Photo of K Shanmugam from Justin Ong CNA

Speaking at a Chinese New Year gathering held at the Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre (SCCC), Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam played his snake flute on nationalism reminding Singaporeans to regard the nation above their race:

“We are not China Chinese, we are not Indian Indians, we are not Malaysian Malays. We are Singaporean Chinese, we are Singaporean Indians and we are Singaporean Malays. And that is different from all these countries.”

Minister K Shanmugam claimed that Singaporean Chinese share the same sentiments as the government placing nationalism above culture:

“And the Chinese community in Singapore has strongly supported that overarching Singaporean approach even as it highlights the importance of its own culture.”

The Law Minister who was a former senior counsel lawyer then irrelevantly condemned the new US administration and developments in Europe for “taking extreme measures”:

“Culture is key to helping Singaporeans navigate an uncertain global environment, citing the populist uprisings in Western countries which have resulted in political leaders taking extreme measures which may or may not work.”

Seemingly unprepared for his speech, Minister K Shanmugam then illogically went on covering nationalism, culture and 5,000 years of Chinese history:

“To have the courage and conviction, you need to be strongly rooted, and rooting comes from culture. We forget that, I think Singapore will not be Singapore, and we will be buffeted and turned over at the first big wave. That is why the new Chinese Cultural Centre is essential to Singapore’s success, as it will help develop and promote the country’s unique Chinese culture among the younger generation…The centre has a purpose far beyond just the organisation of cultural activities. It has to become a centre for our people to fuse together and build our own culture, taking and drawing from 5,000 years of history.”