Saturday, 10 September 2011

Back to the Future

History is littered with those who made great discoveries; performed great deeds or just changed the World, but whose names do not crop up in the ordinary course of education and learning.

Why might this be? Did they break with convention? Did they offend the establishment? Did they not fit the paradigm? Possibly all of those things

The recent controversy over PAS Deputy President Mat Sabu’s statement on the Bukit Kepong incident dominated this year’s Syawal. Regarding Mat Sabu’s comments, it has to be said that historiography aside, it is only just to argue that all those who fought for our Independence should be acknowledged.

Winston Churchill once said that “history is written by the victors”. In the case of Malaysia, it is not just history but also contemporary news that is written and orchestrated by those in power.There was no escape from history and bizarre opinions from people who really should know better.But that should be left to the historians. Politicians should focus on the present and the future. Malaysia is facing enormous challenges in an uncertain time. Surely we ought to be working on how we are to face these challenges than debating historical technicalities?

It is crucial to note that the struggle for independence was not a singular effort by the Alliance. It was a struggle that took place on many different frontiers, spearheaded by many different personalities and through many different means. Surely the sacrifices undertaken by anti-Colonial champions such as Tok Janggut, Abdul Rahman Limbong and others should also be accorded its fair share of space?

Did anybody know that the first policeman kills in action (KIA) in Malaysia happen on 29 April 1915; Sergeant Sulaiman, better known as Sergeant Che Wan, whom try to arrest Tok Janggut for failing to pay the government tax. Tok Janggut agreed but refused to walk in front of them and a fight occurred, in which Tok Janggut manages to stab the sergeant and the rest was history.

“One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter” according to Ronald Reagan

Throughout history, we are often reminded of the people that have done heroic and outstanding deeds.  These people are often not even the ones responsible for the outcome of history, but they have been overlooked by the historians - or even writers who thought they just "didn't belong" in the list of great men and women.

We all know individuals--most of them unsung, unrecognized--who have, often in the most modest ways, spoken out or acted on their beliefs for a more egalitarian, more just, peace-loving society.

To ward off alienation and gloom, it is only necessary to remember the unremembered heroes of the past, and to look around us for the unnoticed heroes of the present.

Mark Twain quote: The very ink with which all history is written is merely fluid prejudice.

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