Ericng
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Joined 07-16-16, id: 1067910, Profile Updated: 07-22-16
Author has written 1 story for Historical.

Singapore, the country with FormulaOne Night Race and gleaming office towers, the country who banned chewing gums, the country who dares to pay its prime minister than what the US President earns. That's where I come from. And it's a fascinating country, because it's a country that believes it has no history. How can a country arise from nothing? I'll come back to this paradox later.

I grew up believing that Singapore history starts with Sir Stamford Raffles looking for location to start a new city. He had great foresight. He chose Singapura because of its excellent location. When he first arrived, there was only a small Malay fishing village. From this humble non-beginning, he built it up in less than ten years(!) into a great port. Now of course, I know that this is only a half-truth. It hides more than it discloses.

The problem arises from how we obtained our independence. Flowing from Stamford Raffle's "foresight", Singapura became Singapore, a British colony. Soon thereafter, Singapore became predominantly Chinese with immigrants from all over South Ease Asia and from China. After more than a hundred years, Singapore left the British empire to become a city-state in the Federation of Malaysia. Malay rights was entrenched in the Federation and in its constitution. When Singapore and the Federation did not see eye-to-eye on race relations and race politics, some sections of the Malay polity wanted to send its army into Singapore to force submission to the supremacy of the Malay polity. Thankfully, the Malay King avoided bloodshed by kicking Singapore out of the Malaysia. That was how Singapore became an independent country. But we flew from the frying pan into the fire. Singapore fell into the grip of communist activists supported by Moaists and by China. It took successive governments another twenty years to stamp out communism. Why is this relevant to me? It's relevance was that I grew up in an era in which the governing strategy was to emphasize our roots in the British led Commonwealth; our reliance on English as the medium of learning, industry and commerce; the closure of Chinese schools and University (to reduce the allure of Moaist thought), and the ginger manner in which we speak of Malay ancestry, Malay rights, and Malay heritage (so as not to offend our bigger and nearest neighbour). Hence, I grew up learning that Singapore history starts with Stanford Raffles and there was hardly anything worth mentioning prior to his arrival.

Imagine my surprise when I chanced upon an old literary Malay text written in the seventeenth century and translated into English in the nineteenth century by John Leydon with a forward by Stamford Raffles. It describes an old world port city called Tamsak, later re-named Temasek, and how it was related to an ancient empire (the Srivijaya Empire around the turn of the first millennium), and traced its rise as a stepping stone to the establishment of something new (the Malacca Kingdom in the fifteenth century). Suddenly, Singapore had a long and colourful history. That was how I fell in love with Singapore and its long and illustrious history.

My writing journey started with a short story : Dinosaur and the Cockroach -- a metaphor for the evolution of politics and leadership approach in Singapore, written at a time when communism was on its death throes and Catholic "activists" were jailed for communist activities. The short story was described as a "political parody". Since then, I have written several short stories. The Lion City is a veiled commentary on gender politics dressed up in the founding legend of Singapura. It begs the question : who benefits from polygamy, and which will make our society stronger : monogamy or polygamy? Sex Lies and Videotape is about sexual relations within a marriage. It begs the question what is the relative merits of nature vs nurture in sexual relations. The Kent Ridge Caper is about gender relationship, and how society tries to calibrate sex into that relationship.

Escape to Temasek and Fall of Singapura are my current passion. I have researched, written and edited this two novels for the past five years. It has spawned a documentary film (Hunt for the Red Lion). And I am still researching other aspects of Singapore history. These two novels rub against the grain of
Singapore society. It is a re-interpretation of Singapore history. Most of my friends asked : Are these two novels credible? Were there people in Singapore before Stamford Raffles arrived? Were there Chinese in Singapore at that time? Was the lion really red? Was there really a pirate army? Who attacked Palembang? Was there any connection between the boy hero and the death of a princess? Was she really impaled on a public square? Who attacked Singapura? Was it a Majapahit army or a Tai army? And what happened on Forbidden Hill? To answer these questions, I have compiled two Historical Analysis available on my website ().

My message for you, the reader : just sit back and enjoy a good read.

The important point is : Singapore had a history, where none existed before.

Ericng (pseudonym : Jonathan Lee)

Romance at Three Kingdoms : Escape to Temasek
Princess from Ming Dynasty China is sent to to marry the King of Three Realms of Palembang, Bintan and Temasek. She is led to think that she is marrying the King of Temasek. Will she comply with the wishes of her Emperor, or will she run to her Prince. Read how these misleading kingly titles messes up her life and leads to the fall of one empire, and the rise of a new one.
Fiction: Historical - Rated: K - English - Romance/Adventure - Chapters: 1 - Words: 97,572 - Favs: 1 - Published: 7/22/2016