Tuesday, December 14, 2010

UMNO-nised History

Historical records had been manipulated by many great empires, dynasties and ruling regimes to depict only their greatness, legacy and contributions. History will continue to be manipulated by victors and autocratic governments to glorify their rule, fake their 'achievements' and hide their weaknesses and faults.

In a report front-paged in theSun (picked up by Malaysian Insider), textbook authors Dr Ranjit Singh Malhi and Ng How Kuen alleged that school history textbooks were littered with factual errors and distortions, adding that these failed to give fair recognition to the country’s non-Malay nationalists.

Dr Ranjit, who is currently an advisor to the ministry on history textbooks, also
claimed that secondary school history textbooks have been used to promote
political interests.

He further claimed that when he once pointed out the errors and distortions, a ministry official had labelled him as “anti-national”.

“Secondary school history textbooks have been used to promote political interests. It should be a scholarly pursuit and not politically-motivated.

“Five out of 10 chapters of the Form Four history textbook deal with Islamic history as compared to only one chapter in the earlier textbook. The intention of the earlier syllabus was to expose our students to World History,” he was quoted as saying.

Dr Ranjit added that historical personalities like Yap Ah Loy (third Kapitan Cina of Kuala Lumpur), Gurchan Singh (the “Lion of Malaya”) and Sybil Karthigesu were not given sufficient recognition in the local textbooks.

Ng added that in the stories on the country’s fight for independence, the contributions of the communists had been left out.
This is an old story. Current MCA leadership should be rapped on the knuckles for failing to push for a thorough review of the textbooks when the distortions and ill intention to manipulate history by some overzealous writers were detected during Ong Ka Ting's tenure as president.

I remember that Insap, the MCA think tank, and a few academicians were involved in the initial review. I had an opportunity to look at the F4 and F5 textbooks. To my horror, almost 5 out of 10 chapters of the World History textbooks were dedicated to Islamic history.

A friend of mine who is a partner of an established consulting firm here took a hard decision to send his child overseas after he found out about the history textbooks. His son was only 14 years old. He did not want his son to be part of a corrupted, politicized and distorted local education system.

Alas, MCA and Gerakan leaderships have remained staunch cheerleaders of UMNO. Both parties are still more interested to be part of UMNO's gravy train than doing something real and meaningful to ensure that Malaysia remains a healthy and progressive multiracial nation.

Both parties have recently complained about the big brother-small brother relationship in Barisan Nasional. Nothing much is going to change until both parties stand up and speak out against ongoing tyranny against multiracialism and the true spirit of nation building.

These history textbooks are tools for UMNO to propagate its Malay supremacy agenda which is totally misguided and dangerous.

Malaysia was never created as a Malay hegemony state. Had the past Malay leaders and nationalists wanted Malaysia to become a Malay dominated state and to propagate Malay supremacy, the federal constitution would have been worded very differently. However, thoughts were given to the role of Islam as an official religion and Bahasa Malaysia to play a role as national language because Malay will form a significant majority of the society.

MCA, MIC and Gerakan are becoming irrelevant and would face an imminent 'death' at the next general elections if they did not do anything to shift the balance of power to the centre in Barisan. They should have taken the 2008 GE outcome as an opportunity to push UMNO to abandon race politics and embrace a truly 1Malaysia spirit and create a multiracial single party Barisan Nasional.

It looks like they may have squandered the opportunity to force a permanent change in Malaysian politics and help to put an end to the divisive and problematic race based politics in Malaysia.

Regardless of the rhetoric, race based politics is so outdated and no longer welcomed in today's modern and multicultural society.


VOTER said...

I salute to these two gentlemen for bringing out the issues.
BN rhetorics is saying good things to sooth your ears(like the 1Malaysia slogan) but internally they allow such little napoleons to do thing at their own winds and fancy.You see how these officers labelled others who commented,as anti-national.What is so anti-national when one opposed to the distorted history? We must get rid of these little napoleons by changing the current govt.

Leithaisor said...

It is sad that the school system including its textbooks, have become political and sectarian tools of propaganda.

Be it due to overzealous Little Napoleons or a concerted brainwashjing campaign, it does not serve any good in terms of a united, understanding and progressive Malaysian public.

