Episode 21: Is it right to use illegal means to resist evil?
Dr. Thum Ping Tjin, Research Associate, Centre for Global History, University of Oxford
Is it right to use illegal means to resist evil? Or is law and order a value that is inherently worth upholding? Where do we draw the line? How do we decide? This is the moral quandary that faced the actors of the Hock Lee Bus Strike. The law was on the side of the deceitful, exploitative, underhanded owners of Hock Lee Amalgamated Bus Company. The workers felt they had no choice but to resort to an illegal strike to uphold their own rights and dignity. Who was right? Your answer to that question is shaped by your values. Hock Lee demonstrates how history is formed of multiple overlapping perspectives, and that reasonable people can disagree very strongly about the same events and both be correct. In this episode, PJ Thum discusses the context and events of Hock Lee, the many different perspectives on Hock Lee, and how the strike altered Singapore’s anticolonial politics.
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