Thursday, April 16, 2009

Dr M: Teach history to avoid mistakes

KUALA LUMPUR: Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said young people, especially the "independence generation", should be taught the country's history to ensure they do not repeat past mistakes.

"I'm pleading for the teaching of history," he said, adding that American philosopher George Santayana once said: "Those who forget the lessons of history will be condemned to repeat their mistakes over and over again.""How do we know we are not repeating the mistakes if we do not know of our mistakes in the past?" Dr Mahathir asked. "We need to know. We need to know how we came to be colonised. We need to know how we barely managed to escape from being a communist state."We need to know how our rulers were forced to surrender their states to the British.

"We need to know how the British were forced to rescind the MacMichael treaties," he said in his blog,, on the topic "The generation gap" yesterday. Dr Mahathir said with most of Malaysia's 27-million population being born after 1963, it meant that "they had not known anything but being free, being independent, being ruled by their fellow countrymen".He said he was not trying to say that those who lived under colonial rule were more appreciative of independence."What we should all be concerned with is that we appreciate our independence and our freedom more, whatever may be our political leanings. "But I think we should know where we came from. Otherwise, we would not know which way we should go."We may think we are going forward when in fact we are going backward, back to where we started. We would not be making progress." -- Bernama

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