Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Tyranny Of History

Hantu Laut

George Santayana's "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it" or George Bernard Shaw's "If history repeats itself, and the unexpected always happens, how incapable must Man be of learning from experience".

Henry Ford laments "History is more or less bunk( rubbish)", but I say one must learn from history as not to repeat it.We can collated history but once carved in stone we can't change it.

When I was a young man at lower secondary school we learned world's history, history of the British Empire and local history as well.

In one local history we learned about a man called "Mat Salleh" who was branded a pirate and a rebel by the British.For many years the school children of Sabah had been taught to deplore Mat Salleh as a pirate, a rebel and a troublemaker.Read the story here what caused Mat Salleh to rebel against the British.

Now, Mat Salleh is a patriot, a fighter and a hero fighting against unjust (?) British rule.Young Sabahans that have not read the old history book were asked to revere Mat Salleh as a true freedom fighter and a hero.The government even built a fort in Tambunan in his honour that looked more like a church without the cross.

Tambunan was his last stand before he was killed by the British.There is even a folklore that he may return one day to finish the job.

Sabah used to be owned by Brunei whose Sultan later ceded the territory to the Sultan of Sulu, who later ceded the territory by way of a lease to an Austrian, Baron Von Overbeck, who later sold the lease to Alfred Dent who formed the Chartered Company that ruled Sabah from 1881 until 1946 when it became a British crown colony.

There was no central government and no law and order before the Chartered Compay took charge of the country which they called North Borneo and later known as British North Borneo when it became a British colony after World War II.

We all know 16 Sept 1963, when Sabah, Sarawak,Singapore and Malaya became a new nation called Malaysia.Singapore was kicked out of Malaysia two years later. After that as we all know..... the rest is history.

Depending who wrote the history books, historical events can be adjudged according to the prevailing time or manipulated to suit the capricious and often blinkered mood of the person.

Most, if not all, history books that we read and learned from were written by Western writers. The East do not have the resources and education to write their own history books then.

What is history?

In a nutshell, it is a study of past events, particularly in human affairs.History can be the accretion of facts, half-truths or fictions.Why fight tooth and nail over it. Why don't we just leave the tyranny of history behind us and look forward to the future.

Malaysian politicians surely came off the same mould, both sides are over reacting to such useless piece of history.

Malaya gained independence through peaceful means and the wisdom of people like Onn Jaafar,Tengku Abdul Rahman and the ilk, certainly not those idiots who stormed and killed innocent people at the Kepong Police station.

To sum it all up, Malaya gained independence through the wisdom of UMNO leaders,the Chinese and Indian leaders at that time......and as they say "The rest is history".