Getting the colonial baggage out of S'poreans

Statue of Sir Stamford Raffles along the Singapore River.
Statue of Sir Stamford Raffles along the Singapore River.PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

As a child I was bullied by a school teacher. I did not ask to be in his class, but in his class I was, and every lesson was a painful humiliation.

I could have been in a different class and done just as well, but I wasn't. The experience wasn't good, it wasn't 100 per cent bad, but it was excruciatingly painful. I am now a highly successful adult, but if I could go back to that classroom, I'd knock his teeth out.

This is an attempt at a personal analogy for the post-colonial conundrum Singapore finds itself in today.

Because colonialism is a deeply emotional issue, it requires not just an intellectual, but also an emotional answer.

For me the route to healing was by expressing and processing my post-traumatic feelings of anger and betrayal with a counsellor.

Perhaps on a national level Singapore needs to do the same, for example, through forums such as this one or through community projects.

As Mr Osman Sidek suggests, the danger of not doing so is that the cycle of abuse can continue ((Don't make light of anti-colonial sentiments, Forum Online, Sept 3).

Daniel Emlyn-Jones (Dr)