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politik dan sejarah singapura | the wretched of the earth
6 Jul 20
Damn abang, you only had to lick the boot, not swallow it whole.
"Shame. Shame and self-contempt. Nausea. When people like me, they tell me it is in spite of my color. When they dislike me, they point out that it is not because of my color. Either way, I am locked into the infernal circle."

- Frantz Fanon
"[I]ncomplete assimilation—a balancing act between the imperative that minority members need [...] to act ‘like Chinese’ in order to succeed and the insistence that at the end of this process they will continue to be relegated to a minority status."

(cont)
Read 9 tweets
4 Jul 20
Every time the PAP salutes its Malay agents as role models, or trots out the first Malay colonel or executive, this powerful passage of James Baldwin comes to mind.

A thread on Malay and PAP tensions:
Within the Malay lexicon, there're terms describing—in one form or another—the phenomena of internalized racism, false consciousness, and respectability & assimilationist politics.

The latter two broadly refers to the belief that marginalized groups can gain liberation...
... and dignity by mimicking the behaviours of dominant identities, or soaking into their resulting systems.

Thus, Malays have terms like "pakcik turut”, “tali barut”, “boneka”, and "bebalisma". English expressions such as "uncle tom" & "pick me" are popular too.
Read 22 tweets
3 Jul 20
Voting for the PAP and complaining that the Opposition is poor is like closing the windows and wondering why the air is stale.

Let's not pretend that there isn't a direct correlation between PAP dominance and the quality of Opposition recruitment & participation.
Given the history of state surveillance, persecution, discipline, and violence over our public dissidents, it's almost a miracle that the current slate of Opposition candidates are as human & courageous as they are.
Read 7 tweets
2 Jul 20
Interesting that as #GE2020 surges on, and PAP narratives get disrupted, we're seeing folks—in good & bad faith—downplay social media as illusory & misrepresentative.

A rambling thread on the strange, radical, illegible worlds of S'porean Twitter & Whatsapp:
For context, S’poreans swiftly adopted the internet in 1994. Popular online networks emerged (eg. Sintercom, soc.culture.singapore).

Anti-establishment critiques were common on these new frontiers. Counter-political ideas—domestic & transnational—circulated freely.
In 1995, fearing “falsehoods” & political dissent, former minister George Yeo hinted at what we may label today as the PAP internet brigade (IB).

In 2007, after GE2006, the “internet election”, the PAP began a secret "counter-insurgency" against online critiques. Rodan, 1998Terence Lee, 2010
Read 27 tweets
26 Jun 20
In light of #GE2020 and the dumpster fire that is the PAP's Ivan Lim, here's a brief thread on the ruling party's candidate selection process:

(from Netina Tan's "Institutionalized Succession and Hegemonic Party Cohesion in Singapore," 2015)
1) "Conventionally, a person interested in political office would register with a party, work up the rank and file, cozy up to the leaders, and hope to be nominated as a candidate...
2)... But this is not the case for the PAP. The PAP avoids vertical integration of its cadres and does not overtly reward party loyalists."
Read 11 tweets
22 Jun 20
The historical record is clear when it comes to PAP electioneering.

In particular, the party has reliably resorted to character assassinations, logical & rhetorical fallacies, & McCarthyite accusations. Shanmugam's double-down attests to this tradition.

A brief thread: ImageImage
Shanmugam, the man behind POFMA & our internal security forces, is predictably disturbing, nonsensical, & fragile.

He gaslights & strawmans. He also defends Tan Wu Meng by claiming PAP politicians as victims of society, despite their institutional powers & media protection. ImageImageImageImage
Yet, it's this bit—"in Mandarin and in English”—that likely reveals the target audience of Tan's smear (on an Indian opposition leader & a Malay playwright).

And that is the PAP's primary vote-bank: the Chinese-majority. Image
Read 13 tweets
13 Jun 20
An implicit premise behind our veneration of Stamford Raffles is that he symbolizes S'pore's evolution from terra nullius to civilization.

What's wild (and stupid) about this is that Raffles himself was ambivalent on S'pore's presumed empty past.

A brief thread:
Sure, Raffles was a murderous, enslaving, looting, swindling bastard, who'd herald the destruction of indigenous cultures & economies.

