British Man Praises Colonial Contribution to Singapore’s Nation Building – Netizens React

A recent opinion piece on The Straits Times expresses an unpopular opinion that a lot of Western nationals have when it comes to Singapore, in light of the last National Day and the outpouring of patriotism for Singapore. Take a look at the person’s opinion below:

As a visitor to Singapore from the United Kingdom this summer, I am struck by the lack of attention given in this bicentennial year to the role of colonial Britain in shaping Singapore.

It is true that the British messed things up in so many ways.

They treated other races like second-class citizens, they were utterly incompetent in defending the island from the Japanese and they committed atrocities such as the Batang Kali massacre. But it wasn’t all bad.

Mr Lee Kuan Yew is often credited with being the founding father of Singapore, but where was that great mind trained? At Raffles Institution, a British school founded by Sir Stamford Raffles, at the London School of Economics and at Cambridge University in Britain.

Singapore is right to be a proud and independent multiracial state free of the shackles of colonialism, but it is now big and powerful enough to give credit where credit is due.

According to the post above by Dr. Daniel Emlyn-Jones, Singapore should also recognize the contribution of Britain to what Singapore is today, despite the atrocities such as the Batang Kali massacre. He said that the legacy of colonial rule on the island “wasn’t all bad.”

What do netizens have to say about this opinion?

Here are some reactions to this bold statement from Dr. Emlyn-Jones:

This commenter had a lot to say about the statement. He pointed out that while a lot of things were done that did benefit Singaporeans, these were done more to benefit people in Britain. He accused Dr. Emlyn-Jones of having white saviour complex, since he thinks that western people were responsible for a lot of the advancement and development of society in the areas they colonized.

This person argued, on the hand, that Sir Stamford Raffles was the true founding father of modern Singapore and that Lee Kuan Yew only continued what the British were doing anyway. This one is clearly in favor of what Dr. Emlyn-Jones wrote.

This comment, on the other hand, shows that some people think that the colonial rule by the British was a very dark time in Singaporean history.

This person pointed out that the British made Singapore into a major port of commerce in the region.

Another commenter also pointed out another dark part of history, when World War 2 had spilled into Singapore, resulting in the deaths of many.

Who is Dr. Emlyn-Jones anyway?

According to an amazon product page, he is an author of several books, one in particular concerning Singapore.

Dr. Emlyn Jones has previously written a novel called, “Yu Sheng and Other Stories of Singapore,” which is a collection of short stories on life in Singapore during different periods in history. 

What do you think of his statement? Let us know in the comments!

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