I haven’t really given much thought to why I bothered to go and import the Crown Colony flag. I guess this is a retroactive rationalisation after the fact of this decision.
I think it began when my family returned from their trip to the UK. They were telling me about their English custom and manners, which, while quite quaint and somewhat romantic, was not what captured my imagination. They spoke about speaking to the older Britons (those in their 50s-60s) who were still around during the time of the colonial administration of our “nation”, some of them were in fact in the Straits Settlement at that time, and it was that sense of familiarity with us, their pride in having served in the Straits Settlements, that gave me a sense that something precious has been loss in the dissolution of the British Empire and in being part of a larger commonwealth, a fellowship of British civilisation, culture and manners have been irretrievably lost. (In one conversation, my brother mentioned the surprise which he felt at the familiarity in which the Britons spoke about Singapore to which they replied, of course we are familiar with Singapore, we are not Americans you know. 😛 )
Most of the blabbering about “colonialism” and “Western imperialism” and exploitation are mostly claptrap. Economics studies have shown that in most Western imperialistic endeavours, the imperial nations often ran their colonies at a loss to themselves, hardly an “exploitative” situation. Otto Von Bismarck himself was unwilling to hop Germany unto the colonising rush because he believed that colonies were rarely profitable, a drain on their resources, and almost never were able to pay for themselves. It was only the national desire for prestige and glory which eventually lead him to embark on German colonisation.
Doubtless much wickedness, evils and injustice had been inflicted by our colonial masters, but I firmly contend that these evils are nothing out of the ordinary sinfulness and wickedness to which all mankind are subject to, and they were not more cruel or malicious than any other “local” or “native” rulers. If anything, while we may have cause to be suspicious of some of their rhetoric for justifying colonialism based on motives of “enlightening” us with the ways of the West or civilising out of our Eastern superstition and backwardness, but overall and as a whole, their motives were sincere, especially in the post-EIC era of imperialism where it was clear that the administration of the colonies hardly reaped a profit for the colonisers, and in fact drained a significant amount of resources from the Britain itself. On this count, we at least cannot accuse the British of economic motives at the height of the British Empire.
I honestly would have been proud to claim the mantle of a native “civilised” by our benevolent colonisers, introduced to the wonders of Western rationality and science because of the sense of duty and obligation which the Britons felt weighed upon them by the abundant blessings given unto them by Almighty God to teach and develop us. I would love to go to Britain, proud to claim to be from one of their colonies while they discussed their relatives or even their own experience living and serving in the colonies for our welfare and to the greater glory of God.
It is this world, this sense of being part of something larger, something greater, even if it is as a “colonial subject”, which I feel has been lost in our bid for “self-determination”. What good is being a freeman in a wasteland? What good is liberty in our modern desert of entertainment and endless possession but possessing nothing?
Singapore is never meant to be a nation; even we broke off from the British with the understanding of being part of Malaysia. We had a good run of forty years, but the decline of Singapore is at hand. From a colony part of a vaster Empire and greater destiny, we have been reduced to a mere mercantile city, debased to pursue the lowest form of human life, the commercial rat race under the economic imperative. We cannot be in any sense of the word, a true nation or a true country, simply because we cannot possibly be self-sustaining. We are at heart a merchant city, a trade nexus, not a real home, nor can we ever possibly be organically nourished by the land or the sea for sheer lack of it, but we are merely a people in flux, flowing in and out with every passing “economic man” who enter and leave our city.
And to survive without natural resources and land, we need greater commercial cunning, ruthless willingness to expediency, intensified sweating at the grindstone in the bid to wring whatever little pennies we can from those passing traders, willing to sacrifice every dignity and principle to purchase the goods necessary for our survival and our comfort. Perhaps here we can also observe the tragedy of the Singaporean Chinese, in that we have lost all sense of custom, manners and culture, and have merely acquired the worse elements of the English “commercial” attitude and their mercantile instinct. And today, we are degenerated even further by outright crass “Western” materialism and utilitarian instincts. And as the grindstone increases in weight, and as the material expectations and desires for comforts of the people increases in equal proportion, it is inevitable that our people will simply be driven mad by these irreconcilable conflicts, and the entire nation burns down to the ground in a flurry of commercial activity and hedonistic wild orgies.
But of course, we all know that the British Empire is a lost cause, heck, even the UK at present is a lost cause. I buy the Crown Colony Flag, not to signify a desire to return to the long gone days of yore, but more as a judgement upon Singapore as a nation itself, precisely in that there is no future for it as a nation, and that I can see none, and that the last forty years was but a momentarily surge, a deep drawing of breath, of a city in terminable decline ever since it severed itself from the bosom of Britannia, before it exhales again its very last breath. A Crown Colony Flag exalts and celebrates what are the best days of the Singapore colony, which days we shall never rise to again, days which are irretrievably lost.
Because Singapore has no future, therefore we cannot see what will become of this land and of its people, they would be so radically changed, that Singapore for all intents and purposes would simply cease to exist, there is truly nothing for us before us. There would come a day when the continuity of our island to the glory days as a colony will finally be ruptured, and Singapore would simply diminish into a mere memory and footnote in the annals of history, forgotten by all but God alone…
God save the Queen! And may the Lord ease the passing of Singapore into oblivion, and be not too harsh in His judgment upon us…