Singapore Bicentennial: Whither the Singapore identity?

The concept of identity has evolved over the centuries as the country's fortunes waxed and waned within larger entities. Today, as it marks its 54th year of independence, the search for identity is taking on a more bottom-up dimension.

Singapore's commemoration of the bicentennial of Sir Stamford Raffles' arrival offers a timely occasion for stocktaking - not just to refresh our understanding of our nation's 200-year history but also to explore how our past formed us.

Over the past two decades, research into Singapore's history using fresh sources has revised the earlier notion that the historical trajectory of "modern" Singapore began in 1819, upon the arrival of Raffles.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 09, 2019, with the headline 'Whither the Singapore identity?'. Subscribe