A LOOK INTO WHAT WAS AT STAKE FOR SINGAPORE
We knew we were in a fight to the death against a formidable adversary. We had been allied with them in an open front to fight the British and knew how strong they were. We knew what would happen if the communists had prevailed. The PAP and its sympathisers would have been the first to be liquidated.
Having fought so hard for merger, what we did not expect was that in Malaysia, the non-Malays would be treated differently from the Malays. So from a battle of merger, it became a fight for equality between all races in Malaysia.
This again was a fight that we believed in; but this time we could not win it. As a result we were forced to leave Malaysia and had independence thrust on us.
The world and Singapore have changed a great deal since the events recounted in this book. The new media is displacing the old. Politicians no longer choose the radio to get their message across, and the young do not use the medium.
But if the young read this book “Battle for Merger” and understand what was at stake, why and how we stayed the course, then the reprint would have achieved something. Before it is too late, younger Singaporeans should also speak to the remaining members of the pioneer generation who lived through those times, in order to get an appreciation of our past. This is a generation that believed in me and my “Old Guard” colleagues because they saw us stand up and fight back against the communists and later the communalists.
We refused to be cowed and thus won the confidence of this generation, which went on to help us build modern Singapore. Without their support in those crucial years, I do not think Singapore would have made it.
– Mr Lee Kuan Yew in a message carried in the reprint of The Battle For Merger