For example, the following picture was taken at Clark Quay, one of our most popular tourist areas. According to wikipedia:
"José Protacio Rizal Mercado y Alonzo Realonda (June 19, 1861 – December 30, 1896), was a Filipino polymath, patriot and the most prominent advocate for reform in the Philippines during the Spanish colonial era. He is regarded as the foremost Filipino patriot and is listed as one of the national heroes of the Philippines by the National Heroes Committee. His execution day in 1896, now known as Rizal Day, is a national holiday in the Philippines."
The Jose Rizal marker located at Clark Quay had this to say:
"In May 1882, when he was 21-years old, he left for Spain to study medicine. His first stop on his way to Spain was Singapore, which was the first foreign land that he visited.
"Singapore was then a thriving British port-city and he found it buzzing with people and economic activity. He visited numerous churches and temples around today's Bras Basah area and was impressed by the Botanical Gardens as he was also a keen botanist."
Apparently, even in the 1800s, Singapore was already a "thriving British port-city... buzzing with people and economic activity."
So, the question is: was Singapore really just a "mud-flat swamp" or a "fishing village", as some claim, or was Singapore already a centre of economic activities, as Jose Rizal's marker says?
Are we selectively telling our history according to what suits our purpose - that Singapore was a "mud-flat swamp" when politicians want to make themselves look good; and that Singapore was a "thriving.. port-city... buzzing with people and economic activities" when we want to impress the tourists?
Perhaps independent historians could share with Singaporeans their thoughts.