Welcome to the second issue of s/pores. This issue focuses on the theme of Memory and History. Our lead feature is a talk by Professor Wang Gungwu about his student days in the University of Malaya in the early 1950s. Philip Holden provides us the background of Professor Wang’s reminiscences and we have also reprinted a rarely seen 1958 essay by Professor Wang from The Malayan Undergrad that gives us a better understanding of the literary milieu of the immediate postwar years. Professor Wang has also given us kind permission to reprint two of his poems. Thanks to Tim Pwee and Karen Goh for their assistance in putting this ‘package’ together.
Capturing social memories is a tricky business, especially if one deals with the left wing history of Singapore and Malaysia. Lim Cheng Tju and Sai Siew Min interviewed CC Chin, the leading authority on the history of the Malayan Communist Party, about the difficulties he faced during his 10-year journey to capture the voices of the left. The obstructions came not just from the state archives, but also from former comrades and fellow travelers who spoke selectively for their own reasons.
What one remembers and how one remembers are challenges inherent in history. Loh Kah Seng remembers the ex-leprosy patients in Singapore. Edgar Liao remembers the Enright Affair. And Tan Jing Quee returns to remember Usman Wang.
Hong Lysa reviews Tan Pin Pin’s Invisible City and PJ Thum gives us a run-down of the conference he co-organized last year on Singapore historiography and to honour Mary Turnbull.
Comments, as usual, are welcomed.
Introduction to “Learning Me Your Language” Philip Holden
Learning Me Your Language Wang Gungwu
Trial and Error in Malayan Poetry Wang Gungwu
Three Faces of Night Wang Gungwu
Moon Thoughts Wang Gungwu
Usman Awang in Singapore Tan Jing Quee