Farrer, the text of which was as follows:--

To Roland John Farrer, Esq., President of the Municipality, Chairman of the Mohamedan Advisory Board. -- Sir, We the undersigned Representatives of the Moslem Community of Singapore, for ourselves and on behalf of such Community, beg to offer you our heartiest congratulations on the extension, as a special case, of your term of office as President of the Municipality, Singapore, and at the same time to publicly express our profound gratitude to His Excellency The Governor Sir Hugh Clifford for having recommended and His Majesty The King Emperor for having sanctioned the extension.

Despite its dark clouds, its fears, and its follies, the Year 1927 has not been without its silver lining. And to the Moslem Community, in particular, it brought two distinct blessings, for which they have every reason to be grateful.

The Dawn of Spring brought the tidings - towering above all others concerning our new Governor, whose love for our Community is reciprocated by us all. On the Wings of Winter came the gladsome news - relating to your own tenure of office - whose confirmation has to-day drawn together the various sections of the Moslem Community.

Very fittingly, and to our good fortune, the very Governor to whom all Malaya has just extended both arms in welcome, has, with the Municipal Commissioners solidly at his back, been instrumental in securing, when you are still in the prime of life, the sanction of the King Emperor to the extension of your term of office for a further period of three years.

Appointed as a Cadet on the 6th day of November 1896, you, Sir, have since held various important appointments in  the public service. Your past association with the Malay Volunteers, your help in fostering Malay Sports, and your labours as Chairman of the Mohamedan Advisory Board, in obtaining the grant of a Public Holiday  for the Hari Raya Haji and in connection with the Amendment of the Law Relating to Mohamedan Intestate Estates, go far to show how deeply rooted in your heart is the welfare of the Moslem Community.

It is particularly in the past phase of your official career - now happily extended - that you have "let your light so shine before men" that they are now able to "see your good works" and bow in grateful acknowledgment.

As President of the Singapore Municipality, your duties have been both onerous and responsible, involving the consideration of urgent and difficult problems affecting the welfare of the whole city, and demanding complete mastery of the routine appertaining to each branch of the Municipal Service,as well as close attention and care, and much sacrifice of leisure.

In the discharge of these duties, you, Sir, have shown evidence of a lofty sense of responsibility, of foresight, and of sound judgment. The records of the Municipality bear testimony to your outstanding versatility and tact. The roads, streets, and bridges; the new buildings and open areas, the St. James Power Station and the Gunong Pulai Water Scheme, all bear eloquent tribute to the faithfulness with which you have discharged your trust.

It is the unanimous feeling of the Moslem Community, and we venture to think of the other classes as well, that you have done some service, if not to the State, at least to our Island Settlement. By your untiring energy, you have conquered the respect and admiration of all classes, and you have made Singapore what it is to-day, The Premier City in the Orient. By your unfailing courtesy and broad sympathies, you have unconsciously earned for yourself the paean, so beautifully expressed in the couplet,
"None knows thee but to love thee"
"None name thee but to praise thee"

In once again tendering you our heartiest congratulations it is our fervent prayer that Heaven may continue to bless you with good health to carry out the various schemes awaiting development and that when you lay down the rudder that you have so skilfully handled through all the depths and shoals in the last phase of your official career your services will be as suitably recognised, as they have been graciously extended, by His Most Gracious Majesty Our King Emperor.

Your obedient servants, Muslim Community of Singapore, M. A. Namazie, Chairman of Committee.

Mr. Farrer, whose response was for the greater part almost inaudible to the Press, said that the terms of the address were overwhelming. It would be false modesty on his part to say he had done nothing, but to say that he had done all that had been attributed to him would be going to the other extreme. Whatever he had done had been a labour of love. Not only that, but in almost every instance what he had done had been to take a comparatively ordinary part in aiding the efforts of others to get something done, as for instance, obtaining an order to enable the mutineers of 1915 to be buried according to their religious requirements by their co-religionists in Singapore. In almost every instance he had only been the channel by which other people had done things, except at one period, from 1908 to 1911, when he had acted as Registrar of Mohammedan marriages.

Concluding, Mr. Farrer said the reception they had given him touched him to the heart, and he hoped, however unworthy he was of the extraordinarily nice things which had been said of him, that as long as he lived he might not be less worthy than he was at present.

Mr. Farrer then made a short speech in Malay.

[Singapore Free Press and Mercantile Advertiser, 18 Jan 1928, p. 10]

Owner of originalSingapoire Free Press
Date18 Jan 1928
Linked toRoland John Farrer (Occupation)

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