*Singapore: Unlikely Power*

Authored by John Curtis Perry, this is a good one-volume introduction to the history of Singapore, with the most interesting section being the one on the Japanese wartime occupation.  Here is one excerpt:

For the Indonesians, struggling against the Dutch, freedom from colonial rule did not satisfy; they wanted as well to redraw geographical lines of sovereignty.  Their new leader, Sukarno, in 1961 announced an aggressive policy of Konfrontasi (Confrontation), dreaming of forming a vast united Malay state, “Maphilindo,” to include Indonesia, the Malayan Peninsula (and implicitly Singapore), all of Kalimantan, and even the Philippines.

Indonesia by size and population would naturally dominate such an aggregation.  Sukarno vowed to use force to crush Malaysia calling it “neo-colonial.”  His people seized Singaporean fishing boats; he ordered sabotage carried out on Singapore’s port and a boycott that hurt Singapore’s trade.  These threats and acts did nothing to advance his cause but fanned Singapore’s sense of vulnerability.



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