"51" here refers to the coming 51st Merdeka celebrations. As we all know, Malaya achieved self government in 1957 under the leadership of the
So, what then is the "45"? Actually, 45 is the "correct" number of years that
So for our five million-plus East Malaysian brothers and sisters across the
Similarly, why are we choosing 51 instead of the accurate historical date of 45? Is it because we wanted to look "older" as a nation-state? Does an extra six years of independence make a difference?
Some of you will think, so what? Who cares if it's 45 or 51? We should care because in this country, history is constantly being manipulated to suit political ends. If a sovereign state cannot even use an accurate date for its independence, you really have to wonder what else we can change in our history.
Right now there are disputes over the portrayal of the social and political history of
Others not only re-write, but simply, make up history to justify racism and other discriminatory policies. In most countries, these "historians" would be exposed as fakes but in this country, they are celebrated and some of this revisionist view of history actually makes it to the history textbooks.
Some of these "facts" are then passed on to the younger generation who are then conditioned to think in a certain way. You can't blame them as they were fed with distorted history in the first place.
Truth be told, some of what is written as Malaysian history is, at best, political propaganda.
Right now there is a worldwide movement by some prominent historians to debunk the book "1421", and its latest offering "1434". Many real historians think the arguments presented by Gavin Menzies is pure rubbish. I wish there was a similar site run by real Malaysian historians to debunk some of the historical "facts" about
In sum, all I am saying is: let's keep politics out of history. And make sure the rakyat have access to and be taught a true version of our past. A nation with a fake or distorted history cannot take its place as a great country.James Chin teaches at