Wednesday, 10 September 2008

History should never be used to hold the future in ransom



It's interesting to see news like the one in the link above. About who sacrificed for the country. The 'oh my people died for the country...  more of my people died for the country etc etc' arguments. 

History is one of my preferred subjects at School. In my view history is always a great guide to us all, on what the past can teach us. The errors and mistakes of our predecessors can be avoided and the accurate decisions of the past can be adhered to, respected or even celebrated.

But in Malaysia, history is part of the gamesmanship between the races. The Malays will say they own this country, cause they were here first (even though it is proven that the Orang Asli were here first), the Chinese will contend that they died for the country too and they have a right to call this place their home etc etc..

In my view, it is not right at all to use history this way. History should never be used to hold the future in ransom, to tie up the future for the deeds of the past. History in fact guides us of what to do in the future. History explains why certain things are done certain ways. History makes us understand the country, the people and the system. 

As you can see below that newslink to the Malaysian Bar above; a lawyer is already trying to hint that a second opinion to be taken on this issue, under 'Comments'. The feeling I get when i read that comment is that the said lawyer who commented below there, is suggesting that the report may not be accurate. 

Does it matter, I ask? It is accurate many people died during the Japanese occupation, whatever race they were. It matters not which race suffered higher casualty. It matters not one race had higher casualty then the other.

What matters from that Japanese Occupation, is that we learn about the unity of the people through the (I think they are called) Malayan People Anti Japanese Army - MPAJA. The imperial attitude of the Japanese, and the British error in warfare tactics (remember the "they will attack us at Singapore" conclusion by the British Army about where the Japanese will attack first?). There are many other things we can learn about that part of history, but I dont think history should be blindly used by any race in Malaysia to show that the many death of people of that race would connote the people of that race has some kind of ownership of this country. 

History is the guidebook of yesterday, for us to decide what to do tomorrow.

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