Friday, October 9, 2009

Writing without authority - PS

I should just add to my last post that the actual reason I was invited to South Africa was to speak on the wider theme of cosmopolitanism in the Indian Ocean world (a subject on which I've published a bit) and on where South Africa fits into this story. In particular, is South Africa able to draw parallels, comparisons and even lessons from the experience of other post-colonial states in the region, states that have tried and often failed to build inclusive, multi-ethnic democracies, i.e. Sri Lanka, Malaysia, India and even Singapore?

(It was, nonetheless, still a surprise to be invited to Jo'burg, as well as a great privilege. When the invite came through over email, the subject read 'A fan letter and an invitation' - which I took to be from some nice and extremely polite Nigerian man about to ask me to invest in his intercontinental chicken farm.)

Singapore's own dream of a cosmopolitan, multi-ethnic utopia is a major theme that we also explore in Singapore: A Biography. Singificantly, it's a story that begins well before the creation of the PAP in 1954, with a history going back to the late 1920s.


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