WE have been a nation for more than 50 years. Yet, we have not agreed on our history. We are like the six blind men and the elephant. Each one sees history narrowly, instead of seeing it as a whole.
To move forward, we need to agree on our history. We need to accept certain fundamentals and understand how we have evolved to be who we are today.
We need to look at history from a broader perspective and use wisdom to accept it. We need to form a history with truth as a guide. To do this, we need to ponder these questions:
WHEN and where does our history start?
WHAT is the importance of the Proto-Malays to our history?
HOW have the early Hindu and Buddhist influences affected our history?
WHAT is the significance of the Old Kedah Sultanate and the evolution of the other Malay sultanates?
WHAT is the role of Islam in shaping the Malay sultanates, culture and traditions?
HOW did the Portuguese, Dutch, British and Japanese colonisation affect us?
WHAT about the history of Sabah and Sarawak? How do they form a part of our history?
WHERE do we place the history of ordinary folk and the various communities?
WHY did 1957 and 1963 happen? How did independence colour our recent history?
WHAT does our Constitution say about our historical framework? How does it capture our history and make it a social contract?
We are who we are today because of our shared history.
To live in peace and progress, we need to agree on a shared history and understand it. Only then we can create a better and united future.
As we reflect on history, we are still creating it. In creating history, we must decide what we want for our children and our children's children. Our decisions today will create our tomorrow. Let us be wise.
Anas Zubedy, Kuala Lumpur New Straits Times Opinion Letters-to-the-editor 05/11/2013