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Time Zones

posted on 12 Sep 2015 at 20:00

A Useful Article by Helmer Aslaksen, for Aspirant & Practicing Astrologers regarding demarcation of Time Zones and why the allocation of Time Zones is becoming more a business than a science or mathematics.

The Article: Why is Singapore in the “Wrong” Time Zone?

The short answer is that West Malaysia follows the time zone for East Malaysia, and that Singapore follows West Malaysia. But it is even more complex than that! Some years ago I created a page based on information from the file asia, which is part of the tz database. After giving a lecture on the Chinese calendar at the Department of History at the National University of Singapore I got in touch with Mok Ly Yng, who has researched this extensively, and corrected some errors in the tz database. I have therefore replaced this page with the article he sent me. Mok Ly Yng has also helped me with the page Where is the Geographical Origin Point of Singapore?

The time zones in Singapore and Malaysia are good examples of how the lines between time zones tend to creep westward over the years. In other words, a place that's near the eastern edge of a time zone is likely to move its clocks ahead one hour, thereby moving to the western edge of the adjacent time zone.

I have a separate page on Time Zones in Malaysia. For information about time zones in Indonesia, please consult Indonesia Time Zones by Gwillim Law.
What time is it really?
by Mok Ly Yng

“What time is it?” As a famous beer commercial has it. Nowadays what time is it really depends more on the lawyers, economists, politicians and businessmen and much less on the astronomers, geographers, surveyors, mathematicians and scientists like in the 19th century and before. To modularise this story, I have tabulated the chronological adoption of different “Standard Time” in Singapore as a quick reference:
“Standard Time” in Use in Singapore
Period in use     Time offset from GMT     Reference Meridian     Name of Time (unofficial)
Until 1905 May 31     + 6hr 55m 25s     103 51 16 E     Singapore Mean Time
1905 Jun 01 - 1932 Dec 31     + 7hr 00m 00s     105 00 00 E     Standard Zone Time
1933 Jan 01 - 1941 Aug 31     + 7hr 20m 00s     110 00 00 E     Daylight Saving Time     
1941 Sep 01 - 1942 Feb 15     + 7hr 30m 00s     112 30 00 E     Daylight Saving Time
1942 Feb 16 - 1945 Sep 12     + 9hr 00m 00s     135 00 00 E     Tokyo Standard Time @
1945 Sep 13 - 1981 Dec 31     + 7hr 30m 00s     112 30 00 E     DST/MST/SST # @
1982 Jan 01 - Present     + 8hr 00m 00s     120 00 00 E     Singapore Standard Time

@: The official duration of the Japanese Occupation was from 16-Feb-1942 to 05-Sep-1945. Although history books say that Singapore surrendered on 15-Feb-1942, the Japanese did not enter Singapore in force until the next morning, on 16-Feb-1942. This was agreed to by both sides during the surrender negotiations. The starting date of switching to Tokyo Standard Time is fairly certain but not the ending date. Japan announced their surrender on 15-Aug-1945. The official surrender ceremony took place on 02-Sep-1945. On 06-Sep-1945, advanced parties of British troops entered Singapore, officially ending the Japanese Occupation. On 09-Sep-1945, Operation Zipper took place on the west coast of Malaya, this involved the landing of the main British forces to recapture Malaya. But it was not until 12-Sep-1945 that the official surrender ceremony for Japanese troops in the SE Asian region took place at the Padang in Singapore. By pure speculation, the most probable dates for reverting to “Pre-invasion” time would either be 03-Sep-1945 or 13-Sep-1945, 1 day each after the respective official surrender ceremonies.

#: DST = Daylight Saving Time, MST = Malaya/Malaysia Standard Time, SST = Singapore Standard Time.

If you do not have the time to read more, the above is a succinct summary of the whole story. For those who would like to know a little more, I shall continue with a more detailed description of the adoption dates and background for the various “Standard Times” in use.
Brief Background of Malaya

By the turn of the 20th century, there were 3 major political entities present in Malaya. The Crown Colony of the Straits Settlements (SS), comprising of Penang, Province Wellesley, Malacca and Singapore . . .

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