I can fully understand the feelinms of the chap who decided to send his child overseas rather than have him subjected to corrupted and distorted teaching.

However, I think there is a better strategy to handle the situation.

From young, my own son had been exposed to the various cultures and religions here, he had been into the poor rural areas and eaten the food served there from the road-side warings and floors of village dwellings. He speaks and understands Bahasa Malaysia, and has a number of friends from other races.

In particular, to counter the over-emphasis on Islam and Islamic culture/history currently in secondary textbooks, he has been taught about his own religion. From time to time, we discuss Islamic issuies, and how Islam has been abused as a political tool here.

I have spent a lot of time to open my son's eyes to the corruption and abuses of power prevalent here from the time he was very young, and taught him on how to evaluate information and dis-information.

Hopefully, he will be well-prepared to deal with life as an adult Malaysian in the near future.

Hopefully, he will be HERE and contributing towards stemming the rot.

We can shout and rant about all the wrongdoings going on, but politics is a numbers game. Even if one retains Malaysian citizenship, voting from overseas is not an option generally.

So if the fight against the rot is to succeed, is we are serious about being part of the fight, then we have to be HERE if at all possible.

Those who claim they are so committed in the battle against the rot with one breath, and then with the next loudly proclaiming that they are "voting with their feet" in a show of disgust are traitors and deserters in reality.

In the matter of distorted History textbooks, and the current disgusting Malaysian situation, emmigration is aiding and abetting the foe.

kamaruladli said...

why are you horrified for students to learn Islamic history? thank you.

Khoo Kay Peng said...


Horrified is how you put it. Imbalance is what we meant.

More than 50% of world history on Islam/Islamic Civilisation is way too much. It should be called Islamic History if the govt insists on making students learn the subject and introduce a world history as an option.

I did Islamic History in F6 as a choice. There is another subject for World History. Students have a choice to pick.

najib manaukau said...

This is how Umno want our younger generations to know about Malaysia !
Don't forget we can read materials in other parts of the world to know how Umno has twisted and deviated from the truth.
No matter how they can twist the truth will always remain the truth may be they can try to stop people from reading from libraries in other countries.
It will further proof what this country is all about and all the Umno appointed and funded 'historians' will be Noble laureates in history.

Anonymous said...

i want to learn about history. islamic, buddhism, christian.... why then r u so worked up about learning chrisitian history?


Anonymous said...

Kamarul, i'm not horrified to learn the truth but am horrified when garbage is being fed to young minds. In fact dont you want your children to know the truth or you prefer to have garbage in their head, courtesy of UMNO.

Pauline said...

Agree with Khoo Kay Peng. I remember studying a bit of Islamic history in Form 3. But I also learnt other stuff.

History is not just about Islamic history. There's many other things happening in the world, Kamarul. No problem if all 10 chapters are on Islamic history if the subject is termed Islamic history.

But this subject is supposed to be history in general. So students are supposed to be exposed to history from different era and parts of the world. Don't you want the younger generation to be more knowledgeable?

Imagine young adults knowing only Islamic history and not the contributions of Mandela, Gandhi, Chiang Kai-Shek etc

Anonymous said...

This is one of the ways the ruling Umno abuses its power, which the people reluctantly entrusted them with. Changing the minds of the young people by changing historical facts, is poisoning the future generation with tainted 'truths'.

It is very sad that our school textbooks are now politically poisoned by the ruling regime.

This despicable act must be stopped; hopefully in the coming GE. History lessons should and must reflect the truth of the country. Instead students are confined to many chapters of religious history. This is how the ruling regime misleads, constricts and numbs the young minds with such biased versions of history lessons.

Anonymous said...

Many might not know, but there are pockets of families here who got together to rewrite their own versions of the true Malaysian history as they see it and provide 'side' tuition to their children after school hours to 'undo' the damage done in schools.

However, how prevalent is this is anyone's guess.

Anonymous said...

I am from dubai and I knew people from both malaysia and china. in heart and for unknown reasons the chinese people hate muslims, and the evidence is the 50 milion muslim population in western china doomed to extinction. malaysian are snubs however and I observed their racist agenda (maybe because of their economic prosperity!).

there are many chinese people in dubai even got its own china town and streets of dubai rock with chinese prostitutes and business men, but there are no social link between muslims and chinese, I also witnessed the racist opinion of Chinese people who really look down on Muslims, the rich Chinese specially in European countries will not hide this feeling, the poor chinese who work in dubai or malaysia for example endure his bitter feelings towards the society he or she hate because they need the bread.
you will only be loved when you love others and link yourself to them in a friendly way. or stay and starve in your rural china while the rich Chinese prey on your soul.

The Chinese are to blame. This attitude of refusing to assimilate or to be assimilated is what makes the Chinese racists

Thats why I hate the chinese. It's wierd like, cause i don't hate-hate them but I cannot tolerate them more than any other group of people... I just find them annoying.

Anonymous said...

Its all about perception. In the past the history books were written from the British perspective thus glorifying the colonial heritage. Likewise Israel will dig up the history and myths to justify their right to "palestinian' soil. Or even China for that matter claims all others to be barbarians. With the Muslim majority in the country their outlook of history will be skewed towards Islamic civilisation. I dont see any contradiction in the Malaysian context, but good luck to all the minorities who wants the impose your will to further distort history to your whims and fancy.

John S

Anonymous said...

Mr Khoo,
I think Malaysia should ally with Vietnam and ask for some knowledge transfer "How to deal and fight the Chineses". It like a disease to have to deal with.

Anonymous said...

hi khoo,
Although no special priorities to specific races in S'pore, the government secretly supports the Chinese race. More and more Chinese people are sent from China and many jobs requirement is to speak Chinese. I'm not being racist but this is really true.

Anonymous said...

My Side of History by chin peng

I wished the bastard chin peng will never return to Malaysia forever. I know the DAP is fight for his return.

Anonymous said...

To Anon of Dubai at 7:47 A.M

You said :

"The Chinese are to blame. This attitude of refusing to assimilate or to be assimilated is what makes the Chinese racists."

And you went on to also say
"you will only be loved when you love others and link yourself to them in a friendly way." This is most commendable of you.....but why confine your hatred to only the chinese ?

The muslims form their own ghettos/communities too in Europe and other countries which they emigrate to and unlike the chinese, they are now becoming more and more vociferous in their demands, to the extent of wanting wanting a parallel set of syariah laws in some countries. Germany for example have recently given in to allow honour killings for its muslim community. And of course who haven't heard of the on-going tussle of the muslim communities fighting to keep their women covered up in burqah etc ....

Should not these immigrants 'assimilate' in their host countries too,so that they could be 'loving' and 'link themselves in a friendly way' and not earn for themselves the humiliation of being looked-down upon by others?

Why single out only the chinese for your condemnation? What about the hardline Indians who burn down mosques in Indian and there's a recent case of a christian father and his young son in India being set on fire and burned alive to death by these people ? Where is the love that you have spoken about so eloquently?

Perhaps you should heed the saying 'there's none so blind who would not see' ? Well, to each his own then..... haha

Anonymous said...

The real philosophy behind Malaysian constitutions IS TO PROTECT BUMIPUTRAS PRIVILEGES and RIGHTS. They need to protect themselves from the well-known CHINESE and INDIAN RACISMS! These two species are well-known racists throughout their entire history!

Tell me genius, do you think Chinese and Indians would NATURALLY and AUTOMATICALLY stop their very own racism once bumiputras gave up all their privileges?

Anonymous said...

If anyone had read the textbooks, then you'd see how clearly it has been used to seek to influence the minds of the young by repeatedly exhorting them to emulate the Muslim prophet and as well as to condition minds with statements on the suitability of Syariah law in a multi racial country lie ours.

Thks Kay Peng for writing to create awareness on the issue. I'd like to email you the review that I made so you could share it with as many others. Can I have your email add?

Anonymous said...

"The British adopted an open door policy on immigration, so that large numbers of immigrant labour poured in, initially into the Straits Settlements, and later into the tin mines and rubber estates of the peninsular Malay states"...((British played favourites with the various races. History, Written by Cheah Boon Kheng

Is it so difficult for the Chinese to understand that they're migrants and that they live in Malay country and as a guest they have to accept the rules of the host (if they don't want to assimilate)? Also, I wonder why the Chinese aren't leaving Malaysia if it is so bad for them there as they always say. After all - they still have their mother country: China, and can freely move there back. Can someone please answer this question for me.