As the Singapore Bicentennial is celebrated, six young people form a group called Raffles Must Fall to examine our country’s colonial legacy. During their gatherings, they pore over forgotten texts and artefacts, re-enacting scenes from the past to better understand the nightmare of subjugation… and the dream of self-determination.
Drawing upon a wealth of historical documentation, including speeches, newspaper articles, petitions and songs, “Merdeka / 獨立 /சுதந்திரம்” confronts us with questions about our colonial past and how it still echoes through our present and into our future.
Why celebrate the beginning of colonialism rather than its end? Has Singapore gained independence without truly undergoing a process of decolonisation? And if Raffles must fall, what will he take down with him?
Written by the award-winning Alfian Sa’at in collaboration with up-and-coming playwright Neo Hai Bin, this provocative and moving new play examines how our history and humanity have been shaped – and shattered – by the forces of colonialism.