The Takshashila Institution hosted Prof Thum Ping Tjin for a conversation on freedom and liberty.
Thum Ping Tjin is the founder and managing director of New Naratif, a think tank, media company and community organisation that promotes democracy, freedom of information, and freedom of inquiry in South East Asia. Prof Thum has also been the creator and co-host of a radio show and podcast called “The History of Singapore”. He has a DPhil in Modern History from the University of Oxford and has studied Modern History and Politics as well as East Asian Studies at the University of Oxford and Harvard University respectively.
Prof Thum is also an accomplished athlete, known for being the first Singaporean and first Oxford graduate to swim the English Channel. He also holds the world record for individual swim around the Rock of Gibraltar.
Prof Thum Ping Tjin discussed the modern history of the Malay Peninsula and the economic imperatives that led to changes in governance patterns. Prof Thum then talked about attempts by the British to decolonise the state of Singapore and attempt to make it a British ally. He then touched upon nationalism being used as a tool by the People’s Action Party to delegitimise its opposition.
The conversation between Narayan Ramachandran and Prof Thum then moved into a discussion on whether a state can be liberal and national at the same time, if Singapore can be considered a success and solutions to the worldwide phenomenon of populism.