Friday, October 10, 2014

Time Off For A Reality Check

A few minutes into the first of 12 radio broadcasts compiled for "The Battle For Merger" launch, the speaker is heard saying, "without merger Singapore will not survive". That was 53 years ago to the day, and it would be stretching the truth to say we are currently subsisting in the boondocks. Was merger over-rated?

Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean said the reprint of the talks is meant to "provide a reality check" to attempts by some historians to recast the role played by communists and their supporters on the issue, most of whom are dead or exiled, and unable to fact check the minister's assertions. Melanie Chew's "Leaders of Singapore" is a treasure trove of alternate views from key persons of that era. Her archived interviews cover Goh Keng Swee to Lee Siew Choh, with only the notable exception of Lee Kuan Yew.

Dr Toh Chin Chye is on record telling us that when Lee got back to Singapore (Toh stayed behind in Kuala Lumpur to clear up the mess), he invited the members of the Malaysian Solidarity Convention to attend his press conference. He was crying. "I don't understand him at all. On one hand, he worked so hard for merger. Having gotten the cupful, he shattered it. And then cried over it." That's not included in the "The Battle For Merger" compilation.

Our "strongman" disappeared to Changi, staying incommunicado at the government holiday bungalow for 6 whole weeks. Toh was not appointed to act for him while he was away. The constitutional position was not clear about an absent or an incapacitated Prime Minister. When Lee went off to Changi, Parliament did not meet. So Singapore had a Parliament in suspended animation.

Melanie asked if Lee's provocative speeches could have been part of a deliberate strategy:
"I do not know why he did that. But he was influenced by Alex Josey, who came from the Middle East where he had been a reporter. Josey fed him ideas about the Muslims. The "Mad Mullahs." The "Ultras." Lee used the term, "Mad Mullahs." This was Alex Josey's phrase. Alex Josey was his close friend, golfing friend and biographer."

And why did Lee Kuan Yew ask the Tengku to write to Toh to explain that it was Tengku's decision to separate, was it because he was afraid?
"Yes, I think that was the purpose. To tell me that it was a decision made by the Tengku. So the blame would be on the Tengku's shoulder. Not on our shoulders. The Tengku was far sighted. However desirable it was to continue as one country, we could not do so. He wrote, "We cannot avoid a bloodshed if we remain."

Forget about the compilation of one sided radio talks, pick up a good book to read instead. That way you get a better perspective of the merger issue.


  1. They are gearing up to bombard us with their slant on history, and banning alternative views - part of the pre-election process. As someone said, history is written by the winners, or a lie repeated often enough becomes the truth.

    “And if all others accepted the lie which the Party imposed—if all records told the same tale—then the lie passed into history and became truth. 'Who controls the past' ran the Party slogan, 'controls the future: who controls the present controls the past.” - George Orwell, 1984

  2. Suck it up, PAP won the war on that piece of history. Now whether they can continue to make their own history as they like depends on all of us to vote wisely.

  3. Yes, Melanie Chew's interviews reveal the more credible alternative version of history, including that of Lee Siew Choh. Perhaps, that's the reason why the National Library has placed the book in the archives instead of the open shelves. To borrow it, you have to place an order and pay $1.50 to retrieve it from the archives, which may take a week or more. Through this slow process, the book will be only accessible to a few.

  4. The winner can rewrite history in whichever way he deemed fit. I am afraid many written truth have been pulped or taken off archived shelves. The remaining alive stories have been banned or censored for "security reasons". Singaporeans are reading one-sided, self-serving, self-righteous history written not once but many times by PAP to honour themselves so that they can continue to corrupt the minds and souls of the meeks 60% sinkies.

    1. They are denigrating alternative views on our history as revisionism, some very dangerous to national security, because to them only their version is the truth, and nothing but the LKY truth, which they are attempting to drum into us. Let's see how many will bite their line, knowing it's an election ploy.

      One of the reasons for the Merger was because this island is too small and claustrophobic for the Elder Lee's overweening ambitions. (Compare this to Junior's aim to make this red dot a Global City - it's in the genes). He cried and cloistered himself in seclusion when we were kicked out by the Tengku, not so because we would be facing a bleak future, but probably because his dreams of being PM of Malaysia were shattered. Or was it all theatrics, as it seems crocodile tears is very catching?

  5. Expect more re-versioning, re-visioning and revisionist writings of history as Lee-ection nears.

  6. Just a hunch that Lee Kuan Yew was simply afraid that Sin cannot survive for long my itself.

    If that is so, his worry was, is valid.


  7. What I remember from the merger was the referendum preceding it when the wise guy came up with these Hobson's choices:
    1: Merger under conditions a, b, c
    2: Merger under conditions d, e, f
    3. Merger under conditions g, h, i

    Now, where is the option for not merging?

    1. We will not survive if we don't merge, so what option is there? Haha. But we seem to have done ok until of late, debunking his doom and gloom tactics.

  8. Just like the warning that foreign investors will leave Singapore if opposition members are voted in.

    And there will be bloodshed if bar-top dancing is allowed.