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What We Think 1#: A textbook problem of what’s wrong with our education

Imagined Malaysia currently has its own column space on a newly established local news portal. The purpose of this column is to provide a platform to our members and supporters to speak their mind on issues that are pertaining to society, politics and history. We also welcome our patrons to speak their mind through this platform, and spread information on the cause for improving historical education in Malaysia! 

We know all too well the perils of studying – or rather memorising – for Sejarah exam in our secondary school days but that was the case for almost every subject. An instance in my schooling days that struck me most was when a Form 1 student, my history teacher called a predominantly Chinese class ‘pendatang’.

She went into an exposition on how this country did not belong to us and how we should be grateful for being in this country, pointed to the textbook and said “You can read through this, there is no mention of how you contributed to the struggle of the nation.”

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Remembering and reimagining May 13: 50 years later

50 years. That’s how long Dr Lim Teck Ghee has kept his experiences of May 13, 1969 out of the public eye. Though his voice was calm and his words measured, they were underscored by a grave and profound terror that silenced the crowded hall of Gerakbudaya that night. He was one of three panelists at the screening of The Star R.AGE’s documentary May 13: 50 Years Later and discussion hosted by Imagined Malaysia.

“Tonight is the first time that I’m publicly speaking about my memories from that day – from those days of shame and infamy. May 13 not only scarred our national psyche to the core, but it has, for me, recurred frequently in my dreams and my nightmares,” he said.

An acclaimed writer and academician who has worked with the World Bank and United Nations, Lim was working as a graduate student at the National Archives in Petaling Jaya Old Town at the time, staying near Jalan Gasing with his wife. The couple would typically go out for supper together near University Malaya or at Satellite Restaurant.