Posted by: danguard | June 11, 2009

Day 4 – Hegemony and chillinos

Well, I’m freshly shaved and showered and ready for a night hanging out at hawker stalls with very cheap Chinese food (1.50 for a massive amount and variety), supersize bottles of tiger beer, and European football repeats, including last night’s epic demolition of Andorra! Before that though I’ll bring you up to speed with what’s going down.

I have four new Thai roommates. They seem very pleasant, and are clearly quite young and don’t seem to drink, which suits me as it means they go to bed early and they don’t disturb me. Two of them who are clearly a couple even wear matching pyjamas! I suddenly feel myself adopting an almost fatherly role, and playing the archetypal paternalist westerner! I jest of course.

Had a good innings in the archives today, and started tackling the oral interviews they’ve accrued there. There were 7 tapes from one guy alone who was particularly enlightening, he’d served in the RNVR (Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve) in Singapore from 1949, all the way into the 1970s with the independent Singapore armed forces, rising to head of the naval branch. It threw up an interesting couple of revelations. Firstly, through his rhetoric it was clear he had internalised and clearly believed in British hegemony, the superiority of British (or by extension ‘western’ if we’re adopting Said’s Orientalism-model as derived from Gramsci) ideas, practices, training, and technology. It was such acceptance in this ‘intellectual and moral superiority’ by the subjugated peoples of Empire that allowed the imperial project to flourish and the European powers to maintain control, so Said and others since have argued. This is not the first time i’ve witnessed such inculcation within naval contexts, my work on the Indian Navy has revealed it too. In that example, this hegemony continued to resonate for a decade and a half after independence, with the Indians seeking British help regarding officers, training, equipment, and essentially modelling their ‘national’ navy along Royal Navy lines. In Singapore though, it appears the imperial umbilical chord was severed, and the independent navy turned to Taiwan for assistance, a country with no naval heritage to note. This anomaly is not explained, and is particularly striking when considered next to the fact that the Israelis helped train up the army (also having had experience of national service), and the RAF trained up the Singapore air force. It is something which requires further investigation.

All really, really good-looking people love frappuccinos!

All really, really good-looking people love frappuccinos!

Had a fairly chilled day other than that, read more of my book in that nice coffee shop I found overlooking the Esplanade and marina (it really is an engrossing read, I maybe didn’t sell it properly before with my mention of economic theory, but that was really only one chapter). Today’s iced beverage of choice was caramel swirl chillino (not frappuccino Luke)… yummy! I’ll be at the Esplanade tomorrow watching the Russian chamber choir et al, so may not get another post out till Saturday (remember I’m 7 hours ahead). Will no doubt let you know my thoughts on them then.




  1. Come on Dan,

    I want to know about 4 floors of whores.

  2. And I want to know when the young people of today will learn that it is First, secondly, etc… your slightly anally retentive step-mother. xxx

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