Friday, August 12, 2005

History

A long long time ago, we studied Sejarah in Malaysia, and this was what they taught us in the textbook:

Dalam Bahasa EnglishInggeris (gosh, my Malay language is so rusty already!), History berasal dari “his story” iaitu “cerita dia”.

Translation: In English, history is coined from the word his story.

And today, after reading a comment in Slashdot, I can’t help but to doubt Malaysia textbook author’s credibility... They didn’t even check the origin of the word before making the claim!! Here are the original comment from Slashdot and another etymology note from Dictionary.com.

Slashdot

Somebody should have told you, plus maybe Michael Jackson, a long time ago that the origin of the English word “history” isn’t “his” + “story”. It’s the ancient Greek word “histor”, which meant “learned man.”

If I see some another Women’s Studies major write something like “herstory” again, I swear I’m going to shoot something.
Dictionary.com/history
[Middle English histoire, from Old French, from Latin historia, from Greek histori, from historein, to inquire, from histr, learned man. See weid- in Indo-European Roots.]

So these are what we are taught in the first chapter in Form 4 1. All the claims in the other chapters, anyone?

17 comments:

day-dreamer said...

huh? if my memory didn't serve me wrongly, i learnt that during Form One!!

not being racist here, but did you notice the panel of authors for the Sejarah text books? All written by Malays! and so, we had to endure five chapters of sejarah Islam in the Form 4 syllabus!

Eric Fu said...

Sukatan pelajaran dan kandungan mata pelajaran Sejarah bagi SPM sememangnya patut dipertikaikan.

Apabila kosa kata "sejatah" ditakrifkan dalam buku teks tingkatan satu, ahli-ahli panel buku teks seharusnya mengambil inisiatif untuk memastikan asal-usul perkataan "sejarah" adalah betul dan tepat sebelum penerbitan dan percetakan buku teks.

Penerapan informasi yang salah mempunyai implikasi negatif yang mana seseorang akan membelajari konsep atau ilmu yang tidak betul. Contohnya, saya akan berpendapat bahawa "history" bermaksud "ceritanya" dalam Bahasa Inggeris, sekiranya saudara Chang Yang tidak mengutarakan asal-usul sebenar bagi "history".

Kemeterian Pelajaran (dahulunya Kementerian Pendidikan) perlu menitikberatkan kejituan isi kandungan sesebuah buku teks. Hal ini demikian kerana perkara sedemikian ("history" berasal daripada "his story") amat memalukan dari segi keilmiahan penduduk Malaysia dan juga imej Malaysia yang sering dicanang-canangkan sebagai Pusat pendidikan Tinggi Asia Tenggara.

Eric Fu said...

Oh my God! I spent so much time to write such a freaking short 3 paragraphs in Malay...

youngyew said...

day-dreamer: Oh really? Thanks for notifiying me, I have corrected it.

eric fu: Tahap Bahasa Malaysia yang amat mengagumkan! Ini, apa nama~~ Puan Siti pastilah amat bangga kerana selepas satu tahun merendamkan diri di kultur Amerika yang amat jahat itu, pelajar Eric Fu masihlah amat fasih dalam Bahasa Kebangsaan meskipun beliau mengambil masa yang panjang untuk menulis komennya. Ini sememangnya menunjukkan betapa Eric berlayakan untuk "menjadikan" orang kerusi Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka. Tahniah tahniah...

day-dreamer said...

Oh Tuhan saya!

I menyokong pendapat youngyew, iaitu ada orang ingin menunjukkan kehebatan serta kefasihan Bahasa Melayunya meskipun sudah meminum air dari luar negara untuk setahun. Tetapi amboi, beraninya seorang "skolar" Jabatan Perkhidmatan Awam (JPA) "mengutuk" sukatan pelajaran Malaysia. Berhati-hati oi! youngyew pun tidak berani banyak berhujah... kekeke!

Shit! Even I'm still a secondary student, my standard of Malay is so low compared to some one who hasn't been using this language for some time. =(

Eric Fu said...

Memandangkan Akta Percetakan dan Penerbitan 1984 tidak merangkumi media Internet, saya berhak menyuarakan pendapat yang kritikal tanpa melanggari undang-undang.

Pada hemat saya, sistem pendidikan di Malaysia perlu melatih para pelajar untuk berfikir secara kritis tanpa menghiraukan percanggahan yang mungkin timbul dengan Barisan Nasional (BN). Komen negatif tidak semestinya "menghasut anak Malaysia untuk menentang kerajaan" sekiranya komen tersebut bersifat membina.

Semangat patriotism yang BN cuba memupuk ialah pengakuran kepada parti itu sendiri. Orang yang menyokong BN adalah patriotik - definisi yang amat salah sekali. Patriotism sedemikian adalah patriotism yang tidak rasional, hal ini demikian kerana BN membuat kesalahan juga. BN harus bersikap terbuka dalam menerima idea yang membina, mahupun idea tersebut mungkin bercanggah dengan pendapat sesetengah orang besar dalam UMNO.

youngyew said...

Encik Fu, komen yang amat konstruktif sekali... Memberi cadangan dan mentafsir sesuatu isu dengan kritis merupakan suatu unsur yang amat penting dalam semangat cintakan negara yakni patriotism.

Walau bagaimanapun, izinkan saya mengingatkan saudara bahawa Akta ISA merangkumi segala-galanya.. :D

Eric Fu said...

Alas, yet another repressive act...

Bagaimanapun, saya masih menyokong perlaksanaan Akta Keselamatan Dalam Negeri (ISA) memandangkan sesetengah idea yang dicurahkan (melainkan pendapat saya) berpotensi untuk memprovokasikan kaum-kaum di Malaysia dan sekaligus meningkatkan kebarangkalian berlakunya rusuhan kaum .

youngyew said...

