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Category Archive for 'Singapore'

When the Japanese invaded China in 1937 and French Indo-China in 1941, all part of Japan’s expansive efforts to establish the Greater East Asia Prosperity Sphere, the handwriting should have been on the wall for the colony of Singapore, one of Great Britain’s most important military and economic centers, located as it is between India and China. Hubris, and the sense that their military power could not be realistically challenged, however, led to Britain’s lack of military preparedness and the astonishingly quick takeover of Malaya and Singapore by the Japanese in 1942, handing the British what Winston Churchill called “the worst disaster and largest capitulation in British history.” Author J. G. Farrell recreates these traumatic days in Singapore as the final novel in his “Empire Trilogy,” which, like Troubles (1970), about the Easter Rebellion in Ireland (1916) and The Siege of Krishnapur (1973), about the Muslim Mutiny in India in 1857, combines Farrell’s cynicism, black humor, and sense of absurdity with his uncompromising honesty about colonialism–Britain’s greed, its colonial “mission,” its superior attitudes, and its cruelty toward the local people they consider their “subjects.”

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