Raffles Redux: The Singapore Story in the Language of International Law

Raffles Redux: The Singapore Story in the Language of International Law



3 Nov, Sun 10:30 AM - 11:30 AM


The Arts House, Chamber
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This session is in English


Did Singapore's international life begin in 1819? Raffles' decision to make Singapore a free port was pivotal to Singapore's position in global commerce but tends to overshadow critical details about Singapore's relationship with the wider world before and after 1819. This panel features researchers working in the fields of international law and history who share key findings from their work, revealing a more complex, layered story of Singapore's place in the global order, as told through the language of international law.


Cheah Wui Ling is Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Law of the National University of Singapore (NUS). She obtained her academic qualifications from NUS (LL.B), Harvard Law School (LL.M.), and Oxford University (D.Phil). Prior to joining academia, she served as a Legal Officer at INTERPOL’s Office of Legal Affairs (Lyon, France). Wui Ling’s research focuses on accountability for human rights violations and mass atrocities. She is co-founder (with Ms Ng Pei Yi) of the Singapore War Crimes Trials Web Portal

Nurfadzilah Yahaya is a historian at the National University of Singapore. She specializes in legal history, histories of Southeast Asia, Islamic law, mobilities, and the Indian Ocean. Her forthcoming book Fluid Jurisdictions: Arab Diaspora under Colonial Rule in Southeast Asia will be published by Cornell University Press and explores how Muslims navigated colonial legal courts in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries in the Indian Ocean.

Jack Jin Gary Lee


Lee Jack Jin, Gary teaches sociology and legal studies at Kenyon College (Ohio, USA). He is writing a book on the significance of law and race in the making of "direct rule" in the modern British Empire. Focusing on the reconstitution of Jamaica and the Straits Settlements (Singapore, Penang and Malacca) as Crown Colonies in the latter half of the nineteenth century, this book examines the workings and legacies of liberal imperialism in plural societies. In his previous work, Lee wrote about the development of Singapore’s foreign worker policies.