The seeds of Singapore’s independence movement were sown in the very first years of its existence. Raffles, Farquhar, and Crawfurd all had major impact on the contours of politics in Singapore, which would in turn have a huge impact on the nature and trajectory of Singapore’s colonisation movement. In this episode of “The History of Singapore”, PJ Thum traces how Raffles’ radical vision, Farquhar’s good sense and courage, and Crawfurd’s shrewd pragmatism gave birth to Singapore’s history of freedom, liberty, and republicanism.
After last’s week rather theoretical episode, we get into the meat of the series with episode 2, which tells the story of Raffles, Farquhar, and Crawfurd. Someone asked why I don’t go back even further; the basic answer is that this series is a story of Singapore’s independence movement, and there is nothing to be independent from before Raffles walked up the beach. Hence, we start at the moment of colonisation.
Episodes 2 and 3 might be seen as a duology: Episode 2 tells the story of the 1%, and the benefits of colonialism; episode 3 is the story of the 99%, those neglected by the colonial government.