View of Boat Quay, Singapore.
Text & Photo © CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2015
SG50: Singapore at 50, 2015
I read with inquisitive delight the introductory paragraph cited below, in a book entitled Reframing Singapore: Memory – Identity – Trans-Regionalism, a collection of scholarly articles in exchange of ideas of the different narratives of Singapore, edited by Derek Heng and Syed Muhd Khairudin Aljunied published by the Amsterdam University Press, 2009.
“Any tourist who strolls along the Singapore River will find picturesque cityscapes that evoke paradoxical mental images in the mind. Skyscrapers are juxtaposed with shop houses that have been synthetically pre- served so as to suggest memories of the island’s past. Painted black and raised high on a concrete pedestal, the statue of the colony’s British ‘founder’, Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles, stares at the modern, durian- shaped Esplanade Theatres on the Bay. Colonialism was here, and so were the Japanese. A tour of the Asian Civilizations Museum adds to the sense of confusion and ambivalence. Impressed by high-tech dis- plays of the tapestry of cultures that evolved over the last two centuries and the migration of men and women from far-off lands, the tourist wonders why Chinese, Malays, Indians and ‘Others’ are the only categories, which have been accorded demographic significance. She would be informed later of the authoritarianism and the technocracy. But the orderliness, security and comfort she has enjoyed thus far tend to disguise the assertions of injustice.