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Nationalism and Decolonisation in Singapore: The Malayan Generation, 1953 – 1963

Publisher: Routledge
  • Description
  • Praise
  • About the Author
  • Nationalism and Decolonisation in Singapore analyses Singapore’s decolonisation movement between 1953 and 1963 and provides a framework to understand the deepest and most important unresolved conflicts in Singaporean society.

    This book demonstrates how these conflicts stem from four unresolved schisms dating from the decolonisation period: race, class, language, and the meaning of self-determination. The author argues that these schisms drove the events of decolonisation, the creation of Malaysia, and Singapore’s separation and continue to actively shape Singapore today. Using contemporary English- and Chinese-language sources from a wide array of perspectives, as well as numerous declassified official documents, this book provides a new approach to the most formative period of Singapore history. It explains in detail the different ideologies, institutions, and conflicts which shaped Singaporean politics and society during decolonisation. In particular, the book focuses on the leaders of the main groups which most heavily influenced Singapore’s anti-colonial nationalism – the Chinese speaking, the working class, and left-wing intellectuals. It looks at Singapore in the context of global movements of nationalism, socialism, and decolonisation and provides a framework which can offer insight into similar attempts by postcolonial governments to construct new nation-states from plural societies.

    A novel study of Singapore’s independence struggle that incorporates and analyses multiple linguistic, socioeconomic, and political viewpoints, the book will be of interest to researchers of Southeast Asian history and politics and those interested in decolonisation, nationalism, identity, and the politics of race, class, and language.

  • Nationalism and Decolonisation in Singapore does important work in moving Chinese voices, and especially Chinese-language newspapers, to centre-stage in the history of Singapore’s turbulent 1950s-60s. In doing so, it recognises that ‘decolonisation’ was as much a battle over what sort of postcolonial state and society should emerge – Malayan or Singaporean; liberal, socialist or communist; English language dominated in education or more multilingual – as it was about how to gain independence. This book should be read both by those sympathetic to this book’s contention that the Malayan Communist Party’s role in the ‘Malayan left’ has been exaggerated, and by those who will continue to disagree with that argument. It adds rich texture to the story of how modern Singapore emerged out of a maelstrom of protest, passion, and anticolonial creativity and conflict.”
    —Karl Hack, Open University, UK

  • Thum Ping Tjin is a historian and Visiting Fellow at Hertford College, University of Oxford, UK, and also the founder and Managing Director of New Naratif.

ISBN: 9781032783185
Cover Type: Paperback
Page Count: 334
Year Published: 2024
Language: English