Tuesday, August 9, 2011

46 Years Of Story, Not History

Senior writer SW Cheong started her piece on Tommy Koh with her subject looking down on the slums of Singapore from an aeroplane window in the 60s, wondering how the tiny country could ever thrive.

There was another aeroplane story about three guys flying home from some Commonwealth meeting. Rajaratnam opined that if he threw down a $10 note, it would make someone very happy. Lee Kuan Yew the smart aleck said ten $1 bills would make more people happy. Economics whiz Goh Keng Swee countered with 100 ten-cent coins, and they started to argue about happiness associated with quantum of monetary windfalls. Tired of the ruckus, the pilot walked over from his cabin and said, "If you guys don't shut up, I'll throw you out and that should make 1 million people very happy." This is obvioulsy a very olde story, way before some crazy bureaucrat tried to cram 6 million humans into our Little Red Dot.

Challenged by Cheong that our National Museum is not the world class flagship Nation Heritage Board (NHB) embarked on to build 9 years ago, Koh admitted that it received complaints about the approach to tell the Singapore story through the perspectives of fashion, food, film and photography.

The original inspiration was good, claims Koh, but "there is official history and there's people's history." Now that's another rude reminder of Winston Churchill's shrewd observation, "History is written by the victors ... There are a terrible lot of lies going about the world, and the worst of it is that half of them are true.” See if you can find a reference to "mee siam mai hum" in the food perspective of the National Museum galleries. And don't bother looking for Martyn See's "Singapore Rebel" in the film section either.

"The bureaucratic instinct is to be defensive but my instinct is the opposite." With that kind of sentiment, it is easy to understand why Tommy Koh is not joining the $4 million race. That, plus the fact his surname is not Tan.


  1. Well there's the story, the history, and his-story.
    Watching the NDP was just another let down, especially this year.
    I kept asking what exactly is the "singapore spirits" or where is the "heartbeat"?
    Then it dawned upon me.
    All the footages are just pure censored and propaganda from one sided party. America would not be what it is today without the civil war, martin luther king or Rosa Park. However in SG, many don't make it to the screen (rebel or not, opposition or not, jailed/bankgrupt or not), except for a few good men". Seriously, they think by deleting and editing out these historical people who shade our history /soceity one way or the other is not part of us..naive Singaporeans. IS all HIS-STORY only. That's why is all so contrived and soul-less.
    ONE BIG YAWN. They still don't get it.

  2. Like the theme song, we will forget the show/celebration in a heartbeat.


  4. Just wonder whether it is equally true of the following :-

    There are a terrible lot of hard-truths in Singapore and the worst of it is that half of them are false.

  5. I almost puked out my dinner when CNA host (think is glenda chong) said Nathan a very popular president...I ruined my appetite.
    Seriously, saw the interview. All he's saying is I just follow orders/advice, period. That's why all so smooth, no problems.
    What was his $100m management experience? Does he even know what he's guarding? Can he even answer to the people honestly where our CPFs are and why the yields are so low despite the handsome returns TH makes?
    I dunno what to say..still, I love my SG. My Country.

  6. I find it hard to join in NDP celebration because I can't help feeling PAP has hijacked the event and turned it into an endorsement of their popularity. If I put up the flag, the MSM will report that people still overwhelmingly support the PAP government. I resolved to only do that when PAP is no longer in power. In the mean time, the flag stays in the storeroom.

  7. can't help thinking about all those bed time stories or fairy tales dished out by old fart to PM Lee and his siblings. probably explains why their moral values are so different from ordinary folks.
    it remains to be seen what oldfart's grand children make of it all, those info available on the internet.

    ps: i agree with the sentiments that it is not the right time to fly our flag.

  8. Even the near five decades of stories are much made-ups and reflect little truth but full of political propaganda.

  9. Who says Singapore has no fairy tale created by master teller with caliber of Hans Christian Anderson ?

    Old fart is a living example of fairy tale teller that able to convince 60% of naive voters to believe in Singapore story.

  10. To be fair, I think the whole NDP is a recycled item. I bet by now there is a SOP on NDP. No real challenge to the next Colonel who takes over. Its more of a military drill. Follow instructions and presto, another NDP. Same same as before! I get bored watching.