DEBATING SINGAPORE'S SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC HISTORY
2015/2016, Semester 1
Non-Faculty-Based Departments (College of Alice & Peter Tan)
Modular Credits: 4
The founding of Singapore in 1819 was largely circumstantial yet how was it able to grow? After the ups and downs of being in the Straits Settlements up to 1941, the course will then show how after the Japanese surrender in 1945, Singapore became a troubled separate colony in 1946. Internal self-rule in 1959 gave it a new lease of life and despite a short stay in the Federation of Malaysia, Singapore was able to be what she is today. It is hoped that through this course students will be able to engage in the present communituy more effectively, as living evidence of all segments of her history can be found in today's Singapore.
There will be 12 teaching sessions from Monday 17 August to Monday 9 November.
Two of the sessions will be field trips, one on Monday 7 September and one on Monday 8 October, the former is on the Jewish quarter of Singapore, the Jews being critically important to the survival of early Singapore, conducted by the National Heritage Board. The latter is the three pillars of the Chinese commuity in Singapore, the Toong Chai Medical Institution, the Chinese protectorate and a Chinese temple next to Boat Quay.. Students will write a one to two page reflection on each field trip, weightage of both combined being 30%.
The other ten sessions are conducted seminar style, with ppt presentations on each segment of Singapore economic and social history presented by the lecturer interpersed with questions from, and to, students, a list of which will be previously circulated for those attending. Readings for each of these sessions will be uploaded into the IVLE for thics course.
Monday 17 August:
Deception in the founding of Singapore as an outpost of the East India Company
Monday 24 August
Benign neglect in the growth of Singapore as part of the Straits Settlements of the East India Company
Monday 31 August
British Empire intrusion into the Malay States from the Straits Settlements as a British colony
Monday 7 September Field Trip on the Jewish Quarter of Singapore, conducted by NHB
Monday 14 September
Opium in Singapore and the moral response
(mid-semester break 20-26 September)
Monday 28 September
Singapore as part of the Japanese Empire
Monday 5 October
Singaporeans against the British for independence
Monday 12 October Field trip to three pillars of the Chinese community, conducted by NHB
Monday 19 October
Singapore seeking to join Malaysia
Monday 26 October
Singapore as an independent republic Guest Speaker: Y.M.Pillay, Rector of CATP
Monday 2 November
Singapore and one party rule
Monday 9 November Presentations by students
Each segement of Singapore history can be debated through alternative viewpoints.
1. Singapore as a single trading outpost of the East India Company: was the founding of Singapore benign or based on deception in the course of British -Dutch maritime rivalry?
2. Singapore as part of the Sraits Settlements as part of the East India Company: did the British really want to develop Singapore or was there benign neglect?
3. Singapore as part of the Straits Settlements after it became a Britishj colony: how did the British government use Singapore to expand the British Empire into the Malay Sttates?
4. Singapore as part of the Straits Settlements when it was a British colony: who really cared for the people of Singapore?
5. Singapore as part of the Japanee Empire: why if Singapore was so important to the British, did the British lose Singapore to the Japanese? why did the Japanese want Singapore?
6. The return of the British: how did the people of Singapore became conscious of nationalism? would they have preferred to remain a colony?
7. The entry into Malaysia: how did the peoople of Singapore handle the competing claims of communism, communalism and chauvinism?
8. Singaopore as an independent republic: (1) how was it a democratic nation?
9. Singapore as an independent repubic (2): why is there little opposition today?
Singapore is treated differently in its various stages of governance, from being part of the first multinatiional trading company, to being part of a British colony, then part of the Japanese empire, then a British colony in itself, then being part of Malaysia and last but not least being an independent republic. In each strate of governance, there can be a debate as to whether
(1) it was just a place
(2) it was part of a bigger entity, but still within in the British Empire
(3) how Singapore survived as within the Japanese Empiire
(4) it was an entity in the British Empire
(5) it was an entity in Malaysia
(6) it is an entity as an independent republic
In order to debate the status of Singapore, political, economic, global and technological factors will be considered.
There is no practical work apart from taking part in field visits after which a reflection of one's thoughts is written down.
A reflection on each of two field visits, written separately, combined weightage 30%.
An essay of between 1000-1500 words, on a topic on a segment of Singapore social and economic history, to be ballotted, weightage 30%.
A presentation of up to 15 ppt slides on a seegment of Singapore history, which can be done in groups of up to 3 persons, weightage 40%. A list of topics will be suggested, with readings, students to make a ttopic choice of their own.
Workload Components : A-B-C-D-E
A: no. of lecture hours per week
B: no. of tutorial hours per week
C: no. of lab hours per week
D: no. of hours for projects, assignments, fieldwork etc per week
E: no. of hours for preparatory work by a student per week