2
八月

新加坡居民看英國及日本

作者 : 客座隨筆   在 邁向現代 Road to Modernity

香港與「新加坡」(Singapore),同屬位處東南亞的兩個現代化大都會,經常被世人從多方面作比較。誠然,兩個城市擁有一些相同點,譬如經歷類似的政治歷史,包括:英國殖民統治;和日本侵略佔據。

新加坡的英治與日據
1819年1月29日,英屬東印度公司的「萊佛士爵士」(Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles) 在馬來亞半島南端一個小島 — 新加坡 — 建立一個自由貿易港。1824年8月2日,新加坡成為「英國殖民地」(British colony) 。1826年,分布在馬來亞半島西岸及南端的四個不同地區,包括:新加坡、「馬六甲」(Malacca)、「天定」(Dinding;今曼絨市)及「檳城」(Penang),聯合組成「海峽殖民地」(The Straits Settlements),為英屬印度孟加拉管轄區的一個分區。自1867年4月1日起,海峽殖民地正式成為「英國直轄殖民地」(British Crown colony),直接由英國倫敦的「殖民總署」(Colonial Office) 管轄。

1942年,日本於第二次世界大戰期間侵略新加坡;同年2月15日,新加坡淪陷,改由日本佔據達三年半,直至1945年日本戰敗投降,才於同年9月12日回歸英國管治。

1959年6月3日,新加坡成立自治邦,「李光耀」(Lee Kuan Yew) 成為首任總理。1963年,李光耀帶領新加坡與馬來亞半島其他英國屬地組成「馬來西亞」(Malaysia),爭取一同脫離英國獨立,新加坡並加入馬來西亞成為—個州,稱為星州。1965年8月9日,新加坡在李光耀領導下被逐出馬來西亞,並獨立建國。同年10月,新加坡加入「英聯邦」(Commonwealth of Nations),繼續保持與前宗主國的友好關係。

香港的英治與日據
香港原為中國大陸南端一個小漁港,卻因清朝與英國一場「鴉片戰爭」(The Opium War),改寫其歷史。1839年3月10日,清朝欽差大臣「林則徐」奉道光皇帝的禁煙政策,開始飭令外國商人強制繳交鴉片,並銷毀於廣東虎門,英國商人損失慘重。1840年2月,英國國會決定對清朝用兵,組織東方遠征軍,委任「喬治.懿律」(George Elliot) 為海軍統帥兼正全權,駐華商務監督「查理.義律」(Charles Elliot;懿律堂弟) 為副全權,進攻清朝,稱為「第一次鴉片戰爭」(First Opium War)。清軍不堪一擊,戰敗求和。1841年1月26日,義律佔領香港島。1842年8月29日,簽署《南京條約》(Treaty of Nanking),清朝割讓香港島與英國,香港自此進入英治時期。

1860年,英法聯軍再度攻打清朝,是為「第二次鴉片戰爭」(Second Opium War),清軍又敗,聯軍進入北京,火燒圓明園;同年10月18日,簽署《北京條約》(Convention of Peking),割讓界限街以南的九龍半島與英國。1898年6月9日,再簽署《展拓香港界址專條》(The Convention Between Great Britain and China Respecting an Extension of Hong Kong Territory),租借界限街以北的九龍半島及新界與英國,於同年7月1日生效。

1941年12月8日,日本偷襲珍珠港,同盟國向日本宣戰,香港亦被捲入太平洋戰爭。由駐港英軍、華籍英兵、抵港支援的加拿大軍隊和不列顛印度軍隊,組成一支抗戰部隊,開始香港保衛戰,和日軍發生多場激烈戰鬥。12月25日,因為駐港軍隊太少和戰略運用失當,令香港迅速被日本攻陷。當時的香港總督楊慕琦在駐港英聯邦軍隊奮戰十多天後,最終宣佈向日本投降。香港人稱這一天為「黑色聖誕節」(Black Christmas),開始三年零八個月的香港日據時期。1945年,日本戰敗投降;8月30日,英國宣佈恢復管治香港。直至1997年7月1日,英國將香港主權移交中華人民共和國,成立特别行政區,英國殖民統治香港歷155年後,正式終結。