Maturity in politics should be instilled in both parties - the leaders and the voters. The "fear" effect brought about by ISA isn't democratic inherently, and it is prone to the manipulation by the politicians at helm. If we are indeed heading towards becoming a developed country by 2020 (which is a faraway dream), we can't rely on this act forever. Probably we can still allow the existence of this act considering that both the politicians and the people are still politically immature; however, in the long run, we have to adhere to the true spirit of democracy and the independance of legislation, cabinet and parliament - educate people about politics, and demolish the ISA act.

Unfortunately, people at helm are unlikely to allow the maturity among the voters. Because doing so would means less vote in a dominant party.

Anonymous said...

Perbahasan yang hebat diutarakan! Great! Your teachers must be very proud to have students like you all! Presenting views in B.M. despite saying adieu to this medium of instruction, n engulfed in another culture..... "History" as presented by host blogger has provoked the linguist in his fellow friends. Thumbs up!!!!

StanleyYP said...

TAULIAH

Perlantikan Tun Dr. Eric sebagai Pengerusi Jawatankuasa Kajian Penggunaan Perkataan 'HISTORY' dengan 20 ahli panel...(atau dengan singkatannya 'AP').....

Sekian.

StanleyYP said...

there is no law which is perfect...n any system can b abused...the doctrine of the separation of power is an ideal....but a slight evaluation of the system would reveal the weakness of it.....Back to the issue...some acts were enacted with their own purposed, but unfortunately being abused in other means. The US Congress passed the Patriot Act with good reasons n it has no sign that it has been misused for personal agendas. The act is 'innocent', but it's the spirit of people that matters....n to a certain extent, i hold the same view with eric that the current act holds certain functions n not necessarily useless 50 yrs after it being introduced..n we r quite relieved that it hasnt been abused since 2 yrs ago....

ppl in malaysia arent immature....juz that we dun hv better alternatives, which is well acceptable....malaysians thus hv to choose the best from the worse...

youngyew said...

Some may prefer to liken this to “choosing the less between two evils”, but wouldn’t one consider assisting the less evil to balance the force? Given the oppresion of the press, activity, campaigning and freedom of speech, how would one expect to have a “better choice”?

That’s what I meant by immature–being lured by the “election sweets” again and again, believing in the “less evil” by giving overwhelming dominance (although I can’t deny that the new government is rather promising), and forgetting the past bitterness when sweets come in.

StanleyYP said...

we cant generalise the malaysians as immature...in the capital...those who are doing business would vote for the incumbent candidates who are usually fr BN..they juz want stability, which is the reason y thre r only 2 opposition members left in Singapore parliament.

we hv to admit that the multiracial structure of malaysia is one of the decisive factors y BN has remained in power for 48 yrs. the chinese wouldnt trust opposition becoz of PAS n similarly our malay frens would find tat DAP is evil. i dun wish to comment on these perceptions. However i hv to agree that the image potrayed by the opposition is far fr acceptable by other races....n we can c the apparent change in some opposition parties, to increase the popularity among other races. But for the coming few yrs, we cant expect any major changes, which shd b tackled carefully to avoid disappointing the current supporters.

we cant conclude the so called 'oppresion' as the reason y they won elections. if oppresion can ensure victories, then thre wouldnt b revolutions in the history, with more immature ppl, n autocratic govt.thre might b oppresions...but that doesnt mean tat the ppl arent aware of it....n if they hv willingly 'chosen oppresion',then the opposition shd really review their positions in malaysia's politics...

Malaysians are matured enough to make their own decisions...
the harsh reality is that the strong will b stronger...juz like TESCO n CAREFOUR would continue to expand..as long as the 'regular customers' of grocery shops are separated in 'supporting' their own preferences (for some reasons as in this case), they would never grow strong n would never b able to compete....in other words, unless there is a change in the priorities of malaysians of diff races, the 'monopoly' is goin to continue...for the next 30 yrs. dun blame the govt..... we ask for it....

day-dreamer said...

wow! A great debate indeed. I suppose the three of you were school debators?

by the way, youngyew, it's patriotisme

youngyew said...

Stanley YP: I believe that for every businessman, there is at least ten normal “folks” out there... I do agree that businessman wants nothing but stability, but having two competitive political parties isn’t necessarily equivalent to instability. If the vote can go 49.9% to 50.1% in Taiwan election and 286 to 251 in US election, there’s a weak ground to argue on if you were to say that voting for the oppositions imply political instability. Of course there are evil images being imposed on the oppositions, but this thing happens both way... BN supporters would have prejudice on BA, while BA supporters would dislike BN too.

People are indeed aware of the oppression and sorts, I agree. Unless you live in a rural area and are exposed to nothing in life except farms, paddy fields and orchards; you will certainly know the existence of oppression and political ploys. However, it’s the fear tactic played in the populace that have partially contributed to the votes despite the social injustice and inequalities. However, I should also acknowledge that the oppositin isn’t full-fledged to launch a sizeable challenge to the ruling party.

To sum it up, I wouldn’t frown at people voting for the ruling party, because they are still the less of two evils. However, I would also be glad to see the opposition being given more chances to counterbalance the dominance and play a role as a watchdog in policy setting. Singapore isn’t a good model when it comes to a single-party country, because there are no racial policy and affirmative actions.

day-dreamer: Yee Pin was a debator in Keat Hwa team and also Sunway College team. Eric and I aren’t debators.

day-dreamer said...

I see... no wonder. On the path to the making of a great lawyer in future right? ;-)