He was despised by the Nusantaran masses, & disliked by fellow colonizers. The EIC would also deny him his customary pension & issue him a O$P$.
However, Raffles himself was a (meh) scholar of S'pore.

He wrote lovingly about the island & its thriving history. Yet, like any colonizer, he claims S'pore as a hidden gem—even though it was known to the Malays & Orang Laut, and had appeared on prior European & Chinese maps.
Read 15 tweets
11 Jun 20
There're many disturbing things in contemporary S'porean society.

But a leading contender has to be the quasi-prominence of Calvin Cheng—a living Venn diagram of criminal stupidity, snowflake hysterics, and reactionary, totalitarian polluting.
There's a reason why charlatans like Cheng stick to Facebook.

However hellish Twitter can be, the site's 280-character limit would force him to be concise & clear. You either satisfy those demands, or get exposed (and ratio-ed) for epistemic mediocrity & insipid demagoguery.
Not to mention the very real threat of being mocked by Kpop, Mariah, and Gaga stans, as well as a coalition of minahreps, communists, and academics.
Read 8 tweets
16 May 20
Look, the reason why PAP leaders—and they alone—have repeatedly refused to live-stream parliament is because they don’t trust the S’porean masses, nor do they see them as their equals.

(and this includes their very own devoted supporters)
Basically, the PAP is not some ordinary political party.

Instead, and with surprising honesty, the Men (and Women) in White regard themselves as the divined rulers & platonic planners of S’pore.

S’poreans understand this. Some are okay with it, and some aren’t.
Since the 1980s, the PAP’s belief in its destiny has informed its other ideologies of paternalism, technocracy, elitism, & authoritarianism.

The PAP machine is therefore rational, objective, scientific, selfless, honorable (君子).

And we, the wild infantile plebs, are not.
Read 12 tweets
15 May 20
Without fully digressing, the disappearance of this practice typifies what indigenous Malay-S’poreans have long faced—that is, the steady dispossession of their languages, cultures, identities, economies, and so on.

Perhaps, the most blatant instance of this corrosion is the exclusion of Malays from S'pore's military (which @historyogi himself has briefly covered).

Sean Walsh' 2007 paper is a classic study on these exclusions, with gems like:

- How SAF intelligence preferred Malay-speaking Chinese operatives than native Malay ones.

- And how LKY sacrificed existing Malay fighting expertise for an illiterate Chinese-dominated military.
Read 17 tweets
5 May 20
Lord of the Rings, but Singapore: a thread.
“I have not come across one single migrant worker himself that has demanded an apology.” - Josephine Teo
S’poreans explaining, in March, to Lee Hsien Loong on why it might be a bad idea to hold an election during a pandemic.
Read 35 tweets
26 Apr 20
1/ A thread on the struggles & webs of Malay entrepreneurship (and the miserable tragedy of Ateeqah Mazlan).

Over the past few days, amidst a pandemic & lockdown, another storm struck S'pore’s Malay & Muslim communities. Vulnerable livelihoods now face a new threat.
2/ Basically, Ateeqah, an actress, filmed herself complaining to MTI & HDB on the ongoing operations of Malay home-based F&B businesses (eg. kuih bakers).

Ateeqah, who also runs a failing clothing line, urged them to store their foods till June & apply for financial aid.
3/ Today, the govt has confirmed that home F&B businesses must cease, if they require delivery or collection (wtf). A $1k penalty has been issued.


Faishal Ibrahim, a PAP MP, notes that the govt will provide support (lol).

Ateeqah's stunt arguably sparked this development.
Read 41 tweets
14 Apr 20
Nobody:

Literally nobody:

Curtain-twitching, self-righteous, snitching Singaporeans:
Well, it’s day 8 into our lockdown. And folks have scurried to report on each other to the authorities for “flouting circuit breaker measures”.

A national climate of surveillance, fear, and denunciation has thus emerged.
At the top, the ruling classes have instructed us to look out for "non-compliant" behaviours.

Law enforcement have been empowered to issue hefty fines (in an income-collapsing pandemic, no less). Apps have also been repurposed to enable smoother snitching.
Read 16 tweets
11 Mar 20
1/ So, over the weekend, tweets by an aggrieved sibling revealed that her sister had been subjected to prolonged racist bullying by her (seemingly) Chinese classmates.