根據上述類似的英治與日據經歷,新加坡居民對英國及日本抱持怎樣的態度和實踐甚麼的行動?與香港人的態度和行動比較又是如何?相同還是相異?這可是一項有趣的課題,雅帆特邀僑居新加坡十多年的好友「祖」兄,從新加坡居民的角度,講述其觀察、經驗和見解,全文載錄如下:

“I think how the Singaporeans think about UK and Japan is greatly affected by how their government and Lee Kuan Yew think. Lee was a practical politician with no illusion to rely on the Western powers to fight against a strong China and his global view was respected by most leaders around the world. The following script is attached for your reading:

I think in some way the British decision to transfer their power to the locals in Singapore and to retain Hong Kong as a colony after the Second World War had set a different path for these two cities to develop into their current state. For those Singaporeans who were born after the Second World War, I feel that they won’t have any strong or particular feeling towards UK or Japan as they had not gone through the war. Some of the older generation might have a mixed feeling towards Japan and the Singapore government’s direction is to forget the past and move forward for reaping mutual benefits between the two countries.

However, the Japanese occupation of Singapore became a milestone in the path to Singapore’s independence. The eventual leaders of Singapore were shaped by their Japanese occupation experience and British socialism during the 1940-50s. Lee Kuan Yew believed that as a small country Singapore has to adapt itself to the world as it has limited impact on global affairs, what Singapore can do is to manoeuvre its small boat in a limited space among the giants in order to survive in this part of the world. He was strongly influenced by the British since he received English education since childhood. During the Japanese occupation he worked as a Chinese – Japanese translator in the publicity propaganda department for the Japanese headquarters in Singapore. After the surrender of Japan, he studied and graduated from the Cambridge University with a double starred first degree honours in law. As Lee Kuan Yew said during his interview with BBC Discovery Channel, there was a political awakening among the local elites after witnessing the speedy defeat of their colonial master. There was a change of their mindset: they should be able to run the island as well as the British did, if not better. They also learnt from Japanese the importance of top-down control and team work spirit plus the lessons of the British welfare state concept at that time.

Singapore became part of the Federation of Malaya after the Second World War and the British authorities planned to transfer power to Singaporeans in stages. From 1959 onwards, Singapore became a state under the British sovereignty with its own prime minister and internal government with full self-rule powers. However, its foreign affairs and external defense are still controlled by the British. The British’s decision to run Singapore separately from the Malaysia mainland gave the Singapore leaders a chance to apply their lessons of the Japanese occupation to the running of a country. Lee Kuan Yew said that he fully appreciated the gentleman behaviour of the British as Singapore was handed over to him in an orderly manner, unlike what the French and Belgium did to their African colonies. Singapore inherited from England her language, laws, and an efficient civil service system, without which he would not be able to build Singapore as of today. When asked about his forecast of the UK’s power, say 20 years from now, he said that she would not be stronger or weaker than today.

During the Japanese occupation period, the Japanese army conducted the “Sook Ching” massacre to eliminate the suspected anti-Japanese Chinese population in Singapore. Between 50 to 90 thousands of residents of Chinese origin were executed. After the Japanese’s surrender, the British colonial government only demanded Japan to compensate for the damage done to the British property during the war. However, the local population welcomed back the British for the economic prosperity. When Singapore gained full self-government rule in 1959, there were anti-Japanese sentiments among the Chinese community and they demanded compensation and an apology from Japan. The Japan government said that the issue of war reparations was already settled with the British government on a global basis in 1951, and it would include Singapore, a British colony at that time. There was a boycott of Japanese goods in Singapore but it only lasted for a few days.

When the British withdrew the troops from Far East (left with only Hong Kong to contain China) in 1971 and closed down its military base in Singapore, the country’s largest employer was lost and the military base contributed more than 20% of the country’s national product. The Singapore government started a rapid industrialisation programme to transform the country from the stagnating entreport trade to manufacturing in order to lower the high unemployment rate. Besides UK firms, the Japanese firms were among the first batch of foreign investors to set up factories at that time and created jobs for the locals.

