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Singapore’s continuing infatuation in romanticising colonialism

In the past one week, the Queen’s passing has somehow reignited debate about the relevance of the crown in our own heritage’s narrative and the legacy of colonialsim. While the Queen is a person with a likable personality, where her status as the head of a monarchy a platform for her public display of fondness, it is the symbol of the crown itself that became the lining for a truth reconciliation debate. It was not helped by the fact that former colonial countries such as Singapore observed her passing with state flag at half mast and a one minute silence in parliament. This performance directed by the dominant ruling party who has a history of white washing historial narrative, seemed to have suspiciously reveal the country’s adoration of colonial heritage further exacerbated by the fact that other figures even among the opposition party rank, paid tribute to colonialsm as having benefited Singapore. It’s clearly an act of moral transgression given how colonial ventures have dispossessed indigenous and native heritage, the adoption to the term inherit rather than incorporate, in reference to political and judiciary systems, at one go discount the historical realities where nations before colonialism have thrived with their own set of systems.

We seemed to have been submerge fully with the falsification of history, such as the fishing village scenario, which was a rather successful incantation by colonial powers that contributed to the dispossession of native narratives and heritage, so powerful that it became a fully adopted mantra even after the country’s independence. The fact that the best elite school is named after the butcher of Batavia with his statue remaining as a synonymous icon of Singapore is quite unveiling of the country’s troubled inability to detach itself from “inherited” propaganda materials.

Clearly, Singapore needs to have a stronger education culture where narratives and ideas are constantly challenged, in ensuring no single entity dominantly controls what is told. The continuing infatuation with colonial legacy shown by politicians from both spectrum in particular, is a testament that the imperialist mind remained seated in our mentality even after decades of independence. While we incorporated systems from colonial origins, we rather use the term inherit and manifest deliberately in our thoughts, the absence of working systems that had already existed in the land before colonialism. When we attribute historical journeys, we elevate colonial narratives, adopting the distorted fishing village scenario and ignored the already thriving sociopolitical environment that existed before people of plundering intent came and whitewash our heritage.

Worse of all, the romanticism of colonialised experience is utterly disrespectful to indigenous and native people of that colonialised land, be it in Singapore or elsewhere. It shows the lack of mannerism in us when we discount indigenous experience against the backdrop of colonialism. In fact, it shows how we are still breathing neo-colonialist narratives as the union jack remains strongly perched in our inner brains. While Australia is now taking a truth-telling journey with a bigger aim at reconciling indigenous experience, we desire to hold celebrations of a “colonial founding”.

It is commonly said, societies who fail to acknowledge its own history and heritage are bound to fail. If we ever need to question the dry and dead society that we are, we are more than welcome to slowly detach colonialist narratives and experience a refreshing lens.

 

Nazryn Azhar Samat

* Article first appeared on Journal from the valley.

 

 

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READER COMMENTS BELOW

12 Responses to “Singapore’s continuing infatuation in romanticising colonialism”

  • Temusik Patriot:

    Sadly History are written by winners and to the winners goes the spoils…this is Reality not Romantica lah!!!in modern SINgapore an evil bastard does worse LEEgay leh!!!

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  • Misplaced respect:

    Thank you for this article, Nazryn Azhar Samat.
    Everyword the living truth.
    The education system in SG is hugely wanting.

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  • Singaporeans R Free Riders:

    …the already thriving sociopolitical environment that existed before people of plundering intent came and whitewash our heritage.
    ====================================================================
    Yes, agreed…

    Give this man a tiger … oh yeah.

    Theft from India:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sj_ficQFz1o

    A good Indian f**k UK and the west for their theft and other crimes against India.

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  • No Regrets With Britain:

    Without the British, there will never be a Singapore. Our land will be handed to the Sultan of Johor who will then rule us from Johor.

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  • Spineless Sinkie Sydrome:

    No Regrets With Britain:
    Without the British, there will never be a Singapore. Our land will be handed to the Sultan of Johor who will then rule us from Johor.

    Like tat hor, then we must oso thank the Japanese too izzit??
    It was the Japanese who “liberated” Sinkie island from the long grasp of “Angmoh” Colonials yah?

    In fact, your Brits surrendered without much resistance and quickly evacuated and went back home to their own bigger island, giving up the entire Sinkie island with all her strategic infrastructure to the Japs during WW2, if you remember your school propaganda… I mean history lessons? Lol.

    Basically, your beloved Brits said “Bye bye and take care!” during tough times and left local Sinkies here to fend for themselves & face whatever consequences under Japs. Yes?/No?

    So, if the Japs did not kick your “Angmoh Dua Kees” out, there will never be a modern Singapore. In fact, our land will still be ruled from UK under that “Joh Boh Lan” Queen.

    Actually, whats the big deal with the UK Queen, so much so that even UN must have a minute of silence for her hah? LOL.
    Her funeral even more elaborate and with more worldwide adoration than LKY funeral leh.

