原题 ∶Rewriting History?
作者 ∶莫辛阿都拉（MOHSIN ABDULLAH）
The PM wants history to be taught in our primary schools. Some folks in the education fraternity are saying: let's not rush things. They have their reasons. The PM has his.
But to me the most important question is what we teach our kids. History of our nation of course. But we have heard for so long that our history has been presented according to the British "perspective," simply because many of our history books were written by British historians--the colonial masters. If this is true, are we to use the same books to teach our kids?
When I was in school years ago (and I really mean many years ago), I read history books "proclaiming" CPM leader Chin Peng as a bandit. So too were Rashid Mydin, Abdullah CD, and Shamsiah Fakir. But, there are many who see them as freedom fighters. They were fighting the British for Malayan independence. They are telling their side of their story in books easily available in any bookstore. As the books are not banned by the government, can the content or part of it be "incorporated" into our history textbooks?
And what about the May 13 tragedy? We have read the "official version" of what happened and why. Now we're getting the "unofficial version." Will it make into our history textbooks?
Then there was the big UMNO fight of 1987, of which the aftermath could be "felt" right to this day.
And the present day political landscape can be traced back to the 1998 sacking of Anwar Ibrahim and the reformasi movement.
There are many more of course. Like it or not it's all part of our history. Will it be taught in schools?
In short, will our history books be rewritten? Is there a need to rewrite our history?
But first thing first. For starters, an independent body of historians must be commissioned to verify the truth, the half truth and the non-truth. We must then be brave enough to face the result and reality. We must learn from our history.
Which brings me to a book written by former politician Fan Yew Teng which I bought a long time ago.
The book was entitled The UMNO Drama. In a nutshell, it documented the many power struggles in the party.
I hope Mr. Fan would not mind me reproducing some paragraphs of his book here.
"The serious electoral setback of the Alliance coalition government under the leadership of Tunku Abdul Rahman and the subsequent May 13 riots and paramilitary rule under the so-called National Operations Council left the ruling Alliance in political if not organisational shambles. Deep seated differences in UMNO, dormant under a deceptive Calm, erupted into fierce and open antagonisms. The Alliance had lost its two thirds majority in the Parliament, although it still had a comfortable majority.
"A formidable challenge was mounted against Tunku by a combination of Malay intellectuals, Malay university students and some UMNO personalities including Dr. Mahathir, Musa Hitam, Syed Jaafar Albar.
"On 17 June 1969, Dr. Mahathir wrote a letter to Tunku Abdul Rahman, making scathing attacks on the Prime Minister and UMNO President. Apart from accusing Tunku for being too soft on the Chinese, it also suggested that Tunku should step down as Prime Minister and UMNO President.
"Mahathir also referred to patronage as a significant factor in UMNO's intra-party politics. He accused UMNO leaders of having succumbed to the disease of dispensing patronage and believing that they no longer needed the opinions of their supporters. They disregarded them at every turn.
"He (Mahathir) also claimed that the government was apparently oblivious to what went on around it."
Sound familiar? Save for the main characters, the May 13 tragedy and some other events, the paragraphs above could very well be used to describe the current situation in this beloved country of ours.
There are lessons to be learned today from yesterday for a better tomorrow. After all, history they say, repeats itself. (By MOHSIN ABDULLAH/MySinchew)
(MOHSIN ABDULLAH is the Editor-in-Chief for News and Current Affairs of Ntv7 and 8TV.)