The Other Raffles


Quick! What’s the first thing you think of when you hear these words:

  • Tickets – The majority of people probably think of tickets to an event of some kind, although those with a need for speed might see images of traffic tickets
  • Charities – Most people probably think of an organization close to their hearts, perhaps the March of Dimes or Salvation Army
  • Raffles – This sounds simple, right? Everyone must think of an event used to raise money for a charity, right?

Not so fast! Believe it or not, the word “raffles” isn’t as easily defined as most people think. Why? Well, that has to do with a historic hotel in Singapore…

Opened on December 1st, 1887, The Raffles Hotel was named after Singapore’s founder, Sir Stamford Raffles. Luminaries such as Charlie Chaplain, Michael Jackson, and Queen Elizabeth II have all been guests! The resort contains:

  • A tropical garden courtyard
  • Museum
  • A Victorian-style theater
  • High-end restaurants

The hotel was declared a national monument in 1987 and was fully renovated in 1989 to its 1915 appearance.

Sir Stamford Raffles led an exciting life, and his name has been kept alive in many ways, from high schools and colleges to country clubs and horse races. There’s even a genus of parasitic flowering plants named after him!

Oddly enough, while Sir Stamford Raffles traveled all over Europe and Asia, there appears to be no connection between him and actual fundraising raffles. So we wonder: when the Raffles Hotel holds a raffle, what do they call it? One can only hope it’s the “Raffles Raffle.”

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