Was Singapore's Decolonization Process Different from Its Neighbours in Southeast Asia? Explain Your Answer.

1695 Words Dec 7th, 2005 7 Pages
According to Duara, "From a historian's perspective, decolonization was one of the most important developments of the twentieth century because it turned the world into the stage of history. " Therefore, it is of no surprise that much historical research has been devoted to this phenomenon; and the various nuances among the decolonization processes undergone by the various Southeast Asian countries have been of interest. For the purpose of this essay, I shall define ‘decolonization' as "the process whereby colonial powers transferred institutional and legal control over their territories and dependencies to indigenously based, formally sovereign, nation-states ". Singapore's ‘neighbours' in Southeast Asia are namely: Laos, Vietnam, …show more content…
Therefore, independence was not something the people of Singapore sought after, but instead, was compelled to have. This is in juxtaposition from the decolonization processes of most of its neighbours, who sought independence either through peaceful or violent means. India and the Philippines exemplify the latter process, while French Indochina (Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia) and Indonesia exemplify the former process. Thus, this feature of Singapore's decolonization process – which is that it did not even seek to be independent in the first place, is in contrast with the efforts of its neighbours. Furthermore, while its neighbours seek to be sovereign, independent states on their own during their decolonization processes, Singapore's only notion of independence lay in a merger with Malaya . This is reinforced by both the People's Action Party (PAP) and the Singapore Progressive Party (SPP) at that time period too. According to Chew, "an independent Singapore was not foreseen even in the original manifesto of the PAP, as it was never believed to be either politically or economically viable. " The SPP's "central political objective was a self-governing Singapore through gradual stages of reforms and ultimately national independence Singapore through a Singapore-Malaya merger ". Such an overriding and exclusive concept of a decolonization process to achieve independence is indeed unique, for none of its neighbours had envisaged their own

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