I don’t know whether I’ll get in trouble over writing this or not, but I thought that those interested, and especially my fellow Malaysians, deserve to know what I deem as my interpretation of the truth. I don’t think anyone will censor me based on what I’m about to write, I mean, which authority will be interested in the musings of a university student?
Anyway, a fair warning before you choose to read this article. This is only Part 1, there will be other parts with stuff which you might disagree, or even get upset about. If you are delicate and can’t handle too much criticism, you are welcomed to stick around for my other positive posts 🙂 If you have other opinions other than mine, please, feel free to share, but in a civilised and calm manner. I don’t want cat fights on my blog, only intellect and civilisation. 🙂
I once had a friend studying in the Science stream who wouldn’t stop yammering about the superiority of Science.
For the story’s sake, let’s name her Fancy.
Every single day, like clockwork, Fancy would constantly post pictures about how superior Science is, her daily workings with the scientific world, or the frog/beetle/whatever poor innocent animal that she’s dissecting in our WhatsApp group with captions like “Cutting this little thing up to understand the inner body parts hehe #scienceisawesome”; “Look at this cell, so fascinating! hehe #sciencerules”; or once, “I got top marks in the quiz! Where are your congratulations? hehe #aimingfordeanslist”
It was okay at first, and the others would constantly shower her with compliments while the rest of us just stay in the background, occasionally popping out an emoji or two. However, it got really annoying after the first few months, so whenever we go out, I refrain from talking to her as much as humanely possible. I do not want to get sucked into another endless cycle of go-on-tell-me-about-your-lives-but-wait-guys-let-me-tell-you-about-my-new-science-experiment-that-will-take-up-most-of-your-time-first! session again.
Albeit the fact that I found her a tad irritating, I continued being lukewarm friends with her because she can still be considered a decent person underneath all that wacky scientific getup.
One day, one of my friends (let’s call her Vera) was telling us about the assignment hardships that she had been facing in WhatsApp, when Fancy came online. Vera was studying for a BA in Chinese Studies, and like me, was also facing wee bit of problems in our linguistics assignments. All of us were comforting her, providing her with suggestions and motivating her with pep talk when I guess Fancy couldn’t take it that our attention wasn’t on her (for the first time), so the next time I checked my phone, this message popped out:
“Your language assignments are hard? Try mine LOL. Science is by far the hardest compared to the Arts. Don’t even know why you learn the Arts when Science is prestigious” (note that grammatical mistakes have been corrected)
These type of conversations which aim at derogating the arts are the norm in Malaysia. I’ve got to hand it to the government, they have succeeded in brainwashing a majority of Malaysians into thinking that Science is the most prestigious and the most superior of all subjects.
They have succeeded in putting Science above a pedestal and raised it miles high from the other subjects.
They have blanketed Science with a soft warm glow emitting from the spotlights above while the rest of the subjects are doused in deep dark shadows.
They have polished Science until it shines as bright as a thousand suns, whereas the rest are left to turn to ashes.
Yes, the Malaysian government has succeeded in transferring most Malaysians’ focus from the Arts to Science. Nowadays, Malaysians speak of the Arts as cotton candy; it does not hold the secret to life like Science does, it’s just a bundle of sweet yet meaningless fluff.
They have started to show the importance of Science in everyone’s lives in textbooks and in classes, whereas the Arts are transferred into heavy textbooks without any notation of its importance. Gradually, bit by bit, Malaysians are starting to perceive the Arts as unimportant. Who could blame them? When our government is the one who has been controlling education; editing textbooks and changing the curriculum to suit their selfish needs. I’m curious, did anyone ever questioned why is it that the Arts are extremely beneath Science?
Well guess what? I had a revelation about the reason behind the issue when I lay in bed last night.
The reason behind the degradation of the Arts lies in the fact that the subjects consisting it are enough to cripple the Malaysian government
For the unveiling of the first subject, out of pure curiosity, and coincidentally related to my topic, did anyone notice that the History that you study in Malaysian governmental schools are actually edited? And that some parts are actually omitted from the content? Did anyone question why Malaysia wants to prevent you from learning the correct History?
Yes, here is the first ugly truth: Malaysia doesn’t want you to learn History in school.
To be honest, I think the Malaysian government is actually AFRAID of History, that’s why they tried their hardest to tear the Arts down; and that’s why they edited the History textbooks.
For those who don’t know, Malaysia is a country with a mixture of distinct cultures, races, and religions with Islam as the dominant religion. So you know what this means = censorship and religious issues delivered piping hot right to your doorstep almost everyday. I mean, I love my country, problems and all, but speaking as someone who enjoys writing and reading writing, censorship is something which to me is an equivalent of an irritating fly which I want to swat but it tauntingly dances away every time I bring my swatter down.
A book written with the purpose to “show that extremists and bigoted thinking on matters pertaining to the practice of Islam in the country should be combated in an intellectual manner” was banned by the Malaysian authorities recently. Obviously the government doesn’t want to let anyone read this book and get any fancy ideas such as overthrowing the government or starting a revolution. They have maintained control over Malaysia since its independence, and from what I can observe, they are not going to give up their reign without a fight, hence explains the ban to eliminate sources useful to Malaysian rebels.
Do you see the link? The same concept goes to History. The Malaysian government ain’t stupid. They know how dangerous History is, and they know that if they teach Malaysians the real version of History, their control over the country won’t last long, because people would have used History as a blueprint to overthrow them. Therefore, they resorted to editing historical facts, and crowning Science, and obviously most Malaysians lapped it up in a sec.
The truth is, History can change a lot of things just like Science can. Don’t scoff, it’s true. Let me give you an example of Malaysia’s censorship. According to a statement made by a friend of mine who studied in a government high school, the History that she learned during her high school days was Islamic history and Malaysian (edited) history. Up to this day, there are no detailed mentions about the French Revolution, the Renaissance, or the Enlightenment. The American Civil War which Abraham Lincoln fought for the rights of the slaves are nowhere to be found; human rights are not taught; Martin Luther’s Protestant Reformation and Martin Luther King’s Civil Rights Movement are not in the curriculum.
And why did this happen, you ask? One of Malaysia’s ongoing issues is the issue of social class. The government has always been the dominant one who exerts control over the people. This condition has some resemblance to the status hierarchy in France before the Revolution, which ended when Bastille was invaded and the French Revolution commenced in 1789. Imagine that the government are the Clergies and the people are the peasants, and that the peasants are reigned with cruelty and brutality by the Clergies. This means that right now Malaysia is a mirror of France before the Revolution, with the social status and all.
Now imagine that every Malaysian, including the minorities, have received education on the French Revolution –> Who made it happened, when it happened, why it happened, and most importantly, how it was carried out; and that they have linked this situation to the conditions in modern Malaysia. Isn’t the probability of a revolution happening in Malaysia higher than before if Malaysians know about the Revolution? Isn’t it possible that they might duplicate the methods which the French used during those days because they saw the resemblance between modern Malaysia’s society and old France’s? France has already went through this method to rid the hierarchy, so why not Malaysia? All it takes is one little flame to ignite a dry bush and consume it within flames. This is an example of the Malaysian government’s worst nightmares –> an equivalent of personally handing a knife to the people and let them slash the government to death. Other than that, have you noticed that human rights were not taught in the government education curriculum? Based on my friend, none of them learned what human rights constitute of. The same concept applies. Do you see the connection?
History has the ability to rouse people. History has the probability to illicit thoughts which are beneficial to the people but not so for the government. My fellow Malaysians, now you know why Malaysia does not want you to learn History. They might be actually be afraid of you if you learn so.