Dear friends, I wrote a piece on Mothership.sg about gerrymandering in Singapore. It includes a little quiz to test how well you know Singaporean electoral districts. Check it out here. Continue reading Singapore’s electoral districts: How well do you know them?
Image credit: Lyn Ong for POSKOD.MY
Dear friends, I recently took a break from my China/India book to write two pieces on the great leader.
The first is on POSKOD.MY, a Malaysian outlet that had the neat idea of publishing two reflection pieces, one by a Malaysian, one by a Singaporean. I was asked to respond to “What LKY means to Singaporeans”.
My second piece is on Mothership.sg. Here I had to write more of a traditional obituary. But rather than a comprehensive sweep, I chose to focus on some of his seminal life events and influences, such as his wife.
You can read it here.
As you might imagine, it is both easy and difficult writing about this complex man. Easy because there is so much good material. Every time I poke my nose into one of his books, I come away with a memorable quote.
But therein lies the problem. Continue reading “Two pieces on Lee Kuan Yew”
Dear friends, I published an essay about Singaporean nationalism and patriotism on Mothership.sg, one of Singapore’s newer alternative news sites. Incidentally, I sit on the advisory board of Project Fisher-men, a social enterprise that owns Mothership.
Click here to read it on Mothership.
Alternatively, it is reproduced here:
Every year in the days leading up to August 9th, a maelstrom of emotions swirls deep within me. I am never quite sure how to react to Singapore’s National Day.
“But why are you singing Stand up for Singapore?” asks my Chinese Peranakan wife, who is indifferent towards the patriotism, but wholly enthusiastic about the day off. It’s subconscious, I say, a reaction to hearing the catchy tune somewhere in July, the month of cheesy patriotic jingles in Singapore.
My fundamental problem with National Day has nothing to do with Singapore per se. Rather, I am generally skeptical about nationalism and patriotism, and their expressions anywhere in the world. Nationalism’s slippery slope to fascism — from Adolf and Idi to Perkasa — seems to far outweigh any benefits.
I prefer to exist, naively, in an idealistic parallel universe where borders are fluid and the oneness of humanity is cherished. With ethnicity, religion and culture already dividing the peoples of the world, why cloak ourselves with another layer of differentiation?
There are also particular, localised reasons for my ambivalence. And it is, indeed, ambivalence, not just doubt, because National Day has first always made me warm and fuzzy inside.