Culture war – it’s open season on historical facts
YOUR SAYS | “Historical denial is the falsification or distortion of historical records.”
COMMENT | Distorting our history is an intellectual crime
MRS: My late friend, the legendary Dr. Shahrom Yub, who until 1991 was Ketua Pengarah Jabatan Muzium Malaysia, periodically complained about the willful and willful distortion of history by politicians posing as academics.
When we started to trace when this “intellectual crime” started being committed without consequences (or corrections), we narrowed it down to the period that saw the rise of a former Prime Minister, Dr Mahathir Mohamad, carried by the corrosive ‘ketuanan’ policy of ‘bangsa’ dan ‘agama’.
It was (and maybe still is) the hunt for historical facts. The distortions and lies noted by independent historian Ranjit Singh Malhi serve to prop up intellectual pygmies much like the platform shoes worn by abnormally short, congenitally rickety people.
But this phenomenon is not unique to Malaysia. As the entry in Google Arts & Culture explains, “Historical denial, also called Holocaust denial, is a falsification or distortion of historical records. It should not be confused with historical revisionism, a broader term that extends to newly proven and reasonably reasoned academic reinterpretations of history.
“In attempting to revise the past, illegitimate historical revisionism may employ techniques impermissible in historical discourse proper, such as presenting falsified documents known to be authentic, inventing ingenious but implausible reasons for distrusting authentic documents, attributing conclusions to books and sources that report the opposite, manipulation of statistical series to support the given point of view and deliberately erroneous translation of texts.
“Some countries, like Germany, have criminalized Holocaust denial review of certain historical events, while others take a more cautious stance for various reasons, such as protecting freedom of expression; others impose Holocaust denial views, such as California and Japan, where school children are explicitly prevented from learning about the California genocide and Japanese war crimes, respectively.
Falcon: I don’t think twisting our history is just a historical crime, it’s historical genocide. Where a community of evil, malevolent and fascist policy makers go out of their way to deny, omit or falsify the contributions of other citizens in a nation’s pre- and post-independence journey.
It created so much polarization in our country and robbed the dignity of those who made Malaysia what it is today.
Prior to the current arrival of foreigners, economic migrants from failed and contested states with their brand of religion destroyed the foundations of what built Malaysia. So much so that an analysis of Malaysian online media commentary columns shows a shocking revelation that “Keluarga Malaysia” is fake. We lost it.
The social and historical re-engineering at all levels of Malaysian society is now complete. May the almighty help our future generations.
Bobby O: Can history be twisted? As long as you have books, manuals, or any written evidence of what happened in the past, written by those writers who existed in their time, history can never be twisted. You can stunt the intellectual minds of future citizens by feeding them a false or distorted story. But the real story can never be twisted.
Today, there is enough written evidence not only scattered in our archives but also in many other countries on the course or history of our own nation. It will be embarrassing to see our students standing in a global forum debating the subject of Malaysian or even Malaysian history.
They would be lost because their minds would have been imbued with a false version of their nation’s history.
Anon25: It is a feeling of inferiority complex and politics that causes people to distort historical facts. Political analyst Khoo Kay Peng has skilfully tried to explain the facts in his writings and speeches. It was always a tough fight.
Trying to tell the truth about the real story of how Malaysia has evolved and changed, about the important contributions of Chinese and Indian immigrants, will be met with opposition from ignorant and poorly educated inflammatory nationalists.
The story must be a story of the truth. And it must be so recorded and told. But in politics and even in religion, the truth has simply become a point of view.
So Ranjit, in order for real history to reach our history books, I think you should ask Unesco to commission a real study of Malay history…for whatever reason. Say the Japanese want it. And the Portuguese (whose descendants still live in Malacca) want it. Get yourself named as the main author of this “commission”. Then I think it will be fine. You will at least be paid for the work.
Apanama is back: Ranjit wrote, “Truth is the soul of history,” because ultimately truth will triumph in any age. This is what we call reality. However, the real root cause that we face in this country is inferiority complex.
This is the real reason why we see acrobatics from time to time in the history of this nation to portray a particular race and religion as superior to others.
When it comes to our nation’s history, the contributions of the Chinese and Indians are relegated to about two or three sentences in our history books. However, these two ethnic groups are among the biggest taxpayers who support teachers and academics who make history aerobatics, publishers of distorted history books, and not to mention, members of the National Council of Teachers.
Ranjit, many thanks for your true story. These are the stories I learned a long time ago when I was in school, and these are the real story as it is and as it is seen.
BrownOtter5875: Ranjit, thank you so much for your sincere efforts to uncover the buried truths of this nation’s history.
All of us, former students of the older generation, are aware of the selective erosion of our ancestors’ contributions to this land. We are not professional historians like you, keeping silent was our only option.
I have with me a 1961 publication of “History of Malaysia (1400-1959)” which I will pass on to future generations. I believe there are no distortions in this book because we used to buy used books for our senior students back then.
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