Warm Welcome & Hot Potato

Singapore Travel Blog

 › entry 2 of 30 › view all entries

I was greeted with a warm welcome by family and their friends/relatives.  It didn't take long for the conversation to turn into a political hot potato. 

Recently the former Singaporean Prime Minister, Lee Kwan Yew (now Mentor Minister, I think) said that Malaysia and Indonesia want Singapore to be "compliant" because they are used to their Chinese citizens being compliant and that their Chinese residents have been "systematically marginalised". 

I had an earful about how true this was and how those comments were reciprocal (or retaliatory) as Malaysia's former Prime Minister, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohammad had made similar comments about Singapore's Malays being marginalised by their Chinese majority. 

I think neither side is in a position to make such comments.  For those of you who don't know, Singapore's majority is made up of Chinese descended from those imported by the British.  Singapore experienced a short-lived union with Malaysia before parting ways in order to safeguard the interests of the Chinese population and conflicting priorities with the rest of the country. 

Imagine if Auckland (or San Francisco) parting ways with New Zealand (or the USA, respectively) because the Chinese population had become substantial enough ... to the extent that their political needs have to be catered for separately.  A bit of a stretch in the analogy but probably not too far off. 

I wasn't in the mood for this conversation after a bad 10 hour flight, so opted to retire quickly. 


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