Walau pun lidah dia bercabang, biawak tak cakap belit-belit..
Time bercakap kepala biawak ni tak goyang-goyang..
Kaki tangan tak laaa naik sama bercakap..
Kalau bercakap ramai-ramai, biawak ni tak laaa bercakap macam sampai nak karam.....thee he he
History and ethnic sentiments — Chandra Muzaffar http://www.themalaysianinsider.com
November 15, 2010
NOV 15 — It is a pity that the announcement about making history a requirement for obtaining the Sijil Peperiksaan Malaysia (SPM) was made at the general assembly of a political party. Rightly or wrongly, it has given rise to accusations that it is a politically motivated move, or that it serves some hidden ethnic agenda.
Memang byk sejarah..thee he he kalau tak, muruku pun kita tak kenal
Dah berpuluh tahun pun asyik kena auta dgn Samy Vellu.. thee he he tak kisah pun.
Sejarah memang hebat.. 25 tahun la 1Malaya dah kena kapor Madey.. thee he he
1Malaya mana pernah berPMkan Melayu? Cuba belek2 sejarah betol-betol.
Itu la pasal.. kalau jumpa mamat Chandra nama Melayu ni dalam hutan..thee hehe
Balun dia dulu.. dia ni lagi bahaya dari ular.
In fact, the reactions to the announcement reveal how deep ethnic sentiments are in our society today —- so deep that those articulating a certain view are perhaps not even conscious that their position reflects a subtle ethnic bias. The vast majority of non-Malay politicians, media commentators and academics, for instance, have demanded that the history syllabus should incorporate the contributions of all communities to the development of the nation.
In itself, it is a legitimate request but when we examine what they mean by “contributions” it becomes apparent that it does not really include everyone. Invariably, they focus upon those who worked in the tin mines and rubber plantations, and built our roads and railways in the past. They make no mention of those who had tilled the land to plant the rice that fed the population.
It was the sweat of these padi farmers that kept our people alive. Indeed, the British colonial administration made sure through laws such as the Rice Lands Enactment (1917) and the Food Production Enactment (1918) that the farmers planted only rice — and did not grow rubber which was more lucrative and had attracted the attention of a segment of the peasantry — so that the food needs of the growing population would be met.
This blind spot about the contribution of the Malay peasantry is, in a sense, symptomatic of the unwillingness of a portion of the non-Malay community to acknowledge the significance of Malay history in understanding the character of contemporary Malaysia. That Malay political entities, distinguished by the Malay Sultans, the Malay language and Islam, have been fundamental in determining the identity of the nation as we know it today is a simple historical truth which many non-Malays strenuously seek to deny.
Very few of them are aware that the oldest Sultanate in the world is actually in Malaysia. This is the Kedah Sultanate which has had a continuous history since 1136. This non-Malay reluctance to appreciate and to empathise with the Malay past of our nation stems from an illogical and irrational fear that the moment they come to terms with it, they would be confirming their so-called “second-class” status in the country.
Nothing can be further from the truth. A British citizen of Muslim Punjabi descent does not become inferior to his white Christian compatriot because he accepts the official role of the Anglican Church or because he acknowledges the Magna Carta of 1215 as his history.
This does not mean that there are no hurdles in the path of a non-Malay seeking full integration as a Malaysian citizen. But they cannot be overcome through the insane repudiation of the Malay basis of the Malaysian nation.
If some non-Malays lack a proper understanding of a vital aspect of our history, there are also some Malays who espouse a view of history which ignores or downplays the roles of the other communities in shaping our present. In re-affirming Malay indigenousness, for instance, they have accorded scant attention to the indigenous histories of various communities in Sabah and Sarawak or of the Orang Asli of Peninsular Malaysia. It is only right that their histories also be mainstreamed.
Likewise, only a handful of Malay politicians, NGO activists, and intellectuals have shown any appreciation of the economic and social conditions of the Chinese and Indian communities in the Malay peninsula from the 19th century onwards, including the indignities that many of them suffered at the hands of their colonial masters. How Chinese and Indians had become part of the local milieu is a theme that is not emphasised in Malay-centric history texts.
Ethnic biases on all sides, it is obvious, will be the biggest challenge in any reappraisal of Malaysian history. There will be other biases too that one will have to contend with. There are class and ideological biases and personal proclivities that also influence the writing of history. Besides, history, as it is sometimes said, is the story of the victor.
This is why history writing can never really be devoid of bias. What we can do is to reduce the element of subjectivity, and try to be as objective as it is humanly possible. This calls for the establishment of a truly multi-ethnic panel of historians and other academics which would be tasked with conducting a thorough review of the history syllabi, history books, and teaching methodologies employed in our schools. Our local universities and the Malaysian Historical Society should be consulted on the composition of the panel.
While the focus will be Malaysian history since that is our immediate concern, the panel should also emphasise the importance of world history. Our interconnectedness in an increasingly borderless world demands that our young develop a genuinely global perspective. A broad understanding of the history of human civilisation as a whole will also provide Malaysians with deeper insights into their own multi-ethnic society.
Based upon its evaluation of the teaching and learning of history in school, the proposed panel can then recommend whether it is necessary to make a pass in history a requirement for the SPM.
* Dr Chandra Muzaffar is chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Yayasan 1 Malaysia and professor of global studies at Universiti Sains Malaysia.