Singapore: The 'Israel' of South East Asia
It is no secret that there is much resentment between the two nations who share the same history, Singapore and Malaysia. The former is dominated by Chinese while the other, by Malays. Though both nations were, at one time, a single country, racial tensions and riots had divided the entity into two countries. Singapore with its 1.8 million population was expelled from Malaysia (then about 6 million in population) on August 15 , 1965. Both countries had gone their own separate ways since but simmering tension and hate by Singapore continued to grow with the passing of time.
Singapore is the only country in South East Asia where its indigenous inhabitants, the Malays, had lost their political power and are dominated by immigrant Chinese population, mostly hailing from the southern provinces of China, and only came to Singapore in masses in the late 1800s with the encouragement of the British. In the annals of the Malay Archipelago, Temasik's history with the Malays is undeniable. So where do we begin tracing Temasik's history and its connection with the Malays? Do we start tracing it from the time when the Malay Funan and the Malay Champa Kingdoms arose in the first and second century C.E. respectively, or from the time period when control over Pulau Hujung (the old name for Temasik) was fought by the Siamese dynasties of Sukhotai and Ayudhya - who were at the time occupying the eastern and northern parts of Peninsular Malaysia (also known as Hujung Tanah) - with the Srivijaya kingdom in 7th century C.E.? Or maybe we should looking into the time when Parameswara, a prince of Srivijaya (the founder of the Malacca Sultanate) took refuge in Temasik for several years after his kingdom was attacked by the Majapahit empire in 1391 C.E. Until 1824, when Sultan Hussein Shah handed Singapore on a silver platter to Sir Stamford Raffles, there can be no doubt that Singapore's history with Malaysia has been inseperatable, both are connected historically and culturally though they are separated politically and culturally.
Having seen the above facts on the history of Singapore with the Malays (whom the Senior Minister Lee Kuan Yew once termed as "lanun", or a race of pirates) and Malaysia in general, why do we see the Sino-dominated government of Temasik trying to antagonize Malaysia so many times? From incidents such as the Istana Kampung Gelam issue and invasion of Malaysian waters and airspace by Singapore's military, to bilateral issues such as water supply, the Tanjung Pagar checkpoint, the CLOB affair, and a hostile anti-Malaysian media, Singapore has been acting in childish rhetoric since its expulsion in 1965. Once is okay, twice is tolerable, but three or four times?
This we can see when, without even considering the sensitivities of their Muslim-Malay community, the Muslims of Malaysia and Muslim countries in general, they invited the Israeli President Chaim Herzog to Singapore in November 1986. And when Singapore announced in August 1989 their willingness to accommodate an American military base, we are left wondering - what country or countries has Singapore actually perceived as her "enemy", that had "forced" Singapore to spend much of her resources on upgrading her military? Singapore had in fact been increasing her military equipment during the economic downturn, a very sharp contrast to other Asean countries which had actually been cutting down on their military expenditure. In March 1999 the Singaporean Parliament was informed that the government had allocated 25% or S$7.27 billion (RM16.72 billion) from the whole Budget for defense. And according to Asian Defence Journal (ADJ) January and February 2000, Singapore is reported to own three F-16A fighters, four F-16B fighters, 10 F-16D fighters, 36 F-5C fighters and eight F-5T fighters. The question here is: Why?
All these issues only strengthen the opinion of those across the Causeway and across the Malacca Straits that this is probably due to the inferiority complex of the Sino-dominated government, who see themselves as being under a "siege" by hostile neighbors - economically and politically. Like Israel, Singapore wants to deny the historical connection she has with her neighboring countries, hence the endeavor to be cut off historically and culturally from the rest. And like Israel too, Singapore have been arming herself with billons of Singapore dollars' worth of military equipment, courtesy of the U.S., in the ad nauseam excuse that it is for their "defense" from external enemies, imagined or otherwise. At the same time they spend their cash on their military, Singapore also indulges in a "cultural genocide" of their indigenous population, the Malays, by isolating them economically, politically and socially. It is no wonder that Singapore is very friendly towards Israel, as both share the same mentality and both are the friend of the U.S.
Now let us make a brief comparison of Singapore and Israel, based on the historical evidences:
The immigrant Zionist Jews from Europe, at the encouragement of the British, came to Palestine in droves in the 1900s at the expense of the indigenous people. The immigrant Chinese from China's southern provinces, at the encouragement of the British, came to Temasik in droves in the 1800s at the expense of the indigenous people.
After the formation of Israel in 1948, the Zionists began to displace their indigenous Arab population historically, socially and culturally. After the expulsion of Singapore from Malaysia in 1965, the Sino-dominated government began to displace their indigenous Malay population historically, socially and culturally.
Israel, with the backing of the US, spend its money more on its military than anything else. Singapore, with the backing of the US, spend its money more on its military than anything else.
Israel sees its (majority) Muslim-Arab neighbors as "hostile". So does Singapore, which sees its (majority) Muslim-Malay neighbors as "hostile".
With the above indisputable outline, how can we not conclude that Singapore is indeed "the 'Israel' of South East Asia"?