These are just plain opinions; they can be rejected, refuted, argued against or accepted. These words are not meant to impose my ideals upon anybody , and they are not going against the law of the diversity of thoughts~~

Friday, 18 November 2011

History, seriously?

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it"
George Santayana

The wise words of George Santayana, well, it is wise. Those who cannot remember the past, will somehow repeat the past. Although it was not defined which 'past' is meant. Is it if, you forget a victory in the past, somehow, someday, you will succeed? Seriously? If it is that way I want to forget every kind of achievements I did, then I'll be the most successful person ever. Mr Santayana probably meant that those who cannot remember their wrongdoings, failure in the past will probably do it again.

In a simpler way, we, the new generation will again sell the country to neo-imperialists if we ever forget the events of The Pangkor Treaty, or the occupation of Penang. No, that's rather hard. A person may fall into a hole on the road again, if he forgets that there is a hole.

But , there is a catch over there, Mr Santayana's words are deeper than that. Remembering the past, seriously , is not enough. You have to 'understand' the past. Remembering , as said by Mr Santayana, really does mean 'to recall and seriously understand'! Take an example, a car dealer and a customer. The car dealer might cheat the customer, by selling the badly shaped car at a high price. The car dealer discloses the real information of the car, while the happy customer buys the car without hesitation. If, that customer is a good man, he'll remember being cheated, he remembers how was he cheated, and he'll probably buy a better car in the future. But, if he is the opposite guy, things are not the same. He remembers losing money, after being cheated by the car dealer, but, if he doesnt know how was he cheated, then does it make a difference? He will be cheated like; forever.

I'm trying to express my anxiety; about our history, history itself, and probably history as a subject in schools.

A question in the recent SPM's History paper was "What is the name of the national anthem?"


Is the thirst for the grade so hardcore, that such question even exists? What do you expect from the students, if that is the question used to evaluate students' knowledge about history? That is not history, unless someone made the national anthem a history.
That is a small issue for almost everyone, and probably good news for the candidates. Bonus marks.

Learning history, like Mr Santayana said, is for not repeating the mistakes we've done, the wrongdoings of the elders. We ought to learn history so we do know , what we shouldn't do when we become leaders in the future. History teaches us that life isn't as bright as we imagined in our teenage years. There are springs, winters and autumns, and there are hurricanes, tornadoes and tsunamis. Unless history is really 'taught' to our students, the past mistakes of our elders; the corruptions, the lies, the stupidity will be repeated all over again.

The question paper is so easy that I don't think revision is necessary. I do know that failure in History means no certificates, but what does the certificates mean , if students fail to understand our history? The test is an evaluation, of their understanding. If it is just for the certificates, the whole period of five years of education is useless. The test should investigate, what do the students think about the history, what are their opinions of the causes of the past events and the consequences, not basic general knowledge!

Malaysians are among the worst readers in the universe. The amount of books read by Malaysians in a year, by average, can be counted by fingers alone. History, is mainly about reading. If the level of difficulty of the test is so low, youngsters will probably read less. What to read? Why read? The test is just for the grades, and it is damned easy.

"Have they not seen how many generations We destroyed before them which We had established upon the earth as We have not established you? And We sent [rain from] the sky upon them in showers and made rivers flow beneath them; then We destroyed them for their sins and brought forth after them a generation of others." ( Al-An'am;6 )

Allah ordered us to look into the past. There are a lot of ayahs reminding us about the past. About the prophets and their people,their deeds and the consequences. These are the basis of the human history, of which all of us should know. People should remember and understand, of the generations in the past. All those homosexuals do not understand history, because all of Prophet Lut's people were demolished out of their wrong orientation. The people of Madyan were destoyed because they cheated in their businesses, they were corrupted and evil.

"And to [the people of] Madyan [We sent] their brother Shu'ayb. He said, 'O my people, worship Allah ; you have no deity other than Him. There has come to you clear evidence from your Lord. So fulfill the measure and weight and do not deprive people of their due and cause not corruption upon the earth after its reformation. That is better for you, if you should be believers.And do not sit on every path, threatening and averting from the way of Allah those who believe in Him, seeking to make it [seem] deviant. And remember when you were few and He increased you. And see how was the end of the corrupters." ( Al-A'raf: 85,86)

Allah taught us about the history of the corrupters, and the punishment for their deeds. Dude, seriously, this is History.

If, history is just another grade on the certificate, for our students, beware and be patient. The future leaders will be most corrupted. Future leaders do know what's the name of the national anthem, of course they do! But they will never know that the mistakes done by the elders, are actually mistakes, and they probably will do it, again.

Deadly pessimistic-peace.

1 comment:

  1. Salam ukhwah.

    well , many people think history is useless. And that explains why it is past. For some other people it is a nightmare from which they're trying to awake.

    Doesn't matter how people define it , I can't agree more with u. Thanks for this piece.