The Importance of Historicity and Historicising: Review of Abdullah bin Abdul Kadir Munshi: His Voyages, Legacies and Modernity, Volume 1

Abdullah bin Abdul Kadir Munshi – also known as Munshi Abdullah, Abdullah Munshi, and Abdullah Abdul Kadir – is a name known to hopefully most, if not all, Singaporeans. Or it should be, for his visage was amongst the four figures that joined the Raffles statue by the Singapore River as part of the Singapore Bicentennial’s recognition and celebration of the “multi-racial, multi-cultural, multi-religious people, with richly diverse backgrounds” who have played important roles in the early development of the country1.

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Book Review: Beyond Bicentennial: Perspectives on Malays

When Singapore commemorated the 200th anniversary of Raffles’ arrival on the island last year, many dialogue sessions were held for the public to discuss and reflect on Singapore’s history. Through these dialogues, the public saw competing views on Singapore’s history. More critical voices emerged to challenge the dominant narrative on Raffles, the history of Singapore and the colonial construction of the Malays.

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Book Review: Air-Conditioned Nation Revisited

It is June 2020. As the country battles a global pandemic, along with the ugliest sides of society it has uncovered, the government speaks about holding elections. “The sooner the better,” they say, to rally Singaporeans together to tide through uncertain times. I remain unconvinced by this argument. How does having an election unite the country?

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Book Review: Alternative Voices in Muslim Southeast Asia: Discourse and Struggles

Alternative Voices in Muslim Southeast Asia: Discourse and Struggles (or “Alternative Voices”), edited by Dr Norshahril Saat and Dr Azhar Ibrahim, features twelve articles written by scholars, activists, and observers of social change, that present a critique of the Muslim society of Southeast Asia today, specifically in Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia.

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