B AND THE CONTEST FOR MALAYA OF NUS’S FIRST OLITICAL CLUB
Images of the FAJAR publication which got 8 student members of the editorial team in trouble.. Scans by Edgar Liao
For enthusiasts and students of Singapore history, the book is another contribution to the recent Singapore historiography that aim to recover and return pluralism, nuance and veracity to our understanding of the complex period and processes between the end of the Second World War and Singapore’s first decade as an independent sovereign nation. An important chapter in the book focuses on the Fajar Trial of May 1954. Eight student members of the editorial board of Fajar, the USC’s publication, were arrested by the local colonial authorities for alleged sedition. The evidence? An editorial in a Fajar issue entitled “Aggression in Asia”, which had criticized the Anglo-American initiative to form the Southeast Asian Treaty Organization then as a sign of continuing Western imperialism. One of the eight charged included a first year Arts student named Edwin Thumboo. The eight were subsequently defended and acquitted with the help of a Queen’s Counsel D.N. Pritt, assisted by a local lawyer named Lee Kuan Yew. This Trial proved significant to the eventual formation of the People’s Action
Party, whom the Socialist Club first supported but eventually collided and entangled with from the 1960s up till the Club’s deregistration in 1972. The book uses the complex history of the Socialist Club to understand and illuminate the complex party and student politics involved, as it found both friends and opponents, political or ideological, along its obstacle-ridden path of trying to bring about an independent socialist united Malaya inclusive of Singapore.
The book launch for “The University Socialist Club and the Contest for Malaya: Tangled Strands of Modernity” will be held on 28 March 2013, Thursday at BookHaven (UTown, NUS) The University Socialist Club and the Contest for Malaya is also available for sale at a student’s discount at BookHaven, NUS Coop and NUS Press. For further enquiries or if you would like to place an order, please contact orders.nuspress@ nus.edu.sg.
Published on Apr 6, 2013