Lecturer: Michael H. Lee
Lecture Time: 4:30 - 6:15 pm, Mondays
Lecture Venue: ERB 804
Tutor: GUO Fei
Tutorial Time: To be Arranged
Tutorial Venue: To be Arranged

This course introduces and examines the historical development of Singapore since the British trade settlement in 1819, through the time of British colonialism, Japanese occupation, decolonization, self-government, merger with Malaysia, and finally nation-building after the independence in 1965 and up to the present. Apart from the political aspect of modern Singapore history, this course also examines the social, economic and cultural aspects of the historical development of modern Singapore over the past two centuries.

Learning Outcome

The expected learning outcomes include:

  1. The students can trace the historical development of Singapore and explain the factors that contributing to the rise of Singapore as a prominent British colony in the Far East region in the mid-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries.
  2. The students will be able to identify major characteristics of the historical development of modern Singapore since 1819 until nowadays. They can conduct more in-depth research on modern Singapore history from different perspectives, such as political, economic, social and cultural perspectives.
  3. The students should be able to compare similarities and differences between the historical development of Singapore and other ex-British colonies especially in Asia, including Hong Kong.

Class schedule:

Lecture Date Theme
1 02/09/2013 Singapore and Southeast Asia
  • To introduce the course.
  • To provide an overview of the historical origin and development of Singapore and the relationship between Singapore and Southeast Asia.
2 09/09/2013 The Founding of Modern Singapore
  • To examine the reasons for the British East India Company and Stamford Raffles being interested in building up a free trading port and factory in Singapore in the early nineteenth century.
  • To evaluate critically the historical role of Stamford Raffles in the modern history of Singapore, and also how effective the British administration governed Singapore in the 1820s.
3 16/09/2013 Singapore¡¦s Colonial Economy
  • To explain the factors contributing to the growing prosperity of the Singapore port-city as compared with its counterparts in Malacca and Penang since 1819.
  • To discuss how far the opening of Hong Kong and other Chinese ports in the 1840s affected the economic prospects of Singapore.
4 23/09/2013 The Chinese Society in Singapore
  • To identify major characteristics of the Chinese society in Singapore. To differentiate two major groups of the Chinese residing in Singapore in the nineteenth century till the Japanese occupation in the 1940s, namely, the Straits Chinese and the newcomers or new immigrants from China.
  • To compare and contrast these two groups of Chinese communities in Singapore from the political, social, economic and cultural perspectives.
5 30/09/2013 The Fall of Singapore: Japanese Occupation
  • To note the linkage between Singapore and Japan before the Japanese occupation in 1942.
  • To discuss whether the fall of Singapore was inevitable, and the legacy of the Japanese occupation on the historical development of Singapore.
6 07/10/2013 Decolonization: Self-Government, Merger and Independence
  • To trace the development of the postwar Singapore with special reference to the process of decolonization, which was represented by the introduction of democratic elections, the setting up of the self-government, the pursuit of a merger between Singapore and Malaysia in 1963, and finally the separation between Singapore and Malaysia which led to the independence of Singapore on 9 August 1965.
  • To account for the failure of the merger between Singapore and Malaysia between 1963-65.
7 21/10/2013 Lee Kuan Yew and Nation-building of Singapore
  • To review the political career of Lee Kuan Yew and his nation-building policies after the independence of Singapore in 1965.
  • To evaluate the role and significance of Lee Kuan Yew and the People¡¦s Action Party on the development of Singapore since they came to power in 1959 when the self-government was set up.
8 28/10/2013 From Third World to First: Economic Miracle in Singapore
  • To trace the economic development of Singapore after the Second World War.
  • To explain how economic transformation works in Singapore to turn it from a Third World to First World country with special reference to the role of the state in developing the Singapore economy.
9 04/11/2013 Pragmatic Social Policies for Political Hegemony
  • To examine the concept of the ¡§developmental state¡¨ in the context of the ¡§Singapore model of social welfare¡¨ since the 1950s.
  • To analyze how the ruling party in Singapore has been able to achieve and preserve its political hegemony through the institutionalization of a series of social policies, especially in terms of the Central Provident Fund and public housing programmes.
10 11/11/2013 Education for Elitism and Meritocracy
  • To investigate how elitism, meritocracy, patriotism, and Confucianism have been preached and consolidated through education in Singapore since 1965.
  • To evaluate critically the social consequences of the education system in Singapore with reference to its impact on politico-socio-economic and ethnic disparities in the society
11 18/11/2013 Singapore Cinema: From Run Run Shaw to Jack Neo
  • To discuss the importance of the filmmaking industry and mass media in the shaping of popular culture in Singapore.
  • To demonstrate how the social reality and problems of Singapore can be studied from Singapore-made movies, such as 12 Storeys, I Not Stupid, and Singapore Dreaming.
12 25/11/2013 Singapore in a Globalized World
  • To synthesize major changes and challenges facing Singapore from the nineteenth century onwards and in the context of globalization.
  • To shed light on what can be learnt from the Singapore¡¦s experience from different perspectives as covered in the course, and discuss whether the ¡§Singapore model of development¡¨ can be copied or adopted in other places such as Hong Kong.

Tutorial: 25%
Book Review (Based on Assigned Tutorial Readings): 25%
Take-Home Exam Essay: 50%

To be Announced in the First Lecture
Last updated on 11 Jul 2013