Zille’s Remarks On Singapore & Colonialism Are Flawed

Helen Zille’s remarks on Singapore’s success and her latest colonial denialism are disappointing to say the least (Mercury, April 7).

In attempting to present Singapore’s success since independence in 1965 as an example worthy of emulation, she appears either to omit certain basic factors or is ignorant of them. Whatever negatives Malaya and Singapore experienced under different foreign interests – Islamic in the 14th century, Portuguese in the 16th century, Dutch in the 17th and British in the 19th century –  paled into insignificance compared to the wreckage the Japanese occupation caused during World War 2.

Despite Zille’s claim of colonial oppression, it was the British who restored Singapore’s wrecked infrastructure after 1945.

Moreover, her claim that liberation from colonialism “enabled its people to escape poverty” is simply not true. Instead, it was Singapore’s separation from Malaya that enabled the island to prosper. That separation saw Singapore’s majority Chinese population (75%) freed from domination by the Islamic Malays of mainland Malaya. Liberation from ideological, economic and racial conflict provided the launchpad for Singapore’s success.

Thus, Singapore’s experience is of no value to South Africa with its multi-ethnic society and its subjugation by a political party which clings to the discredited ideology of socialism.

Finally, by stating that “colonialism should never have happened,” one gets the impression that Zille has gone into overdrive in her attempts to effect damage control over her tweets on the subject. Nonetheless, it beggars belief that an educated person can make such a flawed statement. Since history was first recorded, domination, colonisation and liberation have occurred in unending cycles. South Africa’s rich cultural heritage is a product of colonisation. The USA would never have come about without British colonialism.

Sent into The Mercury and published, 13 April 2017.

Add Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *