Secularism allows different communities to sustain own traditions, says Lee. Ed says..

"I am encouraged to see that although the Malays in Radin Mas are a minority, they are able to produce the nice performances which shows that they are keeping their culture, language, customs alive, which is a sign that we are respecting each other's space, cultural space, religious space, personal space," noted MM Lee. - source

Sometimes I have to wonder after this bloke’s brand of ‘secularism’.


On the one hand, he seeks the promotion of Mandarin and Chinese culture, has stated that singapore must always have a Chinese majority, and also started ‘Special Assistance Plan’ schools to provide the Chinese with exceptional education - which paved the way for sinocentrism and those identified as ‘Chinese’ to take the helm of the economy, and also stated to the Chinese (from his motherland) that ‘in two generations, Mandarin will be our mother tongue’. What unacceptable fascist nonsense. But, that said, on the other hand, they do promote cultural and racial tolerance.

So basically, ‘we aren’t disrespecting non-chinese cultures, we are just respecting chinese culture more.’ And this is their brand of ‘secularism’?
However, when you put these two together, it basically means, ‘in respect of each other’s culture’, one mustn’t take issue with the government’s promotion and elevation of the Chinese and Chinese culture over all others. To criticise this would be culturally and racially intolerant.’ So basically, ‘we aren’t disrespecting non-chinese cultures, we are just respecting chinese culture more.’ And this is their brand of ‘secularism’? If that's anything, it is fascism with a mask of secularism.


Now, allow me impart to you ed’s brand of secularism. Secularism is like Socialism. It’s just a preliminary phase. It’s a stage where we are trained out of capitalism-induced self-absorption, opportunism, and thus-induced mutual alienation, before going on to internalising the empathy required to be motivated by mutual respect and love as opposed to greed and fear.

Secularism is, like Socialism, a stage between cultural introversion and cultural miscegenation. It is a stage where EQUAL respect is accorded ALL cultures with equal space given to all without one being officially promoted and supported over others. The only generic culture that is supported and defended over all others is that which supports and defends the need to accord equal respect to all cultures.

Secularism is a stage where all cultures are given all resources necessary to fully develop themselves. Let me put it this way. An ill-educated accountant, manager, and clerk, can set up a company, but they can never maximise their output as a whole if they don’t maximise their individual development. Same thing here. We need to develop all cultures in respect of each other to the maximum before we are able to get the best that can be gotten from the totality of all cultures. To develop one and to underdevelop or marginalise others means that we cannot never get the max from all.

Additionally, a culture cannot be developed to the max in relative isolation. For instance, Chinese culture, developed in China, is only developed maximally in respect of all that is found within its boundaries, and can only be considered maximally developed if it remains within those boundaries. Its value is known by, or increased or decreased by, how it contends with novelty.

Before you, or anyone, is exposed to difference, one can’t say that your culture makes you resistant to new ideas or bigoted. But after you are exposed to difference, and ignore it, you become skilled in shunning that which is different, and this becomes your culture. In that, you are not still practicing ‘your culture’ per se, but you are tweaking it to ensure that it is resilient in the face of new ideas.
However, when it is transported to another clime wherein may be found other cultures, it reverts to a relatively undeveloped status as it has yet to take into account new conditions, cultures, and peoples. Positive development, from this point on means that they have to get rid of those aspects of their culture that might lead them to discount or shun difference simply because it is unfamiliar. This is where ‘respect and appreciation‘ of other cultures comes in. Without this, bias toward the familiar and ‘culture of our ancestors‘ will be true. That applies to all cultures. Indian culture, even though far more exposed to difference than its relatively monocultural counterpart in China, will still have to contend with continuing variation when exposed to, say, the Malays, Chinese, Eurasians, Peranakans, Filipinos, amongst others.

Now, if any of these peoples come together under a single national roof, and choose to, or are encouraged to carry on ‘sustaining their own traditions’, and do so in ignorance of each other, their respective cultures stand to become more practiced in resisting novelty. Like I told some Chinese mates in the past.

“Before you, or anyone, is exposed to difference, one can’t say that your culture makes you resistant to new ideas or bigoted. But after you are exposed to difference, and ignore it, you become skilled in shunning that which is different, and this becomes your culture. In that, you are not still practicing ‘your culture’ per se, but you are tweaking it to ensure that it is resilient in the face of new ideas.”

As i’ve said for quite some time, the Chinese, upon being exposed to difference when they emigrated to other s.e.asian regions, had a chance to ‘become Zhou’ and bring about what I would term, a ‘Chinese renaissance’ (as in, people of the Zhou period of Chinese history where there was much perspectival difference and vibrancy). But in learning to ignore the difference they encountered, they continued to ‘be Han’( as in, people of the period following the Qin dynasty where thought and perspectives were severely circumscribed in favour of the legalist-confucian philosophy).

In the context of Secularism, the practitioners, or victims, of all cultures, will have to bear in mind that one has to pursue their maximal development, or ‘sustaining of one’s traditions’ in respect and appreciation of difference. This is the basic rule that enables the movement from cultural alienation, to mutual cultural appreciation, and, finally, to cultural miscegenation and fusion. The latter of the three is where the best elements of all cultures are combined to form a ‘superculture’.

But that is not the end. The ‘superculture’, once formed, moves to being like the cultures that combined to create it - call it ‘cultural dialectics’ if you will. That is when it can itself produce lots of sub-cultures itself. And in the face of new ideas and cultures, served up by globalisation, it continues to evolve in respect and appreciation of other new cultures.

I am the best that I can be given what I know. But that is only a fragment of a fragment of all that i can be given what i am yet to know.

The former is the underlying tenet of the faith of true secularism.

The point here is not to ‘sustain traditions’, but to ‘develop traditions’ in respect of cultural variation. From this, we go on to ‘fusion’, and then to produce sub-cultures, and then to be exposed to new ideas, before going through the whole process all over again.

Singaporeans, Instead of abiding by the tenet,
'I am the best that I can be given what I know. But that is only a fragment of a fragment of all that i can be given what i am yet to know. went by, 'I am the best that I can be given what I know. Hence, what I know is the best that it can be.'

That is not the case in Singapore. The post-Qin version of ‘Chinese culture’ replicated its historical foundation by ignoring, marginalising, and assimilating. It didn’t become more, but made less of reality so that it could make sense of it more readily. And as it could, thus, engender subservience and mobilise unthinking consent in the face of official and officious decrees, it was able to generate a certain degree of ‘success’. But, like the company with the incompetent accountant, manager, and clerk, it simply made the best of a bad situation instead of doing maximising its output making the best of all . The critical, metaphorical, metaphysical mindedness that could have been produced by the integrative fusion of all cultures, and which was more a feature of Indian and Malay culture, was cast aside in favour of the immediately economically gratifying approach of ‘letting out leaders do the thinking for us’ legalist-confucian culture. Hence, today, singapore is simply the best that such a culture allows them to be, as opposed to being the best that it can be in respect of the cultural resources that were once available for their maximal development.

Singaporeans, Instead of abiding by the tenet,

I am the best that I can be given what I know. But that is only a fragment of a fragment of all that i can be given what i am yet to know.

went by,

I am the best that I can be given what I know. Hence, what I know is the best that it can be.




ed

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