Honouring the gangsters

There is this big exhibition going on at the National Library about a William Farquhar who was the first Resident of a pre colonised island which is now Singapore. He took over control of the island as a stand in for Stamford Raffles who claimed to have founded this island for the British Empire. Uh no, for the East India Company. Yesterday a Teresa Lim wrote passionately about rediscovering and remembering this great Resident and even naming a few places in his honour. Now what is a resident and what was East India Company? We have more than a million permanent residents here today. There were several hundred residents here before the arrival of Raffles and the appointment of the first Resident. Funny usage of the word. I think first Resident meant that he was the top dog in the island then. And what was the East India Company? Was it a state company, an extended arm of the crown, or was it a privatised company of the state just to make profits for the state? How could a private company went around and claiming pieces of land as theirs? It seemed that the British separated the state from the running of profit making organisations then. The choice would allow the state to be free from the ugly dealings of the company. The company could schemed, connived, stole, robbed under whatever pretext, even grabbing lands and countries from the natives and their rulers, often at gun point. The state stood at a distance and was not tarnished by the unscrupulous doings, above the dirty deals. The state only came in like the Opium War in China to help the merchants on some fabricated excuses like protecting the interests of its gangsters, drug lords or subjects. The East Asia Company was nothing different from organised crime dressed up as legitimate businesses. They wielded tremendous powers and every warlord was literary a mafia boss. Raffles or Farquhar was no different. They were gangsters of the old days, protected and given legitimacy by the crown of England. Some of the knights of the British Empires were actually pirates, not much different from the Somalian pirates today. Whatever they did, it was for their own interests and the interests of the British crown and the British Empire. What happened after the years of occupation when we were given independence to run the island was a necessary convenience of the day. What and how we came about was not of design by these gangsters. We made it what it is today. Reading the history of yesterday and understanding how things were in the correct perspective would help to increase our knowledge of past events. Maybe there were no victims and no sufferings under the control of the gangsters, maybe it was ignorance, we seem to have a romantic view of our colonial history and their exploits, and remember them fondly. I think they make a good collection as the myths of Singapore.


Anonymous said...

There are many local copies of those gangsters and bullies today in SIN.

Those days foreign gangters exploited aliens.

Now the local ones terrorize and bully their own fellow countrymen.

There is at least one difference.


Anonymous said...

ya man, gangsters everywhere

Anonymous said...

Local modern gangsters use legal means to extort from their own fellow countrymen. How true! All legalized! Just tweak the law.

What is the difference between legal and illegal gambling by the way? Just a matter of paying homage to gangsters by offering protection money. Same as the old days.

Anonymous said...

Where is the Justice Department?


Where is the Law Enforcers?

godson said...

Red Bean, gangsters in the 50s,60s and onwards have all been replaced by modern gangsters. And since then all gangsters come under one supreme godfather.

These modern day gangsters like to wear white, so it's easy to spot the whole group. lol

Sadly for Spore, these modern day gangsters are well entrenched and their activities leegalised.
This in turn becomes an attraction for many to sign up and of course, it gets better with a track record in dominance stretching 50 yrs and still counting.

Anyway, Sporeans can expect to see many gangsters in white turning up to honour their one and only godfather soon.

ps: I am pretty sure the next godfather better not be a sissy. LOL.

Anonymous said...

One and only question.


Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

Hi godson, welcome to the blog.

And this topic of honouring the gangsters is about the colonial gangsters. Some of you have deviated from the original intent into some very grey and touchy areas.

We shall not compare the present from the past, lemon and orange. Today we have the rule of law. During the colonial days, they make the rules and any issues shall be settled by their courts of law. In other words they set the rules and the laws. They were actually lawless. The only law said, it was good for the Empire.

Today things are quite different. We talk about good for the people.

Anonymous said...

Dearest Anon 7:16pm,

You very good joker! Where can U find justice in Sin(moral)? 'Where is justice department and where are law enforcers?' Very sure they are around to collect their pays every month but not very sure they' re robots or people with sense of duty and justice. Also very sure that they are the only people with silver(better than iron) rice bowls.

Anonymous said...

Silver rice bowls with pure jade and gold chopsticks and spoons.

Anonymous said...


Shit by any other name smells just, well, just like shit.

Colonial gangsters or present day gangsters, are you sure only present day gangsters do things for the good of the people?

If there is so much goodness now, why are you, Redbean sir, obviously pissed off with housing, healthcare, medisave and other issues?

Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

There is a saying that you don't throw the baby out with the dirty water. We may not agree with some of the bad policies but not the good ones. We do not oppose for the sake of opposing.
The HDB policies were good and benefitted a lot of people. It is some of the bad policies that are causing pain to some people. We need to attack only the bad stuff.

Even as an individual, there are good and bad about a person. We don't dismiss a person completely because of a few warts or little shortcomigs.

We raise issues, only the bad issues, hoping that they be recognised and something good come from it.

Matilah_Singapura said...

> The East Asia Company was nothing different from organised crime dressed up as legitimate businesses. They wielded tremendous powers and every warlord was literary a mafia boss.

Yes. The BEIC was the world's LARGEST GLC, granted monopoly powers by the British crown and at their peak "owned" (or more correctly: controlled) 25% of the planet earth.

The present day American flag aka "the Stars and Stripes" was fashioned from the flag of the BEIC.

The BEIC (and the sister company British WEST India Corporation) dealt in weapons, drugs, religion, slavery plus "regular commerce" like spices, fabrics, tea, coffee.

The BEIC had its own military: navy and army which it used to "defend" England's "right" to own a vast part of the planet. The military waged war on countries as well as "rival gangsters" -- those from the monarchs os Spain, Portugal and the Dutch East India Company.

Those white Christian folks had a fucking good time: absolute power, drugs, sex and money (gold) to squander.

Ah... what a life!

Matilah_Singapura said...

P.S. They had the "white Jesus" church to back them up too.

Look up "manifest destiny" -- a "theory" that essentially awarded the right for Christian white folks to dominate the earth.

Way back when, "race" was still considered "scientific".

Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

The white Jesus myth is still believed by many unthinking Asians. Jesus is middle easter, brown Semites, very similar to the Arabs and brown Jews, definitely not the white Jews from Europe.

Anonymous said...

Was there ever a jesus?

What year was he born?

Any DNA for proof?

Or is it just another myth?

Matilah_Singapura said...

anon 925:

If you RSS my blog, you'll get lots and lots of hardcore, religious-blasting content :)

And if you are in a particularly cheeky, but creative mood, try this contest:


Do I think Jesus actually existed? No, but I hope I'm wrong. I happen to like the idea that a huge number of humans can believe something without evidence for one, and a huge amount of logical contradictions on the the other hand.

Religion is an AWESOME phenomenon.

Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

When are our schools going to teach the history from an Asian perspective and tell the children that gangsters, crooks etc are what they are. If we don't do that, our young will continue to hero worship them and want to erect statues and build mausoleums to honour them too.

How about having the faces of the colonial residents in our currency notes? It will make our currency notes look more international and respectable huh? The current Asian faces don't look cool leh.

Anonymous said...

Redbean Sir;

You're giving them ideas again.

And soon our late President Yusof Ishak picture on the Currencies will be replaced by an ex-prime minister.

Mr Bean;
You are sometimes inspirational,
You know ?