venue: Possibility Room @ National Library, 100 Victoria Street
date / time: Sunday, 12 Oct 2008, 2.30 – 4.00pm
This talk is based on his new book Creating Greater Malaysia: Decolonization and the Politics of Merger that re-opens the episode of Singapore’s merger with Malaya in the early half of the 1960s. Placed within the tumultuous context of the Cold War, he seeks to go within the mindsets of both the Singapore and Malaysian governments in coming together (abetted by the British) as part of the attempts to collectively strengthen themselves from what they perceived as the encroaching influence of Communism. Professor Tan also attempts to delve into the issues of ethnic politics in explaining the possibility of both the People’s Action Party and UMNO persuading their populace that the existing ethnic status quo would not be threatened with merger. In revisiting a period that has been otherwise taken for granted, Professor Tan research demonstrates the need for our pasts to be constantly reviewed.
Professor Tan Tai Yong joined the History Department at the National University in 1986. He is currently the Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences as well as the Director of Institute of South Asian Studies at the National University of Singapore. He has published on the partition of South Asia, civil-military relations, the Sikh diaspora, colonial Punjab and, more recently, the history of Singapore.
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