Accept colonial past as part of Singapore story

File photo of a statue of Sir Stamford Raffles Statue along the Singapore River.
File photo of a statue of Sir Stamford Raffles Statue along the Singapore River.PHOTO: ST FILE

Mr Anthony Oei in his letter (Raffles' arrival did not mark founding of modern S'pore; Jan 5) has a point in that the eventual success of Singapore was not what was envisioned for it 200 years earlier by Sir Stamford Raffles.

He was also right to say that the subsequent colonial government and the infrastructure put in place to make it an attractive trading port were the foundation of today's city-state.

Even Singapore's founding prime minister Lee Kuan Yew, who set the country on its journey towards modernisation, was a student of Raffles Institution and subsequently studied in the land of the colonial rulers in Cambridge University.

While we can find many faults with our former colonial rulers, let us take the bicentennial celebrations as a chance to remember the past, teach it to the next generation, and use our inherited legacy to wow visitors.

We need to come to terms with and accept our colonial past as part of the patrimony which binds all of us who call this land home.

Chai Shiew Chee

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 09, 2019, with the headline 'Accept colonial past as part of S'pore story'. Print Edition | Subscribe