During an interview with the press, Lee Kuan Yew said that he admired the team spirit of Japanese and dedication for perfection in their work. However, he is pessimistic about the future of Japan as it has a rapidly aging population with declining domestic consumption and a stagnant economy. As the ruling parties of Japan are made of different factions with each faction being headed by a samurai, the leader has to secure the support of most samurais within the party. This leads to unstable governments and makes it difficult for the Japan leader to make great policy change to revive their economy and resolve the population problem. He is of the view that it would take 20 to 30 years for the Chinese navy to match the military might of US navy and expel them beyond the 200 nautical miles exclusive economic zone. When that can be done, China would replace US as the most powerful influencer in the politics of Western Pacific region. Japan has no choice but to join US in resisting a rising China, although it may be a losing battle as time goes if China continues to become stronger every day.

To a certain extent the Brexit was also forecasted by Lee Kuan Yew a few years ago. He said that the current EU will fail as an integrated single political and financial entity and the Euro will ultimately fail as a single currency. Within the Euro zone, certain countries like Germany are having high productivity and highly skilled labour force, but the economies for most of its new members are still struggling. All the symptoms are showing Europe cannot be integrated socially and financially and the immigrants in Europe also cannot be integrated into the local communities. It is difficult for EU to maintain a single currency with such a great parity among the economies of its member states. The Federal Reserve/Treasury Department in US can function with US$ as the single currency in all her states because each state is not forced to have a balanced budget, some richer states would have to subsidize the poorer states in US.

This is not the case in the EU zone, the voters in the poorer countries would suffer greatly if they are demanded by the richer EU members to scale back their national spending and welfare in order to balance their national budget. It is unlikely that the voters in each European country would give up their power to control their own national budget and spending and let it be controlled by a centralised pan-European finance minister. A Euro or EU crisis would occur from time to time unless all the people in EU are willing or forced to accept the financial burden and hardship arising from the re-structuring and integration of the different states of economies. He forecasted that EU would either collapse totally or split into 2 or 3 smaller EUs with similar economic strength among its member countries. When that happens there would be significant movements in exchange rates and slower global economic growth for a while, but ultimately the global trade and exchange rates would settle down. As a result the European countries may rely more on China and may be India in future to maintain their economic growth.

I think most Singaporeans would keep silent on this issue and other issues involving another race, country and religion. In the past there were some clashes between the Malays and Chinese in Singapore and a small scale riot (by HKG standard) of a few hundred Indian workers not long ago. The Singapore government made it known to the public and reminded them from time to time that there is zero tolerance towards any article or online comment (including your posting in the Facebook account for your friends ‘ reading) if it is considered by them to be offensive to certain race/religion/country or putting the social harmony in danger. Offenders would be prosecuted and that person may lose his job if he is a civil servant or working in large local companies. Foreigners may also be kicked out of Singapore after receiving their punishment if they are convicted in the court.”

雅帆回顧,大部分香港市民對待英國及日本的態度和行動,既屬複雜;亦是矛盾。口誅筆伐方面,必須明示對英日兩國的仇視、輕蔑,期望確立熱愛中國的忠誠個人形象;實踐行動方面,卻時常暗地對英日兩國的尊崇、學習,謀求獲得西方文明的優質個人利益。譬如:一方面支持推行愛國教育,亦同時將兒女送往英國留學;一方面鼓吹反日運動、罷買日貨,卻同時開辦學習日語和日本民間藝術研習班、組織遊日享受購物團…等。類似的「講一套、做一套」現象,不勝枚舉。

新加坡居民與香港市民雖然經歷類似的政治歷史,卻產生對待英國及日本的不同態度和行動,何以如此?頗值中華兒女深思。

這篇文章發表 於 星期二, 八月 2nd, 2016 6:16 上午 在 邁向現代 Road to Modernity. 你可以回應這篇文章透過 RSS 2.0 feed. 你可以 留下回覆, 或 引用 從你的個人網站.

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