Reportedly, the victim’s family had exhausted all other options to mediate & confront the issue.
2/ Going viral, the tweets compelled two government officials—Ong Ye Kung & Tan Chuan-Jin—to comment.

However, their responses serve an important reminder…

archive.vn/mEjcv
3/ …that is, as racial minorities increasingly defy systemic racism, the establishment will commit to silencing, deflecting, and misrepresenting such resistance.

Why? Because anti-racism threatens S'pore's racial order & its protective fantasy of racial harmony.
Read 16 tweets
10 Feb 20
1/ A (very short hur) 22-tweets thread on the aftermath of nation-wide #hoarding & #hysteria in #CoronavirusSingapore.

Now, for a country that trumpets itself as disciplined, rational, and cohesive, the hoarding has been damning.
2/ Many have tried to make sense of the madness we saw.

Some folks, like @warriorzataree, @waresinfoshop, and @kixes, have correctly diagnosed the hoarding as produced by S’pore’s crisis ideology and capitalist & hyper-individualistic systems.
3/ Since independence, the PAP has aimed to engineer a (disempowered) citizenry that is dependent & loyal to the party, but desperate enough to compete in its dog-eat-dog arena.

This is unsustainable…
Read 25 tweets
7 Feb 20
Lee Kuan Yew (2009) on nation-building:

“Well, we make them say the national pledge [...] but suppose we have a famine, will your Malay neighbour give you the last few grains of rice or will she share it with her family or fellow Muslim or vice versa?”

Chinese-S'poreans:
"In looking back over the last 30 years, I believe we were fortunate that 77 per cent of our people had strong Chinese traditional values..."
"... which put emphasis on the strength of the family, the bringing up of children to be modest, hardworking, thrifty, filial, loyal and law abiding..."
Read 9 tweets
17 Dec 19
1/ A brief #thread on that witless Rice Media article (What Growing Up Privileged Taught Me About Being Malay) & the exploitation of Brown rage, distress, and clownery.

TLDR: Fuck Rice Media. (Also, fuck Mothership, because why not?)
2/ To start, that article, scribbled by a prepubescent Malay boy, embodies the rot & hubris of elitism, false consciousness, and internalized racism—especially when performed by the small bougie segments of a marginalized racial minority.
3/ Clearly high on his imagined intellect, the author goes on to prove he is anything but the perceptive, eloquent, contrarian revolutionary that he dreams he is. Instead, we get a socially isolated boy, who confidently refuses to tie that condition…
Read 15 tweets
2 Dec 19
1/ A long-ass thread on Teo You Yenn’s This Is What Inequality Looks Like & that (awful) “race” chapter:

First, Teo’s book is a powerful critique of meritocracy, austerity, neoliberal capitalism, state authoritarianism & surveillance, and the thick propaganda that protects em.
2/ Teo does an excellent job demonstrating the structures & ideologies that are imposed on & have shackled S’pore’s poor & working classes. She also refutes the insidious victim-blaming logic so prevalent in popular (middle & upper class) thought & in PAP governance.
3/ Deservedly, Teo’s book is an acclaimed best-seller. It has sparked a national convo on inequality. It has also forced estab figures—from minister Maliki Osman to Dr. Sudha Nair—to defend the PAP’s anti-welfare stance & our myopia towards aid & social work.
Read 45 tweets
12 Nov 19
So the PAP-gov’s PMD ban has sparked what is arguably S’pore’s first mass workers’ protest in decades. Island-wide, delivery riders are mobilizing against PAP officials, subjecting them to rare (deserved) scrutiny & then recording their befuddlement for all to see.
We all know that the decision to ban was premised on appeasing middle-class tempers & obscuring the failures of PAP economic & urban planning policies. The election is coming & the gov made its choice. The ban was seen to be more beneficial than costly.
But that gamble isn’t working out. And measly grants & lip service & other afterthoughts cannot hide a righteous, heart-wrenching workers’ protest. And nor will they excuse the outright stupidity of the ban, or the cruel readiness to dispossess an entire workforce.
Read 9 tweets