Native Dayaks

Don’t Mention the Corpses: The Erasure of Violence in Colonial Writings on Southeast Asia

History may be written by the victors, but what they conveniently leave out can be more telling. Farish Noor reminds us of the violent side of colonial conquest. “All conquest literature seeks to explain to the conquerors ‘why we are here’.” – Robert Bartlett,The Making of Europe (1993) Among the many outcomes of the colonial…

1988 Arts Festival Fringe

Groundbreaking: The Origins of Contemporary Art in Singapore

1988 has been held as the watershed year in which Singapore’s contemporary art took root with the establishment of The Artists Village. Jeffrey Say debunks this view, asserting that the contemporary art movement began earlier. “[T]he emergence of the Singapore artist collective The Artists Village. arguably marks the beginning of contemporary art in Singapore.” This…

I Hasten To Beg Your Indulgence

“I hasten to beg your indulgence…”: When Declassifying Can Also Mean Decoding

When the National Archives embarked on the declassification initiative to unlock documents previously labelled as “secret” and “confidential” for public access, it also had to decipher what was actually written, says K.U. Menon. “Those who control the present, control the past and those who control the past control the future.” – George Orwell George Orwell’s…