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Title: A crucible of Chinese trans-nationalism : the triad movement in late-colonial Singapore 1945-59
Authors: Li, Hezan Martin Edgar
Keywords: DRNTU::Humanities::History::Asia::Singapore::Politics and government
DRNTU::Humanities::History::Asia::Singapore::Social aspects
Issue Date: 2018
Abstract: The existing historiography of Chinese Triads has generally been marred by a colonial inherited criminalising narrative. Most scholars study secret societies and the Triads with the mistaken belief that these associations had unravelled with the 1889 Societies Ordinance; and their political role thereafter being restricted within an underworld realm distinct from mainstream society. Reality was however far removed from these assumptions: A foray into British archival records of Singapore’s late-colonial period reveal that the Triads remained sociopolitically important networks for Chinese community leaders to rally Chinese non-elites. Plagued by destabilising political impulses emanating from events of the Chinese civil war, the Malayan Emergency, and British decolonisation, Chinese community leaders attempted meet the uncertainty of radical change by infusing Triad networks with the legitimating force of a pan-Chinese nationalism which transcended geographically defined jurisdictional boundaries. The story that emerges from the archives is primarily one of Chinese leaders from an ebbing Kuomintang movement leveraging on Triad networks to countervail their diminishing ability for political action. Significantly, the state authorities found common ground with these Chinese Triad leaders and co-opted them through an allegedly bygone colonial system of informal policing in the hopes of nurturing moderate Chinese opinion.
Fulltext Permission: restricted
Fulltext Availability: With Fulltext
Appears in Collections:HSS Student Reports (FYP/IA/PA/PI)

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