of Singapore and other former British colonies, archives were created to solidify British power and sustain British traditions and values. The effects of these ideas are obviously disastrous to a society's sense of self. The goal then, for a national archive of an ex-colonial state, would be the restructuring of the archive from memorializing British power and British traditions to one memorializing the Singaporean, or Cypriot, or Indian people and their independent identity. This is no easy task, as a number of the records are the same from both governments, and must simply be viewed differently. We see the description of the record above, one that was created by the British government and one that the National Archives of Singapore had to purchase in order to tell that chapter of its own history. For this and similar records - those that were cataloged to solidify British control over Singapore - to now reflect the history and memory of the independent Singapore people and government would seem nearly impossible, but it need not be so. As former director of the Dutch National Archives, Eric Ketelaar, put it, 'archives have a two-fold power: being evidence of oppression and containing evidence required to gain freedom.'58 By accepting these documents as remnants of colonialism and re-interpreting and re-reading the archive, the colonial archive can be used to find a new, independent, narrative. While the Khmer Rouge example sits at one extreme, and passively sitting back and allowing former colonial masters to continue to dictate a nation's policies would be the other, ex-colonial states have to create the balance of recognizing that though you can never erase colonialism, the past does not necessarily control the future. Acknowledging this fact and putting it in to practice has obviously been far easier for settler colonies - for who the sting of colonialism was not nearly as strong - than for native population colonies. Aside from independence, the most historically significant event in twentieth century Singapore and other colonies was its role in World War II. In 1942 Singapore was invaded by the Japanese armed forces as part of their attacks on European colonies, with the British government eventually surrendering leaving the city under Japanese occupation for the rest of the war. While the work of the citizens and soldiers was nothing short of remarkable, the colonies were nothing short of pieces in a game between two imperial giants, and the outcome of the war was further colonialism no matter what. Putting such historical significance behind the resistance to occupation merely reinforces the image of post-colonial Singapore as existing solely as a former colony' and not as a country or society with a worthy history of their own. The National Archives of Singapore's World War II interpretive centers are a noble act, but fall short of removing the British control of archives. It is difficult not to view the Battle of Singapore as two colonial powers fighting for the prize of the strategically located port city, but Singapore tries, in the interpretive centers and online. But this idea takes work and multiple attempts and is not always successful. The most ambitious online exhibition created by the National Archives of Singapore is centered on the Battle of Singapore, referring to it as 'Singapore's MICHAEL KARABINOS POST(-)cOLONIAL ARCHIVES was often used as the lingua franca to do business in areas with multiple ethnic groups and languages, as in South Asian and African colonies. 56 'Access to Archives Online, Singapore,' National Archives of Singapore, http://www.a2o.com.sg/a2o/ public/html, accessed August 1, 2008. 57 Bastian, Owning Memory, 39. 58 Ketelaar, 'Archival Temples', 231. 39

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Jaarboeken Stichting Archiefpublicaties | 2012 | | pagina 41