Building Bridges not Bunkers

Aug 10th, 2009, in IM Posts, by

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35 Comments on “Building Bridges not Bunkers”

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  1. avatar Ross says:
    August 17th, 2009 at 3:55 pm

    Yes, Odinius, Malaysia’s becoming a bit of a mess, but it’s a long time since we left,and whilst every epoch leaves its traces on a county’s history, the current situation has developed in parallel with increasing Islamist triumphalism everywhere.

    I think until the Fifties, the general idea in Britain was to take about a hundred years to bring Africa to independence.
    As to my specific example, Rhodesia, Thatcher’s commission agreed that the elections which preceded the Lancaster House debacle were ‘free and fair,’ but then we had the extra condition to deal with, that the ‘final solution’ – an evocative concept – had to be internationally acceptable.
    That meant basically that the UN had a veto, so as with Papua, forget free and fair as useful adjectives in the discussion.

  2. avatar Odinius says:
    August 18th, 2009 at 12:51 am

    Well, the racialism in Malaysia is actually inherited from the colonial regime, as Charles Hirschmann’s research shows. It continued and expanded after independence, unfortunately, but the cleavages were inherited. It only became infused with state Islamism in the 1980s, though. But somewhat ironically, the real Islamists (PAS) are now in coalition with the liberals and ethnic minority parties! The racialist faux-Islamists in UMNO are finally in a bit of hot water…

  3. avatar Ross says:
    August 18th, 2009 at 6:27 am

    True, we imported so many Chinese that the Malays got ‘frit’ and thus Singapore became detached. Mea culpa, and I did feel bad when the Malay monarchy of Singapore was deprived of its palace a few years ago.
    I spoke to the staff at Kampung Glam and they surmised that the family had given up and dispersed to Malaya. we should have tried to guarantee their little heritage.
    But then we did try a bit in India, to no ultimate avail, for the Indian Government reneged on the princely privileges in the post-independence years.

    Shifting folks around for economic reasons often results in grief, viz. the Tamils – was it not us who encouraged them to Ceylon?

    But though I say ‘mea culpa,’ I don’t really mean it. We weren’t born when Tamils were propelled to Ceylon, nor when most Chinese went to Singapore. We are not to blame, any more than today’s Germans should be blamed for Hitler, or youing Russians for the evil of communism.
    it’s the same with the ludicrous demands for ‘reparations’ emitted by certain American minorities… or indeed affirmative action programmes in a country which now has a partially black president.

  4. avatar Odinius says:
    August 18th, 2009 at 10:46 pm

    Don’t think the problem was importing labor or civil servants, it was instituting racially-defined corporate systems (i.e. the malays will do this, but not that; the chinese will do that, but not this).

    The 19th Century was one where, in the colonies, European racist ideologies generally won out over European liberal ideologies. Wasn’t just the British. Dutch did the same thing in Indonesia, Belgians in the Congo, etc.

  5. avatar Ross says:
    August 19th, 2009 at 2:04 am

    Yes, but the reason the Chinese and maybe the Tamils were imported was that the Malays and Sinhalese were deemed inappropriate, for whatever reason, unwillingness, temperament, etc., for certain chores. Or am I being tautological?

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