Archive for the ‘03 commemoration’ Category


This is the third issue of s/pores, and we appear to be still stuck in the 1950s, and on history rather than other modes of inquiry. In the inauguration issue we did state that it is perhaps no accident that this period tends to attract most interest when it comes to attempts at reassessing Singapore history. It was a period of ‘open politics’ or to borrow the imagery from a recent publication, Michael Barr and Carl Trocki, (editors) Paths not Taken: Political pluralism in postwar Singapore (NUS Press, 2008), when numerous paths to defining the Singapore nation were being explored. (more…)


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Joseph Tham

Various Artistes. 100 Greatest: Singapore 60s – The Definitive Collection. Universal Music Singapore, 2009. 5-CD box set.

1960s have always been a heady decade for many around the world – In the USA, the people were fighting for the rights of the Afro-Americans, the military presence of the Americans in Vietnam, the corseted conservative moral and religious stranglehold of the mainstream mindset of the previous generations: the youth was struggling to get their voice heard through demonstrations and even riots, as well as mind-altering substances which were circulated around in dubious status of legality. (more…)

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CN Chen

It is usual not to expect too much of a glossy and beautifully bound book destined to decorate the top of a coffee table but the National University of Singapore centennial celebration publication Imagination, Openness and Courage was an exception. Its lead article was a masterly dissertation by Professor Wang Gungwu on the state and higher education in that century. (more…)

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Daniel PS Goh

I wrote this piece for my now-defunct blog a year ago, almost to the day, on a sleepless night when time was suspended by the eternal flight of introspection. I was going through the week’s newspapers trying to write a regular column for another blog but got stopped in my tracks by the halting image of David Marshall. (more…)

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M.K. Rajakumar and Poh Soo Kai

Originally published in FAJAR: ORGAN OF THE UNIVERSITY SOCIALIST CLUB, Issue No. 7, Monday, 10th May 1954. Transcribed by Karen Goh

Looming large in Asia once again is the threat of Western aggression. The West has been the aggressor in modern history and Asia has suffered bitterly from Western barbarity. The bitterness of these memories is not easily removed. They will greatly influence Asian thinking for a long time, until the West proves itself worthy of trust and friendship. (more…)

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Poh Soo Kai

Speech at the memorial gathering for Dr. M.K. Rajakumar held at Dewan Canselor, University of Malaya on the 4th January 2009.

I came to know Rajakumar in 1951 when we were in our first year of our medical studies. He was quiet and studious, witty and humorous, sincere and kind. A very compassionate person, much loved by family and friends. He read very fast and his interests extend well beyond the medical curriculum. He had a very good command of English, wrote well and was soon working for the Students’ Union newspaper, the Undergrad, then edited by Lembruggen. He would enlighten me that no news can still be printed as news. (more…)

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Tan Jing Quee

M.K. Rajakumar is a genuine Malaysian hero, a socialist and a patriot. He belongs to that generation who had initiated the struggle for national independence from colonial rule. Quite appropriately perhaps, he was born and grew up in Malacca, the birthplace of modern Malaysia. He completed his secondary education in Malacca High School before proceeding to Singapore in 1950 to enter the medical faculty of the newly established University of Malaya. (more…)

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Edgar Liao

Photographs by Isrizal

Memorial Gathering for Dr. M.K. Rajakumar in Singapore, 14 February 2009.

On a serene, warm Valentine’s Day, over fifty individuals gathered in the Manasseh Mayer Seminar Room in the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, NUS to commemorate Dr. M.K. Rajakumar (Rajkumar), who passed away on 22 November 2008, aged 76. A preceding memorial had already been held on 4 January 2009 in the University of Malaya in Kuala Lumpur. (more…)

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Hong Lysa

Heroic celebrations, 2008

‘This year, we celebrate the heroes of Singapore’, declared the Singapore HeritageFest which had its anchor exhibition at Suntec City entitled, ‘Who’s Your Hero?’ (12-27 Jul 2008). The activities were not only confined to the popular shopping mall, but also fanned out to sites such as the popular disco, Zouk for the honouring of ‘our music heroes’ (more…)

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Tan Jing Quee

Part 1 (written in November 1999)

Samad Ismail’s career spans three countries over half a century, the breadth and durability of which is stunning. The scope of his activities covers diverse fields as politics, journalism and literature. If it is politics that forms the core of these activities, then journalism has woven them into one composite unity. He was a political journalist par excellence, the best in the country as many of his colleagues readily concede. (more…)

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