Wednesday, 12 September 2007

Lim Chin Siong, the man who was nearly our PM - Part 6

Lim Chin Siong's Place in Singapore History

"Lim Chin Siong would have adapted, and would have approved. He flashed brilliantly across the Singapore sky like a meteor, bringing hope and excitement to the people coming out of the intellectual darkness of the colonial era. He brunt out before our eyes. His passage from student activist, to workers' leader, to charismatic freedom fighter, and the years of his young life spent in political prisons, is the stuff of revolutionary legend. Singapore's history begins when he is given his proper place in its annals."

- M.K. Rajakumar

Lim Chin Siong in Britain's Southeast Asian De-Colonisation

"....the youthful Lim rose to prominence primarily through his own political genius. This is what really caused the British authorities to consider his a threat. He was barely 20 years of age when his political activity caught the eye of British colonial authorities."

- Greg Poulgrain

"Perhaps because of his ability with the local vernacular or his capacity to organise and inspire Singaporean workers, he was described as the most politically talented on the scene at that time. In addition, he was described as 'handsome' and special note was made of his age as 'ten years younger then Lee Kuan Yew'...."

- Greg Poulgrain

"By chance, it was the time of the national election results in Singapore, and the party in which Lim and Lee had initially worked together but which became Lee Kuan Yew's political juggernaut, the People's Action Party (PAP), had won all seats but four. In response to a radio announcement that there would be an investigation into how even these four were lost, Lim Chin Siong shook his head in quiet disbelief."

- Greg Poulgrain

"Lim Chin Siong always denied claims that he was associated with the communist party, and he accused Lee Kuan Yew, who hounded him with this accusation, of using 'the whole machinery and facilities of the muzzle his political opponents'."

- Greg Poulgrain

"Goode commented that most of the detainees released before the PAP took office were brought into the government, but 'only a few are regarded as dangerous. Of these Lim Chin Siong is by far the most capable.....The Prime Minister (Lee Kuan Yew) has spoken of the need to take the initiative against Lim Chin Siong before his position becomes too strong'."

- Greg Poulgrain

"In the Outlook for Singapore report, it was reported: Lee is 36 and the average age of his Cabinet is 38. His most dangerous opponent Lim Chin Siong (aged 26) whose release from detention on 4th June was timed by Lee to exclude him from office, both in the Government and in the newly elected Party executive committee. These two leaders symbolise the struggle between non-Communists and the Communists to win the loyalty of the Chinese-speaking mass of the population, which tends towards Chinese Chauvinism and sympathy with Communism."

- Greg Poulgrain

Above are abstracts from the book 'Comet in our sky', for the full story, get the book and find out for yourself.

Greg Poulgrain is a Lecturer in History in Griffiths University in Brisbane, Queensland. He has been working on SOutheast Asian history for over two decades.

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