Paths Not Taken: Political Pluralism in Post-War Singapore

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Edited by Michael Barr and Carl A. Trocki

Singapore's era of pluralism between the 1950s and 1970s was a time of extraordinary cultural, intellectual and political dynamism. Students, labour unions, ambitious political contenders, and representatives of the various ethnic communities all stepped forward to offer alternate visions of Singapore’s future from across the entire political spectrum. They generated a ferment of ideologies, priorities, perspectives and social visions such as mainstream 'official' Singapore politics had never known before and has not seen since.

Post World War II histories generally follow a central theme of progress to establish the PAP political, economic and social model. Alternatives receive cursory treatment as problems, false starts, or difficulties to be overcome. This book reveals a more complex situation that involved a much larger cast of significant players, and gives due weight to the middle years of the twentieth century as a period that offered real alternatives, rather than a chaotic age before the dawn.

The book will remind older Singaporeans of pages from their past, and will provide a younger generation with a novel perspective at their country’s past struggles. For outside observers, it offers a fascinating glimpse of a side of Singapore that has received relatively little attention.

Michael D. Barr is an Associate Professor in International Relations, Flinders University, Adelaide, Australia.

Carl A. Trocki is Professor of Asian Studies, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia.

Publication Year: 2007
304 pages, 229mm x 153mm
ISBN: 978-9971-69-378-7, Paperback

NUS Press