Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
Display:
So yeah. Here's a tragic testament on fortunes of war, pernicious truths and reconciliation, and propaganda, I suppose. Too harsh?
Colonialism a cause to celebrate in Singapore
I was last in Singapore about 20 years ago. There for a month on business. Spent my down time by the pool, drinking at Raffles, browsing duty-free at the mall, and the odd field trip into the 'burbs with my chaperone, Mrs Liu. She put me wise to Changi Memorial and local lore. No love lost then for the Empire. Yet here we are.
The city-state turned 50 in 2015, a Golden Jubilee celebrated with great ceremony and enthusiasm, all branded with merchandise, exhibitions and concerts. Just four years later, in 2019, Singapore will also become 200 years old, commemorating the bicentennial of its "founding."

20 years ago independence was fresh in Mrs Liu's lifetime. The way her people remembered "the fall" of Singapore in WWII was as betrayal, catastrophe.
A marketing campaign launched by the Singapore Tourist Board in October last year to promote the Singapore Tourism Awards features Raffles and Major General William Farquhar, Singapore's first resident and colonial administrator, as a jovial, bumbling pair in search of enjoyment as "Singapore's First Tourists."

Some 5,000 POWs and civilians perished in Changi alone. Mrs Liu believed multiples more died in the occupation.
Thum wrote that involves sweeping "a lot of the horrors of our past under the carpet," namely colonial rule's dispossession of native people, the fact that the port thrived due to the opium trade and slavery, and that British governors routinely used torture and oppression to maintain control.

same old back doors, same old mess o' brexits.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Wed Jan 24th, 2018 at 09:38:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
yes, we were not the kind administrators of the Empire nostalgist mythology favoured by the likes of Niall Ferguson.

And the surrender of Sigapore in WWII was the result of one of the most idiotically stupid military decsions of the war. And, amongst the many many fuckups I could think of, that is quite a claim.

But if ever there was a perfect example of having a hammer and treating every problem as a nail, then this was it. A naval commander who could only imagine Singapore being attacked from the sea and thus having absolutely no land defenses even as the Japanese marched through Burma into Thailand. He was shocked when they turned up in singapore almost without a shot being fired.

No wonder the locals felt betrayed. It's one thing being oppressed by an over-mighty empire with almost infinite stength. It must have been galling to realise they had been enslaved by morons.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Jan 25th, 2018 at 08:08:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Display:

Occasional Series