Acknowledging colonial legacy and celebrating it are two different things

Singapore has been pragmatic, wise and even big-hearted in preserving our colonial legacy, appreciating it and learning from it, and forging alliances and friendship with our former colonial masters (Root of multiracial, multicultural S'pore linked to colonial past, by Mr Michael Seah Swee Lim; May 30).

It is one thing to acknowledge this legacy and move on from it. It is quite another to celebrate it.

It is debatable if the root of our multiculturalism is the coming of Raffles, given that the races were segregated in enclaves and were socio-politically managed to serve colonial interests.

Such a situation is merely putting multiple cultures in one place at one time. That is not multiculturalism.

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Being colonised carries symbolic meanings and practical implications. Are we so puffed up and conceited in our freedom that we can contemplate celebrating it?

Osman Sidek

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 01, 2017, with the headline 'Acknowledging colonial legacy and celebrating it are two different things'. Print Edition | Subscribe