Sunday, August 26, 2012

Merdeka: Past Anti-Colonial Heroes Forgotten

In secondary school we are used to be taught to know the whose-who of the anti-British colonial heroes who have fought to free their states from colonialism.

Notable figures that we would encounter during our history lessons include:

Tok Janggut.- Datuk Bahaman. - Mat Indera - Datuk Maharajalela - Dol Said - Mat Kilau and you can name a few more if you wish to add to the list.

Every year we celebrate Merdeka on 31 August. But it seems that the amount people showing support towards it seems dwindling year to year. Despite the present government's call of raising flags everywhere, not many people seem to do that.

Everywhere you go and see Merdeka banners and so forth, it often shows the pictures of our Prime Ministers from Tunku up to Najib right now?

What about those people, those who shaped the events that are pre-cursor towards the 1957 independence? 

Those freedom fighters above fought against the English colonial system in Malaya. What motivates them is the sanctity of their race at stake. Another reason is because of the absurd number of taxes that milks them of their hard earned wealth that they made at that time.

That's why people like Tok Janggut or Mat Kilau fought against the English at that time. And we don't even see their faces / caricatures nor their names everywhere right now. Instead we only see faces of Onn Jaafar all the way to Najib Razak and only BN everywhere.

Have seen any of those freedom fighters whenever we set foot into the city at all? None whatsoever.

Some think BN is godsend - handed over by the colonial English to only one party to run the nation forever. That is already breaking the spirit of democracy. Independence in Malaysia contrary to what is claimed was achieved via bloodshed.  There are left-wing organizations that have fought for independence including AMPAJA, PUTERA, API and other organizations. Yet, until today, they were sidelined, not recognized for their contributions towards nation building.

Instead, these organizations were declared illegal by following the aftermath of Malayan Union and banned, with its leaders either fled to Indonesia / Thailand or arrested and jailed. 

The sad thing is that these past people were never recognized nor appreciated. Instead, we were showed to only five figures throughout these many years. 

If including these people into there, at least people will start to know more of those since the 19th century that have fought against the English in Tanah Melayu. I wonder whether should Pakatan takes over the country will they see the neccessity to recognize the unsung heroes or just continue to ignore them at their own peril. 

The other reason not many people are keen to celebrate Merdeka is the excessive amount of propaganda material. These kind of materials have been broadcasted almost three prong via print media, video projection, and television as well. As what I've said just now, it merely drills the point that only one organization - United Malays National Organization is a godsend from the English that everyone must recognize the figures in the organization - not even the anti-colonial heroes.

If these unsung anti-colonial heroes are not recognized via remembering them for independence, then what is the point of having to learn those people in History classes back in school then? Doesn't it make sense right?

Take a look at the American Independence. Every prominent figures, in addition to George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Paul Revere or etc..have played big or small but vital roles in the American Revolution against the English. Even if it's already 236 years since July 4 1776, they are still remembered today. 

It's those that are sidelined that being put into question.

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