What is a Singaporean?

Do Singaporeans have belly-buttons? Not so long ago, there used to be a theorist of the nation, and his name was Ernest Gellner. He is said to have famously and provocatively asked the same question about nations: do nations have belly-buttons? By which he meant: do nations have a single, traceable origin? Are nations born? Where […]

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How I Became a History Major

I never wanted to major in History. Preamble Sure, it was fun to read about wars and aeroplanes in books. I first learnt about the Cold War through the various cool jet fighters I was crazy about as a child. I first encountered jet fighters through the World War Two fighter planes in a comic […]

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What is Love I: Starting Again

What is love? Everyone has an answer, some less fruity than others. I have considered the cynics and the romantics. Our material culture is saturated with a desperate emptiness, singing of an answer called Love. I have heard the songs, I have watched the films, promising utopias of Happily Ever After. And then, occasionally, I […]

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A Work in Progress

Perhaps we are all metaphors of ourselves. Perhaps we start life like sketches, which slowly get filled with with daubs and washes of colour – huge blobs of primary colours, two-dimensional and flat. And then as we progress life anoints us with some shadow and nuance, so we don’t rust so much as weather; we […]

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The Great Affair

Why do we travel?  About three weeks ago, after much deliberation, hemming and hawing, I embarked on a trip. Contextualising it in the time frame of other friends who were also going overseas at the time,  my trip may have been mistaken (by others and myself) for what is commonly understood these days as a […]

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