Sunday, August 30, 2009

the founding father?

in a particularly patriotic discussion recently about who the heck our founding father of the country should be, i was disturbingly aware that i didn't give much thought as to why sir stamford raffles and not sang nila utama (or anyone else for that matter) is our founding pops.

it was perhaps this severe bout of sickness all post-1965 singaporeans acquire: this huge dependency on the government, that whatever we would come to know was already fed, given, authorised and stamped by the government. it's this spoon-feededness of the country that scares me.

as to why stamford is our founding father, it wasn't by chance. it was a mere matter of choice. not our choice, mind. it was their choice. not that it matters. because they believed their choice is our choice.

i mean, if i had a choice, i wouldn't choose stamford as our founding father. he's so money face economically driven and it would appear that he looks down on us with that annoyingly conceited stance he decides to pose at boat quay.

honestly, who decided he had to stand that way? did he arrive by ship, get down and the first thing he did was to pose like he was disgustingly displeased about something? did his crewmen recorded his stance in the archives because they thought it might come in useful someday? questions, questions, questions.

one of the main reasons stamford was named founder was due to the neutrality of his persona. this was an angmoh who was not ethnically chinese, malay or indian and who was driven by economic profits. this laddie was someone everyone could eventually accept as a founder because the economic issue was something that could be woven within the three ethnic groups and not cause a racial hullabaloo.

somehow, i always wanted a founder who was more flamboyant. like sang nila utama. this was a prince who was more colourful than andy lau's secret marriage. it's not everyday you know someone who mistook a tiger for a lion and then unconsciously restructures the history of an island-city. and this man knew sacrifice. he threw his crown to calm a sea - doesn't this sound suspiciously biblical?

stamford should learn a thing or two from him.


  1. hi there! thanks for visiting my blog. Your writing reminds me of the feminist scholar bell hooks. She writes with no capitalization. Have you read her?

  2. i've never heard of her till now. she's a bit like the poet, e e cummings then! the reason why i write with no capitalisation is unfortunately less, er, substantial. :D

    thanks for visiting my blog! :)