27 April 2007

Digging into foundations is mischief

The excavations at Sanxingdui are raising subversive questions about the linear narrative that tends to dominate Chinese history. Singapore too promotes a linear narrative. Anyone doing excavations of Singapore's political history? Full essay.


ted said...

Hey cool pictures! I went on the last day when the exhibition was made free to all public. Unfortunately I also saw a lot of smudges on the glass panels and cover cases.

Anonymous said...

>Singapore's --egalitarian--, multi-racial ideals had no place within the hierarchical Malaysian model.

Singapore is now highly elitist; so maybe it would fit better now?

using Sanxingdui to criticize Singapore's official version of history: when I went to see the exhibition, almost all the people in the guided group were foreigners; how many Singaporean voters would have seen it? it seems too esoteric a way to debate singapore politics


Yawning Bread Sampler said...

asiayouthmedia -

This essay isn't there to "debate singapore politics". Like many other articles, it's an interpretive exegesis of an experience or an idea, with lateral thought-movements. It takes the same form as, for example, Gobsmacking Days.

Yawning Bread Sampler said...

Ted -

I went on the last day too, so might even have seen me.

Anonymous said...

on the archaeology: Sanxingdui's bronze culture, while technologically comparable to Shang, is very different in content; Shang had a highly formal worship system designed to heighten the status of royalty, while Sanxingdui was closer to the primitive shamnism of older times - one had all those big cauldrons, the other the masks and statues

Anonymous said...

More specifically, part of the merger proposal was to create a double identitiy for Singaporeans, that they were Singapore citizens and Federal Nationals. The implication of this is that Singaporeans cannot participate in Federal politics unless they were registered.

Eventual confrontations between the Alliance and the PAP during the Singapore state elections and Federal elections led to the stand- off between the two parties. Racial riots broke out as PAP was forced to take a non- communal stand of a "Malaysian Malaysia", as opposed to a "Malay Malaysia", interpreted by many as a challenge to the indigenous heritage of the Malays.

This led to the birth of an accidental nation without the triumphant narrative typical of many nations. Political and economic successes were written as the main plot of national history instead.

Anonymous said...

My name is darkness,

May I just say I enjoyed reading this article very much. I especially liked the photos.

Do you mind if I save some of them personally for my private viewing.

I seems just right to ask as a matter of courtesy.

I would also like further details on this civilization. As I may consider funding an expedition to learn more about them.

Yours most respectfully


Anonymous said...

Sanxingdui is a protected national archaeological site; I doubt you can organize a private expedition to discover thnigs; tour groups can go to the museums set up for the sites

Yawning Bread Sampler said...

Darkness -

Re photos, go ahead.

Anonymous said...

very nice post and call for a revisitation of Singapore's historical narratives

we don't have to wait for students doing research papers to discover non-state narratives of Singapore history, although students of the Department of History at NUS have already been doing it. Rather, in recent years, historians of Singapore history have already been moving away from the Singapore Story and pursuing research in the lesser-known and alternative perspectives, angles of Singapore history.

A team of researchers with the assistance of Michael Fernandez, the man who inspired Robert Yeo's canonical Singapore series of plays, are writing a book centered on the University Socialist Club, the hub of leftists in the University of Malaya and the University of Malaya in Singapore that were the precusors to NUS today.

Recently, another group of scholars have begun to publish a e-journal using the medium of a blog focused on unearthing what needs to be unearthed :


Given that it's in the form of an online blog, this endeavour should prove much more accessible to Singaporeans than books that are too long to read or too expensive to buy haha. It'd be a shame if the viewership of this blog is limited to academics and scholars alone, so hopefully, netizens could take an interest in this blog, spread the word around and help further these researchers' budding project of excavating alternative glimpses into Singapore's history....