a new book!

Post-war Malaya. Liberal, communal, Fabianist, and left-wing socialist groups rise. Alliances are brokered and broken. Slogans are shouted but their meanings are contested. British decolonisation allows the political flux, then proscribes it. The university nurtures future statesmen before changing to train experts in development. The University Socialist Club and the Contest for Malaya: Tangled Strands of Modernity explores the role of a group of university student activists in the contest for a modern nation-state.

“This is an immensely compelling, informative and skilfully written account on the role of a formidable student movement in colonial Malaya and Singapore during the Cold War era and its active engagement in liberal-democratic principles, the socialist ideology and the making of a new nation.”

— Professor Cheah Boon Kheng (retired), Universiti Sains Malaysia

“This study captures a brief Malayan moment in the history of Singapore and throws light on why the moment did not last. It is a strong example of alternative history in which losers’ stories are not only told but also help to correct official accounts. Remarkably, it also shows how historians juggle with memories of pain and regret as they try not to make new myths.”

— Professor Wang Gungwu, East Asian Institute, National University of Singapore


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