Most Malaysians take too many things for granted – although we tend to protest loud and clear when we feel that our rights are under threat.
In Malaysia, history has long taken a backseat for the fallacious reason that it is not practical and does not contribute to one’s gainful employment. Also, only in recent years are we focusing on culture and heritage. Not only the Y Generation but many older Malaysians are today quite ignorant of our history, culture and heritage. But can we blame them when we seem to enjoy eradicating our precious past and destroying history? When we lose our past, we lose our bearings. We want Malaysians to understand and appreciate our history, culture and heritage but we ourselves have failed to instill in them the culture of why it is important in the first place. We pay scant regard to history, and instead preferred to see history in our mould.
For a long, long time, our history texts have been western-centric. Since the l970s, our historians, academicians, intellectuals and politicians have been calling for our history texts to be re-written. To what extent has this been carried out? It is important for our present and future generations to see and understand the nation’s history through Malaysian eyes. Our historians also need to be intellectually honest, as it has been proven time and again that those who ignore the lessons of history tend to repeat the blunders.
A Shared Destiny takes the reader on a nostalgic ride with stories and pictures that many Malaysians will identify with, and which ‘outsiders’ will find interesting. Among the topics covered are the Japanese Invasion & Occupation, the Emergency, the true story of P Ramlee’s tragic final years, Langkawi in the old days, sunken treasures in the Malacca Straits, illegal settlers in Hulu Kelantan who gambled with their lives, regaining our football glory & traditional woodcarvers in Kelantan & Terengganu. Among the icons included are cartoonist Lat, footballer Abdul Ghani Minhat and Zhang Toi. Their inclusion will, hopefully serve as an inspiration and role model to our younger generation.
About the author: Penang-born A Shukor Rahman spent 35 years as a journalist with The New Straits Times and has worked in Kuala Lumpur, Penang, London, Kota Bharu, and Alor Setar.