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Thursday 11 September 2014

Let The Vanquished Tell Their Tales

Every Singaporean should agree with the MCI Minister Yaacob Ibrahim that it was fortunate that the Communists lost the battle for Singapore in the early days of our state; as it turned out Communism proved to be a fatally flawed political system that eventually collapsed. Even China is now only nominally communist, having adopted capitalist reforms that have brought it prosperity that communism could not. Cuba and North Korea are mere dictatorships operating under the facade of communism, and are all but failed pariah states.

The victory of Capitalism over Communism is so utter and so final that it is hard to imagine a communist revolution taking place anywhere in the world today; as a beacon of capitalist success, Singapore is no different. A bourgeois nation such as Singapore is hardly fertile ground for the communist provocateur. It is thus extremely strange that the Government would ban the documentary 'To Singapore, With Love' on the grounds of national security concerns.

Comintern, the organisation tasked with spreading communism in the world can now only be found in history books; young Singaporeans are unlikely to have even heard of it. The Communist Party of Malaya, an armed revolutionary group was no doubt guilty of many deaths in its decades-long insurrection - but with it's surrender to the Malaysian government in the 1980's, they are also a relic of history.

Many of the exiles from the 60s are also octogenarians in the twilight of their lives; unlike the detainees of Operation Spectrum of the '80s, they have little or no hope of making a comeback.

The argument of the government however is that some of the interviewees have distorted the truth by denying that they were ever communists.

I fail to see how this matters. Even if they were not communists, there is no doubt that most were left-leaning activists whose vision for post-colonial Singapore was a at least a socialist one; however, no post-colonial country which adopted left-leaning, socialist policies has prospered. Every of the 4 Asian tigers, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore and South Korea have developed first-world states by embracing capitalist, market-economies. Socialism, on the other hand, proved to be a bankrupt ideology for poor, new nations that had nothing to re-distribute.

Whether they were communist revolutionaries or socialist radicals, everything they have stood for has been proven wrong by the passage of time.

Throughout history, at the birth of every nation, there is always a gigantic struggle between competing ideologies and their adherents. Often, blood is shed. In Singapore's case, the losers were exiled and the victors, the PAP government have cemented their victory with fifty years of prosperity, taking its people from third world to first.
The triumph of its vision versus those of the exiles could not be any more absolute.

It is precisely because of this that I feel that the Government should be secure enough for the stories of those it long-ago vanquished to be told. Almost 50, Singapore is no longer a new nation and understanding what-could-have-been, if things turned out differently half a century ago, may well help a new generation of Singaporeans better appreciate the achievements of the PAP government.

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