UK tourist urges S’poreans to remember colonial Britain’s contributions this bicentennial year

Not sure if sincere or trolling.

Mandy How | August 26, 2019 @ 12:23 pm


A tourist from the United Kingdom is urging Singaporeans to remember colonial Britain’s role in shaping Singapore into what it is today.

This was done so in a Straits Times forum letter published on Aug. 24, 2019.

Lee Kuan Yew studied in Britain

The writer, a certain Dr. Daniel Emlyn-Jones, was surprised by the lack of acknowledgement for Britain’s contributions in the midst of our bicentennial celebrations.

He noted that the colonial masters had their shortcomings, such as treating other races like second-class citizens, being “utterly incompetent” in defending Singapore against the Japanese, and committing “atrocities” like the Batang Kali massacre.

However, Emlyn-Jones believes, credit should be given to the British as Singapore’s founding father, Lee Kuan Yew, was educated under its systems.

Lee had studied at Raffles Institution, which was founded by Sir Stamford Raffles, as well as Cambridge University in Britain.

Singaporeans not so sure

The letter attracted talk when blogfather mrbrown shared it to his Facebook page:

Some Singaporeans were not too sure where credit is due:

Although at least one commenter agreed that the British had done some good:

Yet others felt that the letter writer might have been trolling.

Here is the letter in full:

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.

Daniel Emlyn-Jones (Dr)

Top image via Pixabay

About Mandy How

Mandy is a pantry rat. She eats everything in the pantry (except other people's food).

Morning Commute

Interesting stories to discuss with your colleagues in office later