    Throughout her long years of living a luxurious life fully paid for by taxpayers, did she invent any new technology or made any great patents?
    With all the time on her hands, did she write a great novel, painted a Rembrandt or compose a world-class symphony or even wrote a children’s book?
    Did she win a Nobel prize in say Chemistry or made a paradigm-shifting Scientific discovery?
    What “leadership” actions or role did she partake of for the world?
    Did she negotiate to stop a war anywhere or fed the poor of India or used her hundreds of Billions in wealth for say Cancer research or housing for orphans of the world or solutions for a greener environment etc. etc.?
    Did she even contribute to the economy on the production side by “working a real job” in anything at all ?!? LOL.

    Umm… so what exactly is her “Greatness” hah?
    Izzit her “contribution” as a conspicuous CONSUMER of society’s bounty, without doing any actual work? Yes? LOL.

    Perhaps, you lik to sucx “Angmoh kork” as much as your beloved MIW (i.e. Men-In-White party who hides their skin color underneath their “white” color uniforms to masquerade as “fake angmohs” too?) Yes?/No? LOL.

    Too bad, the MIW will NEVER be recognized as “Angmohs” no matter how they grovel and kiss the AMDK Queen lor. Yes?/No? LOL.

    No need to fly half mast lah, even if MIW drop Sinkie flag on the ground level just for the dead Queen, MIW will still NEVER become AMDK because their white uniforms can only cover-up, but can NEVER change the color of their skins underneath lah. Yes?/No? LOL.

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  • Singaporeans R Free Riders:

    No Regrets With Britain:
    Without the British, there will never be a Singapore. Our land will be handed to the Sultan of Johor who will then rule us from Johor.

    Why do you ignore SINGAROAR answer ?

    Is it SINGAROAR is wrong or is it you unable to take the truth ?

    SINGAROAR:
    @ Without Britain No Singapore
    We must be grateful to Britain?Why do you think they would have returned the land back to the Sultan of Johor? They had already purchased the island. So there would have been no need for a return like Hong Kong.

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  • xoxo:

    Gratitude n appreciation.
    Umm,maybe ,Malaysians shud thank *SAM POH KONG* of China for DURIAN$?

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  • Western Sheep:

    Where are the “laughable simpletons vomit western propaganda” hiding? They love to whitewash all angmo atrocities.

    “Angmo countries never hurt any Asians since WW1.” Unthinking ignorant western sheep.

    Spineless Sinkie Sydrome: Perhaps, you lik to sucx “Angmoh kork” as much as your beloved MIW (i.e. Men-In-White party who hides their skin color underneath their “white” color uniforms to masquerade as “fake angmohs” too?) Yes?/No? LOL.

    Too bad, the MIW will NEVER be recognized as “Angmohs” no matter how they grovel and kiss the AMDK Queen lor. Yes?/No? LOL.

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  • xoxo:

    To be fair,the British has left their former colonies with useful law and public administration knowhow.
    Examples like HK and Sg.
    Look at former Shanghai under the French,very messy?!

    And,the americans; they have the habit of running away midway if they were losing?

    I give due respect to British in that sense.
    Still,,as far as white supremacy is concerned,all ang mohs are the same.

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  • Temusik Patriot:

    500 World Leaders including Halimah…will attend Queen E’s Funeral…5 leaders n 10 sub-leeders attend The man who Con You’s funeral…world statesman n leader of 3rd world or just A Coward – Ttaitor n Tyrant

    Temusik Patriot:
    Sadly History are written by winners and to the winners goes the spoils…this is Reality not Romantica lah!!!in modern SINgapore an evil bastard does worse LEEgay leh!!!

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  • SINGAROAR:

    @xoxo
    Why do you only compare Law and Public administration between the British,French and Americans? Should it not be compared with the Chinese, Indian or any other Asian country prior to colonization. Why do people buy into the western propaganda that we were all uncouth,uneducated and without culture and have benefited from colonization? No man is superior to another. The Indian and Chinese civilization have existed for thousands of centuries. Isn’t in China that education first begun? What the Queen represents is theft of not only jewels but our heritage and replacing it with “white supremacy”. It is distressing that our Parliament bowed to this supremacy without feeling shame and humiliation in the year 2022.
    Kudos to the writer. A thought provoking article which shows that many Asians are not able to celebrate their own culture.

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  • Western Sheep:

    Why you complain about white supremacy and western propaganda here? Elsewhere, you swallow and vomit western propaganda happily.

    SINGAROAR:
    @xoxo
    Why do you only compare Law and Public administration between the British,French and Americans? Should it not be compared with the Chinese, Indian or any other Asian country prior to colonization. Why do people buy into the western propaganda that we were all uncouth,uneducated and without culture and have benefited from colonization? No man is superior to another. The Indian and Chinese civilization have existed for thousands of centuries. Isn’t in China that education first begun? What the Queen represents is theft of not only jewels but our heritage and replacing it with “white supremacy”. It is distressing that our Parliament bowed to this supremacy without feeling shame and humiliation in the year 2022.
    Kudos to the writer. A thought provoking article which shows that many Asians are not able to celebrate their own culture.

    GD Star Rating
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