18 May 2015

Living with myths: Singapore pastoral

Taiwan Review has published a few excerpts from Loh Kah Seng's new book, Squatters into Citizens. Followers of the Living with Myths reviews on this blog may remember the good doctor had based his presentation in Living with Myths VI on his new book.

Back then, we noted that sociologist Chua Beng Huat (an outspoken critic of the establishment for the past 30 years) took Loh to task for mythologising life in Singapore's rural kampungs and squatter settlements as ideal, free, and nobleand levelled the charge of academic irresponsibility at Loh.

Because Loh had presented a new myth: the Singapore pastoral.

Life by the River by Liu Kang

03 May 2015

The Apothesosis of Lee Kuan Yew VI

From Republic of Singapore to Republic of Nanyang

In the midst of the political purges of Singapore’s early post-independence years, the PAP government ditched its race-blind Singaporean Singapore ideals, subverted its own image of multiculturalism, appropriated key social and cultural policies of the Chinese cultural elites and absorbed them into the civil service as a form of political accommodation. This resulted in the sinification (whether intended or not) of Singapore by 1980. The mandarins and the political leaders of Singapore would then embark on even more ambitious schemes that would put the nation on the map as a Third China.

"Singapore is a Chinese country what", say just about every Chinese immigrant here

02 May 2015

The Apotheosis of Lee Kuan Yew V

To boldly go...

It is possible to typify the leadership of early Singapore and the PAP as a triumvirate consisting of Lee Kuan Yew, Goh Keng Swee, and S Rajaratnam. The first was a political man of action who wielded charisma, power, and authority to get people to comply with the national plan. The second was the technocrat who made sure every aspect of the plan was sound. The third was the ideologue, the voice of wisdom put a human touch to the plan.

Star Trek's holy trinity
In this way, the PAP early leadership serves the same archetypical functions that J Michael Straczynski sees Kirk, Spock, and Bones fulfilling in the Star Trek narrative: the Warrior, the Priest, the Doctor.