Thursday, September 8, 2011

How the hell did you get here? - Prof Khoo Kay Kim on Malaysian History

The level of dumbing down of Malaysia's education system is beginning to take its toll. Ignorance and indolence are now worn as badges of honour. 

So-called political leaders are confidently screaming out statements that are completely wrong when set against historical records.

In the wee hours that I am writing this blog entry I am unable to wax lyrical nor am I able or inclined to show indignance. 

I prefer to lead you to the video below where there the venerable Malaysian historian, Emeritus Professor Tan Sri Dato' Khoo Kay Kim, continues his noble quest to remind Malaysians about the wealth of our heritage, the meaning of our polyglot society, the danger of ignorance, the despair of indolent minds, the frustration of having lazy historians, and the list goes on...

I have had the immense pleasure in having met Prof Khoo some time ago. And, every time I have the opportunity to read his writings or listen to his lectures, I am reminded of how utterly ignorant I still am about so many aspects of Malaysia's history.

In a sense, this realisation gives me great motivation to dig a little deeper.

But, being an armchair history buff makes me reliant on the efforts of historians. And, if, like me, you browse the bookstores around Malaysia, you will find so few works on Malaysian history that provide any real depth of research or analysis. The sad truth is that there are more republished materials and works on Malaysian history done aeons ago by British scholars and historians than there are recent works that are of any significance or objectivity or depth.

I hope this situation will change. Otherwise, we will still have to depend on British scholars (or, *shock* *horror* *shudder* Singaporean scholars) to conduct research and write about us and how we are suffering from collective societal amnesia and how mockingly amusing it is for non-Malaysians to observe how we Malaysians look at each other and wonder how the hell the other guy got here... because whatever our level of amnesia, we are unanimous on the fact that it is the Orang Asli in Peninsular Malaysia and the numerous suku kaum in Sabah and Sarawak that were here before the rest of us.

So, unless we're happy to call ourselves bastards, we should pause before calling others that and, more importantly, start reading REAL works on Malaysian history.


hishamh said...

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." George Santayana

Raison D'etre said...

(or, *shock* *horror* *shudder* Singaporean scholars)

Nicely put. Don't have to look further than the NUS South East Asian Studies Department with its wealth of literature.

Or maybe ours (usual suspect, UM...) is not so well publicised?