Malaysia: Learn from history instead of denying it

October 11, 2016

Malaysia: Learn from history instead of denying it

by T K Chua

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World renown Penang will become UMNO’s Tanjong and my 200 year old alma mater Penang Free School will be renamed Tanjong Free School–Din Merican

Typical of many Third World nations after they achieve independence, Malaysia made  the deliberate move to get rid of the English language, gradually dismantled the colonial (British) system of government and renamed all places associated with their colonial past.

Image result for Red Shirt Racists

UMNO has done that, too. Hence, Jalan Birch is now Jalan Maharajalela and Jalan Mountbatten is now Jalan Tun Perak as if we did it out of spite or to get even. This morning, I read there are now proposals to change George Town to Tanjong, Butterworth to Bagan and also some of the streets within George Town to names associated with the country’s pre-colonial era.

After more than half a century of independence, I think many are still not free mentally. They are still suffering from either an inferiority complex, defiance, racism, insecurity or parochialism.

From my observation, usually countries that are most vehement in getting rid of any remnants of colonialism are the very ones that have suffered the most in terms of poor governance, bad economic management and lack of sustained and meaningful development.

 When they fail to deliver meaningful progress to the people, all they need is to shout for another round of jingoism.

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The UMNO Melayus with oversized hangups

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Colonialism took hold because we were weak. If we are not careful, a new form of colonialism will take hold again if we remain weak. What weakened us before is not “George Town” or “Butterworth” but our ill-conceived policies and poor governance.

What is the point of going back to our glorious past when that era was defeated by colonialism? The Chinese are the most “middle-kingdom centric” people of the world and yet today, I do not think they would ever want to go back to an Opium War or their hapless imperial past.

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UMNO is Anti-Pendatang

Colonialism, too, is part of Malaysia’s history. There would be no Malaya or Malaysia if the British had not come and colonised this region to begin with. If ever there is anything to learn from colonialism, it would be its positive inputs in education, the administrative system and development. If there are names of places associated with our past, it is because this IS our past. Learn from history, instead of denying its very existence or eliminating it completely. Worse, do not resort to parochialism.

TK Chua is a FMT reader.



14 thoughts on “Malaysia: Learn from history instead of denying it

  1. The problem with some Third World countries is that they were
    actually better off under colonial rule! For example Sierra Leone.
    Isn’t this a shame? Another disgrace is Robert and Grace Mugabe’s Zimbabwe
    where the black majority was once an oppressed group under
    Ian Smith’s white minority rule, but today, they are unemployed,
    malnourished and terrorised by Mugabe and his secret police.

    I read that in desperation to find work, black Zimbabweans are even
    being eaten by lions and crocodiles as they sneak across the
    border (via Kruger National Park) into South Africa
    to find work.

  2. ( ironically ) yet Tun Mahathir’s cronies who are billionaires today mostly are the Chinese, one Indian, & one Melayu Syed Bukhari……

    So Tun Mahathir should just shut his gab…..but IF ‘Tun” Najib wants to carry on the tradition set by Mahathir, he should also shut up, and follow HRH Raja Muda Johor’s strictures ” to do his work (seriously ) , and not simply talk…..”

  3. Frankly UMNO is too deep into denying history and truth, especially through myths they created to turn back. The failure of UMNO in truth is not improving their own political process and ideas, falling on old extremes, the main culprit, Mahathir, now learns is fundamentally wrong and will fail.

    Deny history? How about not deny the present truth that is 1MDB or Hadi’s PAS is blaming others for its own decline?

  4. Well, they can start by re-naming the “New United Malays National Organisation”?

    I also wonder why our PhD deputy prime minister chose to speak in the language of a despised colonial master on the World stage just a couple of weeks ago?

    Could it be the idea that all you need to do to up-lift a race is simply by saying that they are kind of “Ketuanan” and, Walla, you get a “Supreme” race overnight?

    Adolf Hitler tried it, even went a step further and actually tried to breed a Supreme Race but it didn’t work. Perhaps God was not amused.

    The Republic of Singapore retained all the colonial names for roads, bridges and even named one recently, “Albert Winsemius Lane” in Clementi Town, to honor a Dutch economist, Albert Winsemius (1910–1996) the true architect of Singapore’s economic success.

    Respect is always, always earned.

  5. agreed, to learn history not to erase it.

    but then, if they rename it, still in the history will have the records. I guess they need to rewrite the whole thing again.

  6. Far Right Politics, Dr Phua? Is that history?

    How would you describe the plight of the Rohingya or the FUBAR in MENA, NE Nigeria, CAF, Southern Sudan etc.. Look, the world is much more messed up than a coupla of rednecks shouting slogans and demonstrating. The afflicted lose their fundamental right to remain alive..

    Willful ignorance and labeling doesn’t help. Try applying for MSF. Me they don’t want – too decrepit.

  7. Ya, Malaysia: Learn from history instead of denying it!

    Remember that our Malay rulers, Sultan were cheated by the British and became British colony, Chinese fought the Japanese invaders and later the British colonial masters with blood, our Tunku Abdul Rahim had to go to Britain begging for independence!

  8. The much beloved Tok Tam never begged for independence. He led a team including members of the Alliance Party to NEGOTIATE for independence. The team include Tan Sri T H Tan who was the Secretay General of the Alliance Party. Wonder which history book you’ve been reading

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