Episode 18: May 13
Dr. Thum Ping Tjin, Research Associate, Centre for Global History, University of Oxford
On 13 May 1954, the Singapore Police’s Riot Squad charged into a group of 900 unarmed students, brutally beating them, sending 30 to the hospital and arresting 48. The students were not protesting, but were quietly awaiting the outcome of a meeting at nearby Government House. This incident was a turning point in Singapore history - never before had the state conducted such unprovoked and outrageous violence against unarmed students. Worse, in the wake of the incident, the colonial government blamed the students for provoking the riot squad. In this episode, PJ Thum explains the long history that led to this act of colonial brutality and its impact on Singapore’s decolonisation.
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