2nd MBRAS Lecture 2014
"The Raffles Paradox : Liberal, Autocrat, or something else?"
by Tze Shiung Ng
Date: 04 October (Saturday) 2014
Time: 5 p.m.
Venue: The Pod@National Library Board (NLB), 100 Victoria Street, Singapore
Sir Stamford Raffles's administration in the East Indies (1811-24) presents a perennial paradox to historians who have attempted to generalize British policy prior to the commercial success of Singapore.
Raffles is celebrated as the liberator of trade and the native serf, but it has been next to impossible to reconcile this idea with equally valid impressions of him as an exacting monopolist, a suppressor of dissent, zealous proselytiser, and rigorous enforcer of rules and controls.
How can Raffles have been both liberal and autocratic? In my talk, I suggest that the paradox is the result of an ideology present in Raffles's thinking, which cannot be reduced to modern notions of liberalism or authoritarianism, but which originates in eighteenth-century concerns about the ethical conduct of man in society.
Admission is free and the talk is open to all. It will take place after the Council meeting ends at the stipulated venue.
As seats are limited, please register for the talk or direct any further queries to MBRAS. (Mr. Woo on +603-2283 5345 or via email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Tze Shiung Ng received his engineering degree from the Imperial College, London and is by vocation an engineer. His continued interest in history, however, led him to pursue an MA at Leeds, and he now researches for a PhD with the Australian National University (ANU).