Inter-Asia Cultural Studies: Movements

17.1 visual essay
17.1 visual essay



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  »  Issues Contents  2015-04-02 Revisiting Malaya: Malayan dream or Singapore nightmare
Revisiting Malaya: Malayan dream or Singapore nightmare

ABSTRACTWhat “Malaya” is or what it means to Singaporeans today has a history. Revisiting the historical and contemporary scenes where “Malaya” is a subject allows for the fleshing out of the politics underlying the conflict between those who desire and those who despise it. Whether Singapore’s history of the 1950s and early 1960s is the striving for a dream or the forestalling of a nightmare situation is fiercely debated today, after a few decades of quiescence and amnesia, in the face of the hegemonic state narrative. 

Keywords: Malaya, Operation Coldstore, Internal Security Act, Lim Chin Siong, merger


Author’s biography

Hong Lysa was formerly with the History Department, University of Singapore. She is the co-author (with Huang Jianli) of The Scripting of a National History: Singapore and its Pasts (Hongkong University Press, 2008), and co-editor (with Tan Jing Quee and Tan Kok Chiang) of The May 13 Generation: The Chinese Middle Schools Student Movement and Singapore Politics in the 1950s (2011) and (with Poh Soo Kai and Tan Kok Fang) of The 1963 Operation Coldstore in Singapore: Commemorating 50 Years (2013). She is a member of the e-journal s/pores: new directions in Singaore Studies and blogs at 


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