Raffles Renounced: Towards a Merdeka History
Edited by Alfian Sa'at, Faros Joraimi and Sai Siew Min
An illuminating collection of essays that examine the histories we construct, and ask essential and difficult questions about them.
Why did independent Singapore celebrate two hundred years of its founding as a British colony in 2019? What does Merdeka mean for Singaporeans? And what are the possibilities of doing decolonial history in Singapore?
Raffles Renounced: Towards a Merdeka History presents essays by historians, literary scholars and artists which grapple with these questions. The volume also reproduces some of the source material used in the play Merdeka / 獨立 / சுதந்திரம் (Wild Rice, 2019).
Taken together, the book shows how the contradictions of independent nationhood haunt Singaporeans' collective and personal stories about Merdeka. It points to the need for a Merdeka history: an open and fearless culture of historical reckoning that not only untangles us from colonial narratives, but proposes emancipatory possibilities.
Read if you: are guilty of putting people on a pedestal.