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Tea And Company: Interactions Between The Arab Elite And The British In Cosmopolitan Singapore

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Chapter Summary

According to British historians Christopher Bayly and Timothy Harper, the new world of Singapore in the 1930s was the first truly global city of the twentieth century, being a hub of communications and infinite ethnic fractions with Arabs, Armenians, Jews, Parsis, White Russians, and Japanese residents. Cosmopolitan Singapore led to the emergence of a world of sociability freely inhabited by the different groups, including the British colonial elite. The interaction between the Arab elite and the British through education, business activities and the informal political discussions managed to allay British fears of anti-colonial Arab movements amongst the Arabs in Singapore. Cosmopolitan Singapore offered a levelling ground for the wealthy elite in Singapore, be it the Chinese, Indians or Arabs, to mingle and socialise with the British and other Europeans seemingly on an equal social footing at social events.

Keywords: anti-colonial Arab movements; Arab elite; British colonial elite.; cosmopolitan Singapore; sociability



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