The book Lion City Narratives: Singapore Through Western Eyes by Dr Victor Savage, Adjunct Senior Fellow, has four objectives. Firstly, it is a study of subjective Western impressions of Singapore’s 145 years (1819–1963) of colonial history, to give the reader an impressionistic account of how Western residents viewed Singapore over the decades.
Secondly, the book is a short biography of Singapore’s evolution as a city, giving a holistic perspective of Singapore’s urban dynamics.
Thirdly, the book offers a cultural insight into Singapore’s population, both White residents and transient visitors, as well as the locals or Asians.
Fourthly, it opens a window into Singapore’s development at a time when the West was at its cultural zenith and when Great Britain was the principal superpower of the 19th century.
Hence, Singapore carried twin colonial legacies – it was the archetype trading emporium between East and West, and it became, for the British, the major point d’appui for defence.
Finally, the Singapore colonial narrative is set in a broader academic discourse that allows the reader to see a wider picture of Singapore’s colonial development.
Professor Joseph Liow, Tan Kah Kee Chair in Comparative and International Politics, Research Adviser, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, and Dean, College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences, NTU Singapore, chaired the book launch webinar. Professor Lily Kong, President, Singapore Management University, and Professor Tim Bunnell, Director, Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore, were the discussants.
Catch it here on the RSISVideoCast YouTube channel: