30 January 2015
THE findings of a recent Institute of Policy Studies (IPS) survey about the best remembered and least remembered events of Singapore’s past have started another cycle of soul-searching on whether we are forgetting our history and, if so, what we should do about it.
The survey revealed that a low 16.6 per cent of the 1,500 citizens polled were aware of the 1963 detention of 113 persons for alleged communist activities, an incident dubbed Operation Coldstore. This was despite a new cycle of debates among a younger generation of historians challenging the official account that these 113 and others were engaged in communist activities.
There appears to be some concern that, in not remembering Operation Coldstore, Singaporeans are forgetting a key historical event of our past which we should be more aware of than the opening of the two casinos in 2010 – which topped the list of events that Singaporeans could recall. Explanations that the opening of the two casinos is a recent event which people can recall, in contrast to Operation Coldstore, which occurred 52 years ago, are not sufficient.
…The writer is a senior fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies and a co-author of Singapore: A 700-Year History.
RSIS / Online / Print
Last updated on 30/01/2015