Saturday, June 05, 2010

I was at the NUS History Seminar yesterday, and they didn't mention Operation Spectrum Once.

I don't think Vincent Cheng was there, either. But I left during the Q&A, so who knows?

Anyway, there was some pretty interesting stuff from Assoc Profs Yong Mun Cheong, Loh Kah Seng and Huang Jianli (all Chinese dudes) about the scripting of national history. Cool bits included:

* the suggestion that we shift our view of Singapore's place in history from a colonisation-decolonisation-post-colonialism perspective to a view of the cycle of Indo-Chinese maritime centres: Srivijaya-Melayu-Temasek-Melaka-Johor/Riau-Singapore.

* the revelation of how the PAP uses the language of crisis for everything: describing kampungs as hotbeds of physical and moral disease and unemployed educated populations are armies. Essentially, they cry wolf.

* the fact that we have a 25-year limit on how long documents can be kept secret from historians and the public, but does the government respect this? Nooooooooo.

* the story of how Indonesia tried to script its national history in the Sukarno era by assembling 40 historians in a room and giving them a four-year deadline, which wasn't followed very well. The resulting books were burned in a bonfire as soon as the Suharto regime took over.

Full house, ya know? Controversy is good for attendance.

1 comment:

ShilaL_Kappler said...

與朋友在一起,分擔的痛苦是減半的痛苦,分享的快樂是加倍的快樂。 ............................................................