It’s the day after National Day, and though I hadn’t noticed it earlier, I decided to read Janadas Devan’s The real Aug 9 – and the one we celebrate (from yesterday’s paper) after seeing it specifically mentioned in a blog I follow. It offers an interesting perspective – that we lack identity because we did not really striven for independence as a lone island nation, because we are very much an accidental baby, the unwanted cast-off from a federation of former British colonies.
I wonder what my nation would be like today, if history had taken a different path? What if Lim Chin Siong, for example, had indeed gone on to become Prime Minister? What if the Chinese-educated, presumably pro-Communist, wing of the early PAP had not been removed from power, and had instead a major part to play in the development of Singapore over the past half-century (perhaps at the helm, even)? Would English be my primary language today? Would I have a concrete roof over my head and be happily enjoying a broadband internet connection? Would we have become a Chinese colony instead?
Don’t get me wrong – I do think there is plenty that can be improved with the current administration, but I do think that all things considered, they’ve done pretty well thus far. And while I suspect that we might not be quite as developed if we had gone down this alternative path, I wonder if as a people we might have a stronger identity, and perhaps even simply be… happier?
(Somehow, this feels like the concept of a Singaporean Elseworlds-style comic waiting to happen.)