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Much ado about the past..

I stood alone at the balcony, overlooking a hill view and a small village in Johor. It was on Christmas eves and everybody was busy with family gathering. This is a good quiet getaway from a hectic schedule, I thought to myself. I visited a few factories in Johor earlier and had retired for the day at the service apartment complimentary from Chong (not the real name). I parked myself comfortably at the balcony with my coffee and cigarette. Although tomorrow is a public holiday, I had to attend a Christmas function, having being invited as the guest of honor. I would usually avoid public gathering that requires me to travel but I made tomorrow an exception to be away from routine schedule in KL.

It has been awhile since I had time to ponder the past. In exactly a week, the year 2008 will be history and is the beginning of a new year 2009 and a new chapter… and of course, we will all be a year older.

The sky was dark and strong wind blew my cigarette ashes away signalling heavy rain is around the corner. I was lost in thought going down memory lane. So hectic was life, I never had the time to ponder my childhood. From birth, I was in 5 different places before teens. I was born in Negeri Sembilan, stopped breast-feeding in Petaling jaya, went to pre-school in Wisconsin, USA, and began primary school in SRK Sultan Ismail 1 primary school, Kota Bharu, Kelantan. I moved to SRK Iskandar 1 primary school in Kedah and SRK kampong Tunku primary school in Selangor, on a 3 year frequency.

Being in 3 different primary schools in 3 different states, I had experienced drastic changed in cultures and environment and had lost many friends when my family moved from one state to the other as well as being separated post-primary. More than 20 years later, I found many of the long lost primary school friends through FACEBOOK!!! Though we have not met in person, but we kept each other updated through the FACEBOOK!!! 20 years seemed like yesterday with memories and moments of the past, flashing right back into current…………………………………………. We immediately felt so close akin of a friendship that was never separated.

I woke up from the past to the loud scream of thunder. I quickly went inside the studio service apartment when the rain became heavier and lay in bed comfortably. It wasn’t long before my thought went back to the childhood memories. i loved the the legendary tale of Hang Tuah, Mahsuri, Tok Janggut as well as Malaysia history during war. I idolised the loyalty Hang Tuah had for the King, his country and the Malay race and how Mahsuri was framed and killed. I felt the strength in Tok Janggut as a warrior. These legends spice-up the learning of history.

Last month, whilst attending a primary school function in Puchong, where I attended as a favour to a friend, the hang Tuah story came about and I was surprised (or sad rather) that none of the present students actually felt the sentiment I had when I first learn of these ‘hero’. Boys had more sentiments in Hollywood cartoon character superheroes rather than our legendary tale. Some of the boys actually asked me, ‘Hang Tuah’.. whats that? Though it may sound funny and we all laughed, but the truth, it is sad that the sentiment is no longer felt. Although the truth of the legend is unknown but we should always be reminded and not forgotten the principle sentiment behind each of the legend.

After the last meet with primary school students, I am confident and assured that the new generation and future generation will learn history ONLY as a subject without any sentiments attached unless, we continue to educate them by commercializing our histories in movies similar to Hollywood documenting their history (and misled many with their untrue heroic story) and gained international recognition.

Our Ministry of Information having the budget, jurisdiction and influence over RTM, other television stations and Malaysia-made movies should extend extra focus in re-living the past and produce a more patriotic films, dramas and series for the benefits of our new and future generation.

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