Fostering patriotism through history

1 06 2011

Source  : From  reader’s opinion section of The Star

I READ with joy that the special committee tasked with analysing the History curriculum will have nation-building as its top agenda (The Star, May 4).

There is no priority higher and more deserving than that of nation-building as far as youths are concerned.

The Government is already aware of its importance judging that nation-building forms one of the core modules of the PLKN (National Service Training).

Although this module is inadvertently facing a threat in terms of its dilution with other sub-modules that have begun to make its way into the PLKN programme ‘Return to basic NS objectives’ (The Star, April 14), it is a commendable start and should be supported and nurtured.

Everyone should heave a sigh of relief that the Government is serious in alleviating the problem of disunity and lack of patriotism amongst our youths.

Prof Emeritus Tan Sri Dr Khoo Kay Kim was quoted as saying that “fostering patriotism and unity was achievable through the promotion of History” (The Star, May 4).

With the setting up of the committee headed by Malaysian Historical Society chairman Datuk Omar Hashim, the ball is now in their court, beckoning for direction and concrete measures to ensure that the whole business of this “Histor(y)ic transformation” of our youths does not yet turn into an exercise in futility.

It is of course preposterous to expect results within a short time.

The committee must unequivocally carry out its task without fear or favour, unclouded by religious, racial or provincial sentiments favourable to any group or people.

For instance, the writing and rewriting of history texts must recognise the contributions and sacrifices of every ethnic group, no matter how minute or insignificant, and not just the contributions of a particular ethnic group.

The whole rigmarole of incorporating nation-building into the texts is an arduous task.

Every expertise must be sought and explored, and all loose ends tied and knotted.

No stone should be left unturned and no cutting of corners tolerated.

That accomplished, the issue of competent teachers to carry out the teaching must be addressed.

With the subject made into a must-pass in SPM from 2013, it becomes all the more urgent.

The teaching of History per se, albeit with nation building as its top agenda, does not guarantee a wholesome transformation of our youths into united and patriotic citizens.

Every endeavour must, therefore, be exhausted to ensure that we adults live and act as united and patriotic citizens because nothing is more inspiring and emulative to youths than shining and living models of unity and patriotism exhibited before their very eyes.

Towards this end, the committee needs to look into ways to instill unity and a sense of patriotism amongst those adults lacking in such attributes before they become the bane in achieving our noble intentions for youths.

The journey to achieving such lofty ideals is indeed arduous but with patience and perseverance in carrying out the approaches mentioned, it is not insurmoun- table.

Rome was not built in a day. The USA took more than 200 years to elect and accept a black president.

LIM SENG LEONG,

Penang


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