SteveFoerster wrote: ↑
Sat Mar 25, 2017 4:05 pm
cassowary wrote: ↑
Thu Mar 23, 2017 1:35 am
I read complaints from ex-colonies, especially African ones, of European mistreatment. But I don't know of anybody here today who complains about British colonialism.
Primarily, I think complaints about colonialism have their roots in post-colonial governments who have failed their people and need someone else to blame. That's why you don't see that sort of kvetching in wealthy former/current colonies like Singapore, Bermuda, the Caymans, etc.
I agree with you. It is always a part of human nature to blame others for one's own failures. Look at the black community in the US who are always blaming racism for their failure to catch up.
But I suspect that a lot depends on the capability of the people the British and other European encountered. The British wanted to trade. If the people they met were capable of peaceful commerce and both grew wealthy in the exchange, the British were quite happy to leave you alone to make your own arrangements. There was no need for harsh treatment of their subjects.
British colonization of Singapore started in 1819 when Sir Stamford Raffles set up a trading post in Singapore for the East India Company. Singapore became a crown colony in 1867. During this period, Singapore had a lazziez faire economy where the British administration left you alone. In 1875, a British report to London wrote:
"We believe the vast majority of Chinamen who came to these settlements return to their country not knowing clearly whether there is a government in them or not." ... A History of Modern Singapore
, page 93.
The majority of Chinese then did not even realize they were subjects of the Queen. The Chinese community lived according to their own customs and laws. Disputes were settled by the leading members of the community - the merchant princes.
An interesting but not well known fact is that the commercial community in Singapore (both Asian and British) pressed a reluctant London to expand British power into the Malay states. Wealthy Chinese merchants had tin mines in Malaya which was then ruled by Malay Sultans. These Sultans were incapable of providing a legal framework for peaceful industry.
Different mining companies (all Chinese controlled) fought bloody battles for control of the tin mines. This was clearly bad for business. British business interests wanted to set up a tin smelting company in Singapore which required a steady supply of tin ore which was not possible under the circumstances.
All these commercial interests combined to prod a reluctant London to expand their control into the Malay hinterland.