AUG 8 — On Monday I will be attending the Singaporean National Day reception in KL (National day is tomorrow). It is pretty ironic to have the nniversary celebration of our southern republic neighbours in KL, since it was KL’s expulsion of Singapore from Malaysia which rendered them a separate independent country.
Our own partition.
And the widely held consensus is that Malaysia let go of such a powerful economic entity for political goals, the goals of Umno back in 1965.
I think of how bizarre it was when Syed Hamid Albar as Foreign Minister attended Singapore nationhood celebrations when his father Syed Jaafar was so instrumental in forcing the issues which led to our divorce. The whole relationship we have with Singapore is filled with contradictions, maledictions, trepidation, envy and a closeness we cannot deny.
In my uni days I used to have loads of fun making fun of Singaporeans in the debate scene, as much they had fun showing us how strong their currency is and how backward we are. No love lost, but we can’t deny that up to today the first place people from the peninsula and that island in the south would like to use their passport is at passport controls in the causeway (well two land entry points now).
It is unlikely there will be a common future for our countries, unless of course Asean takes the EU path. And I’ll actually answer the million dollar question, would Singapore be what it is today if it stayed in Malaysia, with Malaysia staying the way it did? Of course not, the self-flagellation we have gone through as a country would have drowned the island city.
But perhaps not eh. And perhaps the matter is too moot to rekindle.
Without being one country again, we can still help each other as people, and we do. The thousands of workers cringing through morning and evening traffic to and fro from Singapore are just the tip of the iceberg on how we both need each other.
It would be nice if we did resolve those long standing issues with present day sensibilities.
That requires honest talking from both sides.
That is for another day. Today we wish our brothers south, A good solid national day.