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Friday, April 29, 2016

Malaysians have lost touch with history, says don


Historian Khoo Kay Kim said Malaysians now do not know the meaning of ‘1Malaysia’, ‘keluhuran perlembagaan’ (supemacy of the constitution) and even tourism slogan ‘Malaysia truly Asia’, because their nation's history is no longer important to them.
The emeritus professor in the history department of Universiti Malaya was speaking at today’s book launch and forum of fellow professor Ahmat Adam’s ‘Antara Sejarah dan Mitos’ (‘Between History and Mythology’).
The event was held in a hall at Universiti Malaya’s Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.
“I used to ask Malaysians why Kuala Lumpur is known by that name. And nobody could answer that. So, what would happen if we meet foreigners?” Khoo asked the audience, which consisted of university students, faculty staff, academicians and journalists.
“I was strolling at a supermarket in Chennai (India) once, and a salesman approached me. He asked: ‘Where are you from, uncle?” I replied: ‘Oh, I’m from Malaysia.’ He instantly shouted: ‘Malaysia truly Asia!’ But when I asked him if he knew the meaning of that phrase, he shook his head.
“Even Malaysians do not know what ‘Malaysia truly Asia’ means… or even ‘1Malaysia’. (We get the same reaction when we ask them about the meaning of ‘keluhuran perlembagaan’. Do we know the definition of ‘perlembagaan’? (Most)Malaysians no longer regard the history of their country as important. What’s important now?” Khoo asked.
Then, Khoo rubbed his fingers together and the hall echoed with the audience’s laughter. According to most dictionaries, rubbing one’s fingers together indicates ‘money’.
“(This issue) is not only happening in Malaysia, the whole world has become like that,” the academician added.
Khoo also mentioned that Malaysians should place more importance on their nation’s history, for it will help them gain a better understanding of Malaysian society. -Mkini

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