Yoursay: An ‘inclusive’ history will be a breath of fresh air


Modified 3 Mar 2019, 11:41 pm

YOURSAY | ‘Our history belongs to all M’sians and should make everyone proud – not sceptical and doubtful.’

Historians to write 'inclusive' history of nation for schools

Fff: I don't know if historian Ranjit Singh Malhi will read this (although I think he's a subscriber here). But I remember inheriting a supplementary history textbook written by him and Universiti Malaya emeritus professor of history Khoo Kay Kim, which was brilliant.

It taught me everything I needed to know about Malaysian history, and provided a very, very solid foundation for acquiring knowledge about world events as well.

Too bad I can't remember what the book was called. A few years ago, I was talking to people my age, and what they remember of the History subject is vastly different from what I remember, and it's all down to Ranjit's work.

Even when I later dabbled in activism, I was a little shocked that so many fellow activists found that our immediate pre-independence history (Malayan Communist Party, Parti Kebangsaan Melayu Malaya, the trade union federations, raising the Sang Saka flag, the People's Constitution), or even our pre-Islamic history (Srivijaya, Langkasuka, Chola domination) was considered 'hidden'.

They seemed natural to me because all these facts were laid out concisely in Ranjit's book.

Ranjit, for what it's worth, thank you for changing my entire worldview. May your current project be met with great success.

And if you're reading this, I would like to advise you to set up a GoFundMe or Patreon page, so that ordinary Malaysians who have been touched by your work can also contribute. I will be the first to do so.

Rajakera: This project is a great breath of fresh air. Ranjit, I greatly admire the steps you are taking.

I proposed this about five to seven years ago in Malaysiakini and am very glad that someone with the requisite skills has started on this project. I and most others just do not have the expertise or skills to do this.

We look forward to speedy progress being made on the project, and once you have set up the funding/donation structure, many of us who want nothing but the true history of Malaysia being put into a history book will happily donate.

Hopefully, the Education Ministry will make it a part of their syllabus, especially if the book contains references to valid sources of the information.

This will train students to think and learn to refer to and check these sources of information to authenticate their validity. The book will also need to include Singapore, Sabah and Sarawak as they were or are part of Malaysia.

Anonymous Malaysia18: We need truthful historians to write accurate history. They must also be brave enough to correct distortions in our history books.

Be right; never mind if you are damned and condemned, for truth does not lie. You will always be remembered as heroes of history. Liars will not be remembered.

Rise up, all ye brave soldiers of history! Tell the whole truth. Leave that legacy of accurate history.

Takung: Perhaps the work in progress can be made online on a wiki. Editing may only be done by approved authors, but readers may provide feedback on accuracy, et cetera. Trolls would be banned from commenting.

Let this be a true piece of academic work that is not influenced by political and religious considerations.

Shovelnose: Indeed, history should be an honest recollection of the past, regardless of whether it paints a good or poor picture of those currently in positions of power or who intend to grab power for selfish gains.

Ace: Yes, a very timely project. Our history belongs to all Malaysians and should make everybody proud – not sceptical and doubtful.

Tell the story as it is with all the warts and moles if necessary. And every group's contribution should be recorded as accurately as possible – the roles of the Malays, Chinese, Indians, British, etc.

And if some groups such as the communists of the MCP have contributed, their contributions must be recorded too, even though we may not agree with their ideology and methods.

Ranjit, good luck to your team.

Anonymous 2450121480909934: This has to be done carefully or this project risks being seen as a non-bumiputera grab for power and legitimacy that may deepen racial prejudice.

There are many recriminations on both sides, and unfortunately our education system has failed both Bumiputera and non-Bumiputera in thinking clearly about the problem.

Cogito Ergo Sum: This is a great project and both personalities are well-known historians and experts in their fields.

There is a serious lack of good and in-depth history books by local authors and I hope the books by Ranjit and Siva will fill the vacuum.

Barbara and Leonard Andaya’s book on Malaysian history seems outdated today, hence the need for a more comprehensive and inclusive book.

Ranjit Singh Malhi: The Inclusive Malaysian History Project Team is humbled by the outpouring of support.

Developing an inclusive history which captures the full spectrum of our nation's diverse past is crucial to ensure our young (and older citizens too) are provided with a comprehensive, unbiased and true account of our nation's history.

We will do our best and draw upon the expertise of leading historians from East Malaysia and those familiar with particular aspects of Malaysian history, including pre-historic Malaysia, Malay civilisation, social and economic history of Malaysia, and the constitutional history of Malaysia.

And to dear @fff, the book you are referring to is most likely ‘Sejarah Kertas 2 STPM’. I wrote it with Khoo as the consulting